|The Sanctuary of Guadalupe was constructed in the early|
1700s, and the elaborate decoration added nearly 200 years
later. Every December 12, the day the Virgin of Guadalupe
is celebrated. hundreds of pilgrims come here to pray.
The drive last week, along with the one to Patzcuaro and others I've taken with the Cazadores de Haciendas group, have acquainted me with the cuota (fee) road system--mostly well-maintained, divided and controlled access highways--that is expensive but much faster than the often potholed, speed-bumped and narrow, twisty roads that go to and through every village. It cost us the equivalent of about $30US each way on the 200 mile cuota between Guadalajara and Morelia, but it took us less than three hours and was a beautiful drive with long vistas in the high dry scrub of central Mexico.
We took a crash course on TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, etc. websites and planned a rough itinerary. It worked out pretty well. Over the four full days there we took one ten minute, $2US taxi ride to a half dozen sites--a rococo sanctuary to the Virgin of Guadalupe, several museums, a park, plazas, and 250-year-old aqueduct, plus an excellent Latin American fusion restaurant. The rest of the time we walked from our centrally located hotel to a cathedral, more plazas, museums, colonial-era architectural wonders, cafes and restaurants, fireworks and free music--lots of music, it's home to a several centuries' old music school and its students both present and past busk all over town. That's not to mention the artisans from all over the state of Michoacán who display and sell their fantastic folk art from a central mercado y museo. As usual though, our primary recreation was soaking in the vibe and people watching.
|These two young guys played some good music while we ate breakfast inside the covered promenade across from the main plaza in background.|
|Looking toward site of the previous picture--notice the same green awnings--several days later. The fellow checking his cell phone is one of the musicians that accompany the traditional "Dance of the Old Men" in the main plaza. He is likely from the village of Jarácuaro where the dance has been performed for hundreds of years. It features dancers wearing masks that depict old men who hobble feebly until the music strikes a more lively tune, and then they perform a very energetic tap dance...Behind us now, and pictured just below, is the main plaza with Andador Juarez park in the following photo.|
|Adjacent to the main plaza is Andador Juarez which comprises three tree-lined lanes for walkers that connect streets north and south of the 200 meter long walkway. The steeple in the center of the picture is part of the city's main place to worship, the Catedral de Morelia, seat of the archdiocese.|
|Every time we passed through the andador some clown was putting on a show to lots of laughter and usually rapt attention from the children and their parents alike. This picture shows lots of empty bench space because of the strong afternoon sun; most of the audience is on the shaded side of the walkway.|
|Every Saturday night the lights come on at the cathedral following a fireworks display. The streets around centro historico are packed with people for an hour before.|