My time spent exploring the city of Morelia last weekend felt somewhat like a European vacation. It is now on my list of favorite places (although this is an admittedly short list, considering I haven't had a great deal of travel opportunities). Let me start at the beginning.. and try to be brief.
We had a three day weekend (Haleluiah!) and had all heard about this must-see place in Michoacan (a neighboring state) where the monarch butterflies migrate. February was supposed to be a good time to see them, so we jumped at our opportunity. Leaving Friday after school, we taxied to the bus station and boarded our 3 1/2 hour luxury bus to Morelia. The bus tickets were way more expensive than we anticipated, but they were all the lady at the travel place by our house would sell us, because she claimed the "chicken busses" were very dangerous. We could have paid about $6 less and taken a similar bus that would have taken 5+ hours.. but 6 of us decided to splurge on luxury. We watched movies on the way there! NOT something I would have expected to do in Mexico.
We stayed in the non-hostel rooms in the Hostel Allende, a very cute, well-staffed hostel. Friday night we explored the gorgeous downtown with a cathedral and bustling outdoor cafes. It felt very similar to our first night in Rome last summer.
Saturday we took a guided tour to the mountain with the butterflies. Our group of 13 girls split into two groups that never quite reunited until we got back to Morelia. Our driver was nice...albeit a little reckeless...and he kept crossing himself as he sped up on downhill curves with memorial crosses nestled among the guardrailless shoulders. He was also fold of passing on curves and hills.
Well, anyway, we made it and hiked up about a mile and a half to the butterflies habitat. Unfortunately that day was cloudy and chilly, so the butterflies were relatively inactive. But there were still SO many! It was really a pretty spectacular thing to be around so many butterflies.
Can you see the butteflies in the grass and on the trees?
On the way back down we stopped at one of the many makeshift food stands to eat the traditional blue-corn tortillas from the area. They were quite delicious. I also bought a handmade basket made of pine-needles, I think.
Sunday was spent exploring the city. Morelia is so beautiful! I know they say that Guadalajara is the most Mexican city in all of Mexico... very traditional...etc etc. But I have to say that I rated Morelia about 100 times higher than GDL. There were beautiful old buildings, murals, and beautiful old aqueducts spanning part of the city. It was very very clean (we saw street sweepers working around 10:00 p.m.). I really enjoyed it. I visited a contemporary art museum (yay!), a natural history museum, a cathedral, a candy museum, the governor's palace, which had great murals depicting important Mexican history, which I unfortunately did not understand, and of course we sampled foods of all kinds.
Strolling along the aqueducts...
The murals in the Governor's Palace.
Jacque and I outside of the art museum.
We returned Sunday night and had our delighful Monday off to rest and get work done before the week ahead of us. In conclusion: Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. Two thumbs up by Tara Peterson :)
p.s. You better appreciate these pictures because my moody internet connection made it very difficult to post them.