Thursday, July 13, 2006

Patzcuaro, not Chacala

Two different shots of the Basilica de al Salud, in Patzcuaro
(Lower photo courtesy of DD)

My favorite parts of Patzcuaro are the squares and churches, especially the Bascilica de la Salud. I spend quite a bit of time, morning and evening, enjoying being inside this building.
I was drawn here repeatedly during my short stay in the Posada across the street.

But the wonderful street markets that start right at the edge of the smaller plaza and run all over town, are just amazing. Beautiful fruits and vegetables and just about everything you could imagine needing or wanting. Well, not everything, but lots of things. They are also vendors under the portales around the plazas. The covered wide walkways that allow you walk out of the sun or the rain, depending on what's happening.

We took an evening walk heading away from the Plazas, and into a quiet neighborhood. Our goal was a small church, which was lovely from the outside. I could easily imagine myself living in own of these neighborhoods. On the walk I finally noticed that all the building in the main area of town where painted deep red on the bottom, and white from about waist-high up. I asked my local friend about it, and he said the red was iron-oxide, and that it's a tradition in much of Michoacan to paint buildings this way. He also pointed out that all the building signs were written in the same script, and in black. Except for the first letter, which is always written in deep red.

It's a little deary for my taste, but it does make for a nice appearance. Especially when you are sitting in one of the plazas. Everything looks sort of calm and orderly. In some areas of the smaller towns we visited the color schemems were what I think of as "normal". Colorful paint jobs on every building. At least two colors usually. Red tile roofs are the standard here. They really look nice when you are looking down on the town from the various viewpoints.

I love all the colors in the crafts in Mexico. At least in Michoacan. The pinatas, and smaller art pieces, and even the table clothes, and especially the oilcloths, and the pottery.

When we drove over to the Lago de Patzcuaro, we drove by towns specializing in specific crafts. There were examples of stone and wood carvings lining the highway near the towns where those crafts have been made traditionally. Other towns have mask, and copper items, and I don't know what else. Very interesting. I was able to resist the stone and wood carvings because I didn't think I could get them on the bus. And didn't think the drivers would like me tie them on the roof. Although, you never know.

We walked around the town of Quiroga, and had lunch in the plaza, sitting on one of the shady benches. My friend had a sandwich of pulled-pork (park hacked off a big clump of roasted pork meat). It looked delicious and the taste of the pork was perfect. I tried an ice-cream cone later, but it turned out to be the kind of ice-cream that stays solid with being kept at cold temparatures. Some kind of gelatin is added, I think, and it tastes really strange. There is a good ice cream place with "real" ice cream right betweeen the two plazas in Patzcuaro.

The lovely church in Quiroga, near Lago de Patzcuaro
(photos thanks to DD)
We spent time at this lovely small Cathedral (or church maybe), right in the middle of town, but surround by trees and a park area and a big street market.

The Lake as four or five islands. The islands I saw each had a steep hill in the middle, with the houses built right up the hillside. Reminded me of pictures of islands in Sicily and Greece. One of these islands is famous all over Mexico for it's celebration of the Day of the Dead, the last day of October. Thousand upon thousands of people come from all over Mexico for the festivities.

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