Although our plans were originally to visit Oaxaca for Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos observance, political unrest there (and a State Department warning) made us change our destination at the last minute. The change was more than fortunate. We enjoyed the week-long celebration in Morelia and Patzcuaro Michoacan with a second week bussing to Cuernavaca and Taxco in the states of Morelos and Guerrera, respectively.
We fell in love with Michoacan (the Patzcuaro region in particular) and I highly recommend travel to historic, central Mexico to anyone wanting to broaden their knowledge of the country beyond Tijuana and the border cities.
Morelia: Captial City of Michoacan
Morelia, Mexico (Michoacan state capital, population 600,000) was founded in 1541 as Valladolid. The city’s name was changed in 1828 in recognition of it’s son Jose Maria Morelos, a revolutionary hero who fought against the Spanish in 1811. Morelia’s beautiful Spanish Colonial historic center has been granted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, Morelia’s twin-towered cathedral is famous as one of the tallest in Mexico.
We enjoyed 4 days and nights in Morelia enjoying the city’s great restaurants, hospitality, artisan centers, street markets and shoe stores…of which Morelia seems to have hundreds (that’s what I get for traveling with three American females!). While in Morelia, we stayed at the Casa de la Loma, a sprawling, lushly gardened, mult-terraced mansion that had been converted into a stylish (yet affordable) bed and breakfast. The hotel is built on a hill on the outskirts of the city, and you can take in panoramic views of the city as far as the Centro from it’s many balconies and hidden gardens.
A highlight of out time in Morelia was a day spent driving to a Banelario (hot springs) in the mountains with our taxi driver and new amigo Alberto (the brother of one of the management staff at Casa de la Loma). Alberto apologized for not having a radio and we spent the two hours up and back singing a litany of Beatles, classic rock, easy listening and funk hits. Alberto had just lost his wife a month previously, so we think the day bolstered his spirits a bit as well.
I’ll leave you with a quick video I put together of our photos in Morelia. Why Toto’s “Africa” for a video in Mexico, you may ask? We heard the song no less than 6 times in a week on busses, in restaurants, in bars…everywhere. We figured it must be Morelia’s city anthem.
Your Gringo in Mexico,
Interested in visiting Morelia? Check out our Travel Resources page for hotels, restaurants, attractions and activities.