Album 10- Drive from the Michoacán Coast up to the Mountain Town of Pátzcuaro

January 6-7, 2006  -  Leaving the beach town of Playa Azul, we drive north-northeast up the toll road in to the mountains of Michoacán.  We will spend the next several days in the beautiful town of Pátzcuaro with an elevation of just over 7,000 feet (2175m).  Some guide books describe this colonial town as the "crown jewel of highland Michoacán" with its center "filled with serene plazas, impressive churches, pretty cobbled streets and tiled adobe buildings painted white and reddish-brown."  We all rate this charming area very high as a "must see" part of Mexico.


This is an excellent (but not cheap) new highway with modern bridges of an interesting geometric designs.

We enjoy the drive and the change of scenery from coastal to high desert with attractive cacti. 

This road, which reportedly is a great improvement over the old slow "free" road, skirts the northern edges of the large Infiernillo reservoir. 

Dramatic higher mountains can be seen in the distance as Jack expertly drives us away from the coastal lowlands. 

We arrive at Pátzcuaro & check in to Hotel Los Escudos on the west edge of the main town plaza.

We get charming upstairs rooms in the quiet south section of the hotel - complete with functional (& appreciated) corner fireplaces!

And just outside the entrance is Lillian's coffee shop - where we enjoy a warming morning drink.

The view from our hotel entrance can be seen beyond Peg - the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga or Plaza Grande.

The popular local historical figure, Vasco de Quiroga, is memorialized by this statue & fountain in the center of the plaza

Two blocks to the north is the Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra honoring the beloved local heroin who was shot by a firing squad in 1818.

At the northwest corner of this secondary plaza (also called Plaza Chica) we discover our favorite breakfast stand of steaming hot tamales. 

The second most important part of the breakfast is purchased here, big fat wheels of fresh pineapple.

Jack buys his contribution to breakfast, fresh squeezed juice.  Both mandarin and orange were delicious.

Our kingdom for a kitchen and a steamer!! These beautiful vegetables made our collective mouths water.

These huge heads of  cauliflower also caught our imagination for the same reason.

The endless variety of colors are pleasant to gaze upon.  Note Jack's bag of pan (bread) from the local bakery which completed the breakfast walk. 

Peg and Keith at the "Casa de Los Once Patios" built as a Dominican convent in the 1740's, now housing a series of artisan shops.

Also in the House of 11 Courtyards, is this arrangement of tall poinsettias and alcatrazes.

This is a typical street scene along the plaza.  Some of the shops are quite deep.

Firewood is still delivered by burro on a regular basis.  Pátzcuaro is rather cool in the evenings.

The Basilicia de Nuestra Señora de la Salud was built  atop a pre-Hispanic ceremonial site by Vasco de Quiroga.

Inside the Basilica, pilgrims make their way on knees to pray for miracles of healing.

Susan (on her pilgrimage) stands beside a calaca (skeleton) which are popular cultural figures in Mexico.

We take a general 45 minute tour of the city on this charming trolley called "El Pequeño Tranvia."

The well-spoken Spanish speaking tour guide describes this part of the town near the lake which we had not yet seen.

Near the main plaza, our guide points out this prominent building on the north side dating from the 17th century.

One of the last views on the tour is looking down one of the quaint streets toward Lake Pátzcuaro. We highly recommend this orientation tour.

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