domingo, febrero 16, 2014

Beautiful Morelia

And finally, I'm back. I enjoyed six wonderful days full of sun, miles and miles away from my home, my job, and the cold weather in my city. The plane landed in Monterrey late last Wednesday, and though I went back to work the very next day, all these days I've been feeling like I'm still on vacation, reluctant to do any work. But I'm back.
On our way down to the beach, Rodolfo and I stayed for but a few hours in the beautiful colonial city of Morelia, where we were welcomed by his brother, Macario, whom he hadn't seen for the last ten years. I smiled at seeing them a little awkward, not knowing what to say or what to ask after so many years.
And while they were starting to catch up, I led the way and walked towards the majestic Cathedral, an impressive baroque building in pink stone built from 1660 to 1744. Inside, smelling the soothing aroma of incense in the air, we admired the imposing organ, the magnificent pulpit, the wooden benches, the wonderful paintings and the sun rays coming through the stained glass windows.
Outside, Macario showed us the scripture on a paving stone that commemorates the grenade attacks that took place the night of September 15, 2008. On occasion of the anniversary of the Mexican Independence, hundreds of people had gathered at the Plaza Melchor Ocampo. A few minutes after the "Grito", two grenades were thrown into the multitude and killed at least 8 people and injured about 100.
Macario told us that he was late for the "Grito" ceremony that night, and was just approaching the Plaza when he had to run back, in the confusion of hurt, horrified people running away from the blasts.
Fortunately, on the day of our visit everything was calm. We walked the streets admiring the many ancient, dignified cantera (pink stone) buildings. We had some enchiladas, tamales, and pozole at a popular open-air restaurant under the archs of San Agustin plaza, and then we visited the Mercado de Artesanías (craftmanship market), where you can find many beautiful things: copper plates from Santa Clara del Cobre, delicious sweets, colorful shawls, leather jackets, the traditional liquor made of distilled molasses called charanda. I bought a pair of nice leather belts and a little bottle of charanda.
My second visit to Morelia was even shorter than the first. I wanted to stay one night and wander around, but Rodolfo was anxious to go to the beach since he only had two days off from his job. Very reluctantly, I said good-bye to Morelia (formerly Valladolid) and we headed to the Central de Autobuses to take a bus to Zihuatanejo.
Having read about the incidents caused by the war of cartels in that area of Michoacan, I was a little nervous, but the 5-hour ride was very, very peaceful and we enjoyed the sight of charming pueblitos by the road, the Cuitzeo lake, the Infiernillo dam and crops to both sides of the highway, some low and some high in the mountains, an explosion of green. There are so many things to see that reading a book or falling asleep is almost a sacrilege. Michoacan is such a beautiful state, and I hope to visit again. Peace be with Mexico.

8 comentarios:

  1. Michoacán... Morelia, Patzcuaro, etc, one part of Mexico that I have not visited but really want to see. Unfortunately, my friend Alejandro, has been discouraging me from going there because of the ungoing problems with the cartels.
    I look forward to hearing about your time in Zihuantenehjo. I was there many years ago.

    1. Hi, Bill, I totally agree with you: there are so many things that I would like to see in this beautiful state of Michoacan -- the Patzcuaro lake, Zamora, Uruapan, Paracuaro the birthplace of famous Mexican singer Juan Gabriel, Paracho where the best guitars are manufactured, the cathedral in Apatzingan. Unfortunately Alejandro is right, this is not the best time to visit and we'll have to wait for more peaceful years.

  2. What an interesting sculpture behind you in the first picture! Do you have a photo of the entire thing?

    I always learn from your posts, thank you!


    1. Hello, Barbara, nice hearing from you again. You can see more pictures here:

  3. Hay Tino que envidia tu nivel de inglés aunque debo decir que te entiendo casi todo, aún que mi hablar sea tan básico nene.

  4. Gracias Álvaro amigo, pues ahora sí que esta facilidad se la heredé a la Malintzin... jajajaja, no, ya en serio, es el talento que a mí me dio el buen Dios. Ahora que estoy publicando más posts en inglés han llegado más lectores, pero de todas maneras seguiré publicando en español, hay cosas de las que es más fácil hablar en nuestra lengua. Abrazos.

  5. F and I visited Morelia (and Pátzcuaro) in January 2007, and I fell in love with the city. It's beautiful, clean, and has lovely plazas and streets. I'd love to go back some day.

    There's a debate going on in the Gringo expat community about how dangerous Michoacán is. Most who live in Morelia and Pátzcuaro feel completely safe, though they do generally agree that it would be unwise to go to Apatzingán. I've certainly wondered about driving around the state myself.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where it might be worth the danger just to escape the snow.

  6. We all agree on the Apatzingan issue. It seems to be the hottest spot right now, but I'm pretty sure that things are slowly getting better now -- federal Government is paying more attention and one of the various measures (some desperate) is going to hit.


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