To day we woke-up early, once up, you could tell by the sky it was going to be a great weather day. We enjoyed our last breakfast overlooking the scenic pond and all of the trees. We packed everything up. Off we drove to town, something we rarely did in Patzcuaro. We still had to walk several blocks as parking in Centro Historica would be impossible.
Ken went for coffee at El Patio, I went shopping at Eleven Patios, a collective of artist's, mostly fibre.
I wanted to find napkins, etc. One shop had an owner who spoke a little English and was very helpful. After I made my purchase se crossed herself, kissed the money and put in away. Ken and I think she was in tune with the suspicion that the if the first customer of the week buys it says something for how sales will be the rest of the week. Hope she has great sales this week. Ken went to a shop that sells coconut fibre - flower pots, etc. He was getting information for Michael.
We went and paid for our camping wee, walked by the pond once more and struck off for Morelia. The libre road was exceptional. Rich farmland with rolling hills was our scenery. It was under an hours drive to Morelia.
We looked at a few hotels right in the centro historica of Morelia. We drove away from centro a few blocks and Ken stopped said,'Do you want to try that hotel"? When I got out I realized it was the art gallery hotel I wanted to go to. I had seen brochures at Villa Patzcuaro. Each room is fashioned after a different artist. I had thought it would be very expensive but we received a weekly rate.
Sunday August 1
We got up early today to drive around the lake and especially go to the market in the city of Quiroga. It was a nice change to have a driving day instead of a total walking day, well nice for me anyway. Maybe not for Ken the chaffeur. We drove north towards Tzintzuntzan seeing the ancient ruins only from the road. At about the same time as we spied the ruins stone carvings came into view, an unfathomable amount of stone statues. Just beyond the statues more artisans at a roadside market. Straw, wood, clay, embroidery art dominated the market.
When marketing got overwhelming we stepped into the nearby church yard - peacefulness again. We found a very old church yard , monastery of San Francisco and the weirdest and biggest old tree trunks they are of olive trees planted over five hundred years ago.
|Monastery of San Francisco|
Arriving in Quiroga we ate in a restaurant that had Michoacan dancers. Little boys dress up as old men and dance like them.
Quiroga market was not what we expected from reading travel guides. It appeared to be a big, noisy, dirty city.
The rest of the road around the lake was peppered with traditional villages with a central church yard and adobe homes. The road ways were rough, not Pepe's style.
I have a particular affinity to burros, I do not know why. this was donkey trail heaven - from fuzzy babies to herds of the beasts. We saw many, I feel another donkey quilt coming on.
One kind burro even demonstrated how to do the gator for us.
This guy, hangin round the highway, is why we don't speed in Mexico.
Saturday July 31
Today we wanted to expand our horizons and drive to a few other places in the Patzcuaro area. Our first stop was Santa Clara de Cobra. It was a scenic drive out of Patzcuaro through a curvy, tree lined road.
Once we arrived in Santa Clara we saw workshops overflowing with copper. Into the town proper there were narrow, windy streets with copper artists. In the centro were copper artists. We wondered through so many "copper" stores selling copper sinks, bathtubs, lamps, earrings...the big vases and sinks ere m personal favourites. One workshop had the artist at work hammering a big pieces of heated metal. Each man taking a turn at hitting the piece in a rhythmic fashion
It was hard for me to want to eat in a town were half a skinned cow was hanging from the side of a truck. We did find a little family run business with excellent food and a "wanting to please" attitude.
We met a couple, at the restaurant, originally from Northern California who were in town to buy a copper sink. They then had to drive the five hours back home to the coast just to have come to Santa Clara. They blew out the water pump in their truck here as well. Buy the way, I had to buy some copper items, too.
We drove down about two thousand feet to the city of Uruapan. Caught up with a few burros on the way.
Then the drive to Zirhuen Lake was over 26 kilometers of road Ken describes as "picturesque".
Frommer's guide had such good things to say about it - tropical vegetation, avocado plantations, etc.
It was a big, stinky city.
|At our parking spot in the City of Uruapan|
Best thing - near were we parked was a very old, historic hospital turned museum, art gallery (in the centro). A university student saw us milling about debating whether or not to come in. He walked up to us and asked us to come into the art opening and drink some wine. A classmate asked us to have some snacks. Nice of them to do so!
Friday July 30
We actually woke up early , 7:00 am and got going into Patzcuaro by 9:30, good for us. We found a back way into the centro on a more residential street.
We saw bulls in a field grazing and goad herder with his herd including a very young baby goat.
We found the library with the big mural in it. I knew about the library and the mural, in fact about Patzcuaro, from a book I had read by Tony Cohen - On Mexico Time. We found a few artisans markets, quickly becoming overwhelmed. This is when we decided that coffee and tea were in order. We sat outside of the restaurant. Many people came up to us to try and sell their wares or beg for money. It kind of ruined the outdoor experience not to mention the cute dog that latched on to us.
We continued looking at artisans work. We found one market right by the Basilica which was having an opening of top notch art. We were allowed to enter early. Outside were more artisans. We went and took pictures of an even older looking church.
Then we needed to eat lunch but got side tracked by more art.
We talked to an American gallery owner who said art sales were down by 80% this year. He also has a gallery in San Miguel de Allende.
We found yet another art market by another church - we went inside the church. It had gold columns, statues in glass cases and an alter up to the ceiling - wow!
Ken liked the upstairs.
On our walk home we came across ten regular looking men playing horns, violins, and guitars. Some were singing, too. Great music! They gave us coffee. We really had no idea if they were celebrating or it was a funeral. One thing we did notice is that no one clapped when the musicians finished a song.
Ken recorded a bit of the music.
Thursday July 29
Totally don't remember what we did. Wondering around aimless in town is likely.
Wednesday July 28
We were pretty exhausted and knew we had better not do too much today. Ken took the laundry across the street to be washed, dried and folded, by 6:00 p.m. the same day.
I worked on my painting of Hector. It was a challenge to decide on different hair colour and texture from the painting of my own hair. Ken worked on getting this blog posted - sorting through pictures, refreshing himself on how to post, etc.
At supper time we walked into the little area down by the lake.
It had a street lined with wood carvers - from tiny crosses to huge pieces for a church. We did not find a suitable open restaurant. By this time it was staring to get dark, with loose dogs, etc.etc.. it was not a welcoming area. We hurried back to our campsite.
Ken built a wonderful campfire which mesmerized us while we watched the flames.
We had a light supper and were off to bed.
Tuesday July 27
We woke up excited to explore another new town in Mexico.
It had been a very quiet place the night before. This morning we walked in the centre or middle road, a more residential area. We entered the downtown at the small square (chico) and in one corner is the Mercado (market). Many food vendors, some with food or fruit I had never seen or eaten before. Speaking of unsual food we ate breakfast at a very exclusive restaurant that comes highly recommended in the Frommer's Guide called Don Vascos. It was a design your our omelette kind of buffet. I had the cook put some black stuff that I thought was mushrooms into my omelette. It was very delicious but not anything I'd eaten before. I asked the waiter and he said it was some kind of fungus that grows on corn. - huitlacoche (sp). We also got to go on the second floor of the restaurant to look at the island of Janitzio in Lake Patzcuaro.
The Hotel had a few odd antiques, Donna not included.
We walked into town checking out restaurants.
Now back to where we were back at the mercado, from the night before, which was relatively clean, very packed with goods and people and noisy.
It was overwhelming with the amount of people and "stuff".
I had to take some breaks to be able to continue. Both of us were feeling the effects of high altitude (7,021 feet) but yet we chose to continue walking.
Our supper was great - authentic and well prepared with a waiter who had great English. We now call the restaurant Martin's Place.
Between the two of us we had nopal cactus soup and gorditas.
We walked back through the market.
On our way home we found an English speaking woman dyeing wool for rugs and sweaters. She managed a cottage industry business where artists make the rugs in their home. To me the rugs look like the Oaxaca rugs sometimes sold by street vendors.
|Hand dyed wool|
Monday July 26
We got ready to pack up and it started pouring (10:30 am until 11:00). That was sort of a weird or unusual time of day for it to be raining. We put our pillows in a big plastic bag then Ken shuttled everything out to Pepe in the garage. We saw turtles out playing and walking in the puddles and rain.
They are a wild type of turtle that just lives in the garden. In the winter they disappear and hibernate under the mud. I took more pictures of the room, especially of interest is the woven, basket type material on the high ceiling...more pictures of Ozzie, too.
We went to Ajijic for lunch and to a thrift store. Mexico does not have thrift stores that I have seen. This is a Gringolandia addition.
Once we left Ajijic we took the road to Morelia on both free and toll roads.
|From Patzcuaro and area|
The countryside was lush and green. Corn and cattle were in many fields. It was a mountain our region, too. Morelia was huge but Ken managed to stay on the ringroad and exit on the highway to Patzacuaro.
We found a wonderful campsite easily flollowing the directions from the Church's "Mexican Camping". It was early enough to walk into the city (more about it tomorrow).
|Adobe yoga studio|
When we returned to our campsite we had a bit of exitment waiting for us. The gates were locked shut and short of climbing over there was no way into Pepe and our bed. The manager had gone to bed. We thought of several elaborate schemes to get in but could not manage to actually bring any of them to fruition. Then upon closer inspection we discovered the gate was dummy locked. Well, guess who felt like a couple of dummys?