29 January 2010 Waking this morning at 48 degrees was somewhat a little shock, as for the last 2 ½ months it’s been no less than 68 degrees. The next shock came to us as we walked into Patzcuaro. As I mentioned in yesterdays entry, we’re now camping at 7200 feet above sea-level and walking into the city showed just what that altitude can do to you if you’re not used to it. Louise and I have walked and hiked quite a bit but when you move up from sea-level and the next day you’re walking up hill at this altitude you feel it. As we walked into Patzcuaro we knew that this stay was going to be wonderful.
So much of the city is either uphill or down so you really don’t get much rest unless you find a great place to have a cappuccino. 2 cappuccinos and a plate of cookies at a neat little sidewalk location cost us $60 pesos or about $4.50 US.
Sitting across the street of “Plaza Grande” offered us a great place to people watch and enjoy the architecture of this beautiful Colonial City. It also made us perfect targets for vendors…this merchant was selling fans…
We arrived in town about 10am and by the time we had walked and hiked a lot of the cobblestone streets of the city
we found ourselves finally resting with a glass of wine in the coach at 5:30. For a city of more than 40,000, we found a Basilica
and more than 5 additional churches with incredible historical and architectural beauty.
What is being used as the “Library” is the shell of 16th century San Agustin church.
On the rear wall there is a massive mural that was painted by Juan O’Gorman that depicts the history of Michoacán to the 1910 revolution.
On our way up to the Basilica we walked by this lady selling straw brooms, brushes, and hats. You know, we had a huge need for a small whisk broom and they had one for $5 pesos (40 cents) that would do perfectly so I gladly put one into my backpack… As we walked toward this one very narrow road, we encountered a huge traffic jam. Ninety percent of the traffic jam were cabs or small buses called “combies” and they were all heading deep into the market area.
This market was small enough to find things and large enough to get lost in. The isles were tight with people being crammed together because the merchandize was being displayed so deep into the isle that you had to push it aside to get by. A little later we finally found our way out into the daylight again but right into another market…a used and new clothing market that gave those that have little monies to spend on clothes have a place to find things in their budget. Next on our list was a hike up to an overlook above the city.
We missed it the first time we were in the neighborhood but now we had more complete directions. This also gave us an opportunity to visit the “Casa de los’ Once Patios”. This was a Dominican convent in the 1740’s and one of Mexico’s first hospitals. (the round window on the wall looks out or into the bath tub for the convent).
Today the building is being used by the many different village craftsmen/women who come into Patzcuaro to produce and market their beautiful handmade goods.