Friday, February 09, 2007

Morelia, Michoacan

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.


  1. They will always tell you that chicken busses are dangerous, and they are fine! I have never ever felt threatened on one and they make life so much interesting with the vendors that will sell you homemade arroz con pollo at your seat or different homemade dulces. So, I say go for the chicken bus unless you are planning on needing sleep time or are really in a time crunch. You have an amazing life there in Mexico, and I'm super convinced now that I need to visit you. Its a given. I miss you and love you dearly.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The pictures are amazing! I am so glad you were patient enought to post them ;) I want to know more about this contemporary art museum. How close is Morelia to you? Maybe I could work there until you are done teaching :) Love you and would love to talk to you sometime today or this week. Boo on the time differences.

    p.s. I noticed that it says I removed a comment. It was this comment, but I saw too many errors. So I deleted it, corrected it and then reposted :) cheers!

  4. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Gil said:
    It is a beautiful place and the butterflies how beautiful. It sounds like arroz con pollo could be persausive. After why to you think they call it the chicken bus. Glad you are able to do some exporing. My father was born in that state. Enjoy your time there.

  5. Hector Tapia Perez12:25 AM

    Hi Tara,
    I loved the photos of Morelia. My father just flew there from Detroit for the Tapia family reunion. The last reunion is where he learned that his uncle, Alfredo Zalce, had passed in 2003 at 95. My grandmother was Catalina Perez Zalce, Alfredo's first cousin.
    He painted the murals in the governor's palace in Morelia. The museum of contemporary art that Rachel mentioned was named after him.
    I couldn't afford to go since my wife and three of my five children moved to Kauai. It looks like a pristine Michoacan here. Some anthropologists believe that there was a connection between the Kauaians and the Purepecha of Michoacan because of the heiaus here. I am always taken for Hawaiian here. They look like the Purepecha around the Patzcuaro region.
    I invite you to view my website and blog at I had a dream career in Detroit. It was rough in the inner city, but the students made it worth it for 21 years.
    I wish you and your blog visitor educators and artists the very best. You young ones give us old dogs plenty of hope for our nation's future.
    Blessings for your third grade students and your masters.
    Come to Kauai to feel what the Hawaiians call mana. It is the spirit of the land that blesses you. It is quite real and powerful. Any hard working teacher deserves to experience Kauai. I can't give you merit pay, but I can offer you a humble room in case you haven't been to Kauai. Google earth Lawai, HI. We are the house across from the Buddhist cemetery.
    My wife teaches kindergarten after teaching at Detroit Southwestern High. All the children call her auntie here. They call me uncle. We love how children still respect the elders here. Too bad Hawaii doesn't pay well. It is difficult to hire and retain good teachers. I teach part time in Kapa'a on the east side.
    I hope you and your readers a wonderful career. If you ever get a chance to visit, I will introduce you to some of the Hawaiian artists and teachers. Aloha, Hector Tapia Perez