This morning we jumped onto a combi for the bus station. We’d heard so much about Santa Clara de los Clara that we decided to see it for ourselves and take the bus higher into the mountain to check it out.
Santa Clara was about a 20 minute drive but with all the small stops we had for picking up more passengers, it took us at least 40 minutes. As we were climbing further up the side of the mountain, we could look back on Lago de Patzcuaro and the Isle Janitzio. We were totally grateful that we had a clear day to head out after being held in because of the drenching rains. Here I am feeling sorry for myself and from what we’re hearing, the people here in this part of Mexico have been hit very hard with flooding and slides. We even heard that there was a tornado that passed about 60 miles east of us that killed 4. Getting back to Santa Clara de los Cobras. In 1553 it became the most important copper smelting area in “New Spain”. It was in the 19th century that production of copper peaked and it was in the 19th century that the town was destroyed by a huge fire. In 1910 it burned again and just about everyone left the area for good, that is except the Purepecha’s. The copper mines were quick to be tapped out so the only way for the craft to continue was to purchase recycled copper. Cable and wire were and still are purchased in heavy volume from Mexico, the US, and other countries abroad. Over 10,000 TONS of copper come out of the smelter to Santa Clara each WEEK. It was very interesting to watch the artists handle the blocks of solid copper and transform that blob into a piece of beauty and function.
Santa Clara, being another of the “Colonial” cities whose casa’s (houses) are mostly painted white with a red band across the front of it, and sport a red tiled roof. A lot of the time the front of the home becomes a store front.
The thickness of the adobe walls is amazing (that is all except the “newer” homes) at 2 to 3’ thick. I’m sure you’ve already noticed, but we really enjoy the wonderful churches of Mexico
and the two that we visited today were again special. Notice the wood ceilings and the copper chandeliers.
Many of the homes here are decorated with bells, flowerpots, doorknockers, hand railings, all mad of copper. The kiosk in the middle of town (the plaza)
has a copper roof, but the benches, garbage cans, and light poles only look like copper as they have been painted. Throughout Santa Clara you will find shops filled with amazing pieces of “art”, already for someone to walk into the establishment with cash in hand and be able to take home that perfect copper bath tub, kitchen and bath sinks, and etc, etc.
Now let’s talk lunch… Louise and I were enjoying this one copper shop and the young man managing it when I asked if he would recommend a restaurant with good local foods. He told me about the Hotel Rio that was about 3 blocks down the street. Well his recommendation was great and the food was worth twice what we paid. The daily recommended lunch was a 4 course affair starting with soup. I chose the fish soup and Louise the tomato tortilla, which both were amazing. If you notice, the whole fish is cut in half and sits in my bowl very nicely.
Totally we ate as much we could hold without becoming stuffed, which meant we passed on dessert…next time.