Thursday, December 31, 2009

Morelia

Monday, Lizz left to fly back home. Jena and Hugo were going to Morelia (and then on to Mexico City for New Year’s Eve) – so Hugo’s mother invited us to join them in Morelia. We gladly accepted. So the remaining 10 of us made the 4 hour drive inland to Morelia in 2 cars.

Morelia is in a valley at 6400’ elevation. So we went from Ixtapa (highs ca. 88, lows ca. 72) to Morelia (highs ca. 72, lows ca. 45) – fortunately they had warned us to bring a sweater. Morelia is a colonial city, founded in 1541 as Valladolid. In 1581 (?) it was made the capital of the state of Michoacan (which in those days encompassed more than just today’s state of Michoacan). In 1828 the name was changed to Morelia in honor of its native son, Jose Maria Morelos, who rose from the his low birth status to become the architect and hero of the Mexican War of Independence. The historic center of the city was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991.

We had a lovely 3-night / 2-day visit in Morelia. Magda (Hugo’s mother) was a gracious host. We stayed (along with Jena and Hugo) in her lovely house – 3 bedrooms plus an extra bedroom/bath that she had added in the back. She made us fresh-squeezed juice, fresh fruit, and bread / pastries every morning for breakfast. We had three lovely dinners – first at a local buffet restaurant, second at J.Campos – a local place with great tacos al pastor (see picture to right), and then at Las Trojes - a traditional Mexican restaurant (named after the traditional housing of the indigenous people of Morelia).

Hugo and Magda showed us around some of Morelia’s downtown spots – including the University which was the hot-bed of revolutionary thinking leading up to Mexico’s war for independence, the Palacio Clavijero (former Jesuit college) with its museum including a special exhibit on the archeology and hieroglyphs of the Mayans, the downtown Mercado along one side of the Palacio, and a House of Crafts in an old church cloister. The latter was a combination museum and workshop with copper items, pottery, ceramics, woodcarvings, lacquerware, and other crafts from the local region. In the evening they drove us up into the hills for a beautiful view looking down on the lights of Morelia.



On Wednesday morning we (with Jena, Hugo, and Magda) took a 4-hour private tour with Miguel (whose English was great) in his air-conditioned van (though we did get out and walk much of the time – particularly around the downtown sites). We went to the main cathedral downtown, Templo de las Rosas (a Dominican convent and home of the oldest school for liturgical music in the Western Hemisphere) and adjoining Jardin de las Rosas, the birthplace (and museum) of Morelos (who was a half Indian/half black whose mother had walked into town to market and gave birth to him essentially in the stable area of one of the large downtown homes), along the arches of an aqueduct (from late 1700’s was primary means of bringing water to the city that was built in a high part of the valley), the fountain of three women, along Calzada Fray Antonio de San Miguel (a tree-shaded pedestrian street with the summer homes of the more aristocratic families of early Morelia), to the Santuario of Guadalupe (lavish baroque church with highly ornate handmade painted ceramics adorning the walls).





That afternoon Cathy went to a place (that Jena, Hugo and Magda had already “tested”) for a haircut – hers was about $7.50 – more expensive than Doug’s, but hers included a shampoo.

Thursday morning, we took a bus non-stop from Morelia to Ixtapa. More comfortable than a plane! Air-conditioned, with thick curtains that closed well, full-length leg/foot rests, chairs that reclined almost to a bed, and 2 movies (one was even in English with Spanish subtitles).

What a great trip!

1 comment:

field said...

Hi - I'm sooo happy for you - it appears you are having a fabulous time!!! Carol Keiper - BYC