Thursday, February 5, 2009

Patzcuaro Mexico Finally

So a bus from Barra De Navidad to Manzanillo (about an hour and $52 pesos), then an 8 hour wait until the bus to Morilia that left Manzanillo at 10pm ($480 pesos) arrived in Morelia a 6am, bus to Patzcuaro ($32 pesos) left at 7:30 and arrived in Patzcuaro at 9ish. I did take the opportunity to explore Manzanillo while I was killing time, it seems like a nice place and the food stand a short walk from the station was great and cheap, I got a beer and beef tortillas with beans for $42 pesos and it was way more than I could eat. I have to say those ENT buses are great! I slept all the way to Morelia, the seats go all the way back so you are almost lying flat, there is a really nice foot rest and tons of leg room, they also run movies all the way (in Spanish) I kept the head phones on all night in the hopes that I could learn via osmosis. Don't think it worked but it was a nice try.

Some info on bus Stations
Manzanillo - No Internet - No lockers but you can leave your stuff with the bus company you are will be taking.
Morelia - Internet Cafe - Don't Know about lockers didn't look

While I am in Patzcuaro I am staying with some friends from Vancouver who moved here 2 1/2 years ago. They are the best tour guides ever, in the 2 days I have been here they have taken me all over the place showing me the sites. I have seen things there is no way I would ever see on my own. I have also learned about driving in Mexico, the shoulder of the road is for driving on and the safest place to be to avoid oncoming drivers who are passing. Passing at any point is acceptable at some points one 1 lane roads there will be 4 cars across, 2 oncoming and 2 on your side. I can now id no tell hotels, they are the ones with very little parking and big garage doors so you can drive in and hide your car LOL I'm sure that info will come in handy one day.

I got in to Patzcuaro at 9am and by 11 we were out seeing sites.

First stop was the shops in Centro, this is an artisan town and almost everything is hand made. There are some amazing craftsman here, the work is incredible and you can watch while they are doing it. Patzcuara is very well know for thier day of the dead ceremonies, 1 of the largest in Mexico. They have dolls called Catrina's that are skeletons dressed in elaborate outfits and demon art. We also went through the market, tons of people at some points you couldn't get through the crowds, mostly food stuff and lots of cheaper arts and crafts.

Next off to the ruins, Tzintzutzuntzan. These are incredible and they are still rebuilding much of it. When we went there were only a few other people around and none in the same area so it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We then headed to the village and checked out the market and the Tempo. Most of the locals dress the same way their ancestors did, the modern world of jeans and T shirts seems to have passed these folks by. The entire region is very conservative you don't see anyone in shorts or skimpy shirts so the 2 conservative shirts I have are getting a lot of wear. Then it was off to Tupataro to check out a very funky church. Funny old wood building but a fantastic mural on the ceiling and an incredible amount of gold on the alter. Kind of a strange mix. Todd has a blog he writes about his experience on being a Canadian in Mexico and he is an incredible photographer, the pictures on his blog are way better than the ones I took so click here Tupataro Church for pic's (3rd post down). If you are thinking of visiting this area he has some great posts with a ton of info.

Day 2 was a 2 hour journey to the Paricutin volcano. We went to see the church that the volcano demolished, both Todd and Shannon had been here before so they knew all of the history. It actually took out the entire town over the span of a few years and all that is left is a few pieces of the church. The trip to it involved an hour long horseback ride as it is situated in the middle of the forest. A very strange and magical place, the lava didn't take out the altar, it goes right up to it and stops. As a result the locals think it is a sign from god and make pilgrimages to it and leave gifts on the altar, I'm not sure how they reach it, one of life's little mysteries. After the horseback ride you have to climb mountains of lava rock to get to the church, as I am not the most coordinated individual I'm kind of surprised I made it in and out in one piece. My friend Shannon was not so lucky, she took a little tumble down a hill of rock and gouged her arm up a bit.. Not too bad, a flesh wound but it was scary, some of those drop offs will kill you.

After that we headed back to the homestead with a stop in a small town called Paracho that specializes in making guitars. It is a famous town where may musicians from all over the world come to have a guitar custom made. The day ended with Shannon mading an excellent meal and feeding me cosmos. I haven't broken it to them yet but I may just move in. The house guest from hell LOL

1 comment:

Trekker Shar said...

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