We camped just outside of Patzcuaro and checked out the town. It’s a very cool place up in the mountains (about 7000 ft) surrounded by pine trees and it has absolutely perfect weather. Most of the towns around here follow a pretty strict theme of white/red buildings with red clay tile roofs and this is city is a prime example. Most of the businesses even use the same typeface on the building exteriors. I imagine a trip to the paint store is a pretty boring adventure. What color do you want – white, red, or black?
There are lots of handicrafts and art, but the town doesn’t seem very touristy at all. Hand-woven baskets seem to be a big deal here. We lingered at a cafe and sipped a few micheladas and pondered why we might need a basket.
The Bulli’s spent the afternoon getting some locks welded into their van (no goggles – just aim and close eyes) and tried to find some new lock cylinders for the doors (my key works in their lock!) We met a strange guy the other day at a camp site and he had the entire interior of his car encased in a steel cage. A bit extreme. Of course, all this security activity has got us wondering if we should add some anti-theft measures… but so far we think not. We’ll keep thinking about it.
We headed up to the lake and to go find the ruins at Tzintzuntzan. The name means ‘place of the hummingbirds,’ so we figured it must be nice. We thought we would just find somewhere to camp when we got there and the lot in front of the ruins was a perfect spot. High up on a hill and overlooking the lake for a nice sunset. Just us and a few farmers wandering through with their cows.
In the morning, we checked out the ruins built in 900 A.D. The town fell with the Spanish conquest in the 1500′s. It was interesting to visit with a German couple, since they noted there were still occupied houses in their village older than these ruins. Also, Ane being a stone carver gave a whole new perspective on some of the details. Unfortunately, a lot of these ruins seemed to have been rebuilt.
On the road outside of town was a stone carvers workshop with thousands of stone figures displayed for sale. We stopped for some pictures and Ane talked with the owner. She actually brought some of her tools with her on their trip, so they compared tools and discussed technique the best they could.
We heard good things about Lago Zirahuen, just south of Patzcuaro, so we drove down to go have a look. It’s a beautiful lake and a few of us got in to clean off in the cold water. An idylic place with farmland rolling right down to the lake shore. Some kids came by on horses and offered to let us ride them. “No cuesta nada,” they said.