Saturday, 28 February 2015

Rainy Mexico

Before leaving Uruapan we visited the Eduardo Ruiz National park which was just a 10min walk from the hotel but it seemed a world away. We were there soon after it opened so it was very quiet apart from the birdsong and sounds of rushing water.

A river runs through the park creating lots of waterfalls and cascading water.

Breakfast was the most delicious mango I've ever tasted.

Returning to the hotel along the still silent streets.
Walked past this mural advertising the music club next door.
Collected our luggage and caught a bus to Patzcuaro which took a couple of hours. The weather is still cold and damp and so after dropping our luggage off at the hotel we all piled into a local cafe that Andrea our guide liked. The food was warm and filling and incredibly cheap. £2 for a 3 course meal of soup, fish, veg and rice and lemon pie! Then we all split up to explore the town. It has two plazas, one large and one small but considering it was a Sunday they were very busy. The market was in full swing.
After wandering around the Square we explored the side streets and found a chocolate shop.

The chocolates were delicious and my biggest regret was not buying a lot more of them.  

Many of the buildings in the town were built in the late 16th cent during the colonial times when they were designed to look like Spanish towns with their palaces, churches and convents.

A typical building built around an open courtyard.

The rain started to fall heavily so we made our way back to the Hotel Posada Yolihuani
The hotel was beautiful with large rooms. However the temperature had really dropped and we were so cold and wet we all needed gas heaters in the room which soon warmed up  the room.

In the evening we all gathered together and went for a pizza. I know what you are thinking but I think we all fancied a change from Mexican food.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Mexico day 1 - Uruapan

It was a 12 hr flight  to Mexico City where I met up with my friend Marilyn from Canada. Every couple of years we meet up around the globe and do a G Adventures tour together.  This year we opted for Mexico to follow the Monarch Butterfly Trail. Other than the mountain areas where we would see the butterflies we would also see other towns and places of historic interest.

We left Mexico City for our first stop in Uruapan. We were a group of 9 (3 from Canada, 3 from Florida, 2 from the UK and one from Australia ) plus our Mexican guide. It was a standard tour which meant we would be mainly travelling by public transport. However I was very surprised by the standard of the first bus which had individual TV screens and reclining seats with lots of leg room. It took a long time to get away from the traffic in Mexico City and to drive the 410 km to Uruapan. It was a very dull day and with the bus logo painted across the window there was no chance of enjoying the scenery!
We finally arrived at the hotel late afternoon. The rooms were all situated around a covered courtyard. They were dark but spacious. Before darkness descended we went to have a look around the square which was opposite the hotel. As you would imagine there was lots of activity.

These five young girls were put through their paces marching around the square. Not sure if they were practising for a forthcoming event or just physical exercise. But whatever it was, they were very determined to do it correctly.

There were numerous balloon sellers in and around the Square, with their heart shaped balloons, trying to make a killing for Valentine's Day, the following day.
Topiary was big in Mexico.

As night fell we enjoyed a hot chocolate in the Square watching the water fountains creating reflections.

The next morning we caught a local bus to Angahuan where we were matched up with a horse. This is the first time I have ever been on a horse and it all felt a little uncomfortable and strange. Marilyn, on the other hand, was very much at home in the saddle.

Luckily for me the owner led him so I only had to worry about staying on him. Every so often the horse would start trotting which was painful for my knees as I had no idea what to do.

One of  the youngest volcanoes in the world, Paricutin, erupted in 1943 and activity lasted until 1952, leaving whole villages buried. Miraculously there were no fatalities.

 There is a 10 sq mile lava field surrounding the volcano. The only building that remains is the church tower from the buried village of San Juan Parangaricutiro. By the time we got to the site of the buried village, my legs, knees and bottom had had enough. I was glad to get off and walk even if it was over the treacherous lava rocks.

You can see the church tower standing aloft from miles around but once up close you see how the rest of the church was covered in lava.

The altar remains intact and appears to be a place of pilgrimage looking at the number of offerings that had been left.

The land is beginning to spring back to life with the regrowth of vegetation.

A few stalls were open near the site where we could get something to eat, The quesadillas made from black cornflour were very cheap and tasty. Different fillings were available and I chose mushroom, green pepper and cheese, which tasted delicious.

 Then it was time to get back on the horse and return to Angahuan to get a bus back to Urapan.

Once back at the hotel we decided to go in search of a hot drink as the weather was so wet and cold (Am I really in Mexico?). Behind the main square there was another smaller square where a dancing competition was taking place.

After our evening meal we returned to the main square where there was a live group playing English songs from the 60s - mainly The Beatles. Myself and Frances (from Florida)  knew all the words so we had a great time singing and dancing and stayed until the end of the concert whilst the rest of our group dwindled away one by one.

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