Having given ourselves only an afternoon and a morning in the Michuocan capital of Morelia, we felt that every minute should be utilised…
Despite being treated to some lovely scenery, especially some beautiful mountain lakes, the bus taking an hour and a half longer to reach the city than scheduled, was not the ideal start!
Still, now that we were here, it was time to sink our teeth into the reputedly stunning historical centre.
So we went to hail a local bus.
Referring to our trusty guide book, it described in detail that we’d need to catch a red ‘Ruta 1’ van into town.
Shortly, a small local bus matching said description appeared, we boarded, payed and (eventually) got ourselves a seat.
And our bus drove on… and on… passing many signs for the ‘Centro Historico’, but turning at none of them.
Half an hour became a whole hour, which then became an hour and a half, at which time, a little annoyed and rather ravenous, we left the bus, right back at the bus terminal we’d started at!
This made the decision to simply grab a taxi much easier, and it wasn’t long (about an 8th of the time of our bus journey) before we found ourselves at the gorgeous Only Backpackers in Morelia.
Whilst it could have also applied to us (we were, upon check-in the only guests in the hostel), it was in fact the name of this lovely old building, that wouldn’t have looked out of place in north Africa!
You may have already guessed what followed.
With such lengthy delays in us getting into town, we were now incredibly hungry, but thankfully Sarah had spied a small taco shop to which we promptly headed.
A short wait later, and we were stuffing our faces with some of the best tacos of the trip (no, it wasn’t simply because we were hungry enough to eat anything)!
These delicious pockets of flavour, were made even more special by the addition of something we’d not yet had in Mexico (at least, not in tacos), pineapple!
With appetites sated (we ordered seconds each), we began to stroll this colonial city.
Our attitudes at the time didn’t reflect, or possibly appreciate it as much as we should have, but this city truly is a colonial gem… possibly the best in Mexico thus far!
We took in many churches and a few government buildings, the most discernible difference between this and others (colonial cities) being the much wider streets and boulevards.
It was a beautiful city, and in truth, actually exceeded expections.
Chilling back at our hostel (we’d craved a cup of tea rather than a beer, so had bought some milk), we discovered that we were no longer the only guests, as a 62 year old South African man had also checked in.
He was pretty inspirational (we think his name was Joseph), as he was travelling the world on only one leg and no feet! About 12 months ago, an adder had struck him near the Namibian border, so despite needing to have 1 whole leg amputated, and the foot removed from the other, he is fortunate to even be alive.
Despite not being yet used to his prosthetic limbs, he still decided to challenge himself and continue to travel the world (as an interesting test to see if he could handle being still for so long, he’d actually sat through the film, The Great Gatsby for four consecutive sittings!).
Time got away from us as we chatted to this fascinating (although at times a little long winded) man, and before we knew it the skies were dark and it was well past the time we’d planned to dine that evening.
The night sky would however provide us with perfect conditions to check out Morelia’s several kilometre long Aqueduct which supposedly looked spectacular at night when all lit up.
Minutes into our walk (we had a destination in mind, a church that serves meals where all the proceeds go to charity) it started to drizzle, and in our haste to get some food, we’d forgotten to grab our spray jackets!
Fortunately for us, it didn’t get too heavy, at least whilst we were out in the open, and before long we spied the side entrance that would take us beneath for a church experience of a different kind.
They serve up all kinds of local foods, that you can purchase with tokens paid for at a booth near the main entrance (any unused tokens are redeemable for their face value as well)
We settled on a bowl of red Pozoles to share, as it both looked good and was also something we’d not yet experienced.
Adding a liberal sprinkle of dried oregano and some radish slivers could only be a good thing… and it turns out they were pretty much the only good thing, at least in this version of the dish.
It was just ridiculously bland, the occasional piece of meat found improving it slightly, but otherwise, this was a non event!
At least the meal served to allow the rains to pass, so we decided to call it a night after making the extra effort to wander back in to town and see the cathedral and centro historico all illuminated at night.
We’d expected to be done early enough the following day to be ready to grab a bus on into the city (Mexico City), so after a pretty delicious breakfast courtesy of the hostel (fresh fruit, granola and yoghurt) we were off seeking more sweet things at the Mercado Dulce.
As the name suggests, we were off to a sweets market, hopeful of sampling some local fare, but mindful not to get too much, as lets be honest, whatever we bought, was only likely to be heading into our own stomachs!
Truthfully, the Mercado didn’t appear wholly devoted to sweets, however we did manage to grab ourselves a small bag full from a couple of vendors (sharing our pesos around the Mexican economy).
Hardly worth guessing what flavours we like…
From there, we were headed behind the main cathedral to see the Museo Casa Natal de Morelos, the birthplace of Jose Morelos (who lends his very name to this city and also the state of Morelos), one of Mexico’s famous heroes in their struggle for independence.
I say headed, for en-route we encountered a point where all of a sudden security where shutting the doors to the Palacio Gobierno as the surrounding street began to fill with a crowd.
It was nothing violent, in fact quite the opposite.
Walking by was a peaceful march, protesting the genocide in Palestine since the 1920’s.
I was even fortunate enough to receive the gift of a rose from a lovely mime!
For the record, the Morelos house was also worth the visit!
Our last destination before our ever shrinking departure window, was one that had Sarah excited.
Well, despite it just being another church, this one was described as being ‘not unlike a Hindu temple’ in its interior decoration, and as such (given her love of India), this caused more than a little excitement…
The church itself, the Santuario de Guadalupe wasn’t quite Hindu, but certainly was colourful as the guidebook had claimed!
There were also some cleverly done artworks, portraying the arrival of missionaries and their conversion of the natives.
I’m not calling the practice clever, however within one of the artworks, several faces had been cunningly included into the painted mountainside.
After the torrid affair that was our arrival, on departing Morelia, we this time opted for a taxi to the bus station…
* If attempting to get a colectivo from the bus station to the centro historico, in Morelia, only the smaller mini-van sized buses are allowed to enter the main area (we were advised of this later). If you board a larger sized bus, you will find yourself so near, yet so far…