Given recommendations from travelers and friends, Morelia, capital city of the state of Michoacán, turned out to be a good choice to split up a long trip to Puerto Vallarta. Confirming Lonely Planet’s instructions at the bus terminal tourist booth (with our limited Spanish), we caught the R-1 bus under the pedestrian bridge and headed for town€¦at least that’s what we thought. Trying to follow the route was impossible – Morelian’s seem to have an aversion to street signs outside of the 20 block historic center. Being the last on the bus, we managed to communicate to the driver at a stop light and discovered we’d have to take another transport – which was right behind us: one of the prolific white VW buses that transported people to destinations listed on the windshield. There were enough chalked in destinations, we wondered how the drivers saw anything (our suspicions confirmed as our driver rammed into a median trying to get around a police van shielding a scaffolding accident). Boarding, Cynthia was almost knocked into the street squeezing through the door with her pack on (she managed with a laugh, but Warren was smarter, removing his first).
Finally arriving at the city center, we made our way to the Hostel Morelia Center and for less than $30 we got a gorgeous room with private bathroom, skylight, safe deposit box, lockers, free internet/WIFI, continental breakfast, water and cable TV – SWEET!
Couple things of note about Morelia – firstly, it’s pink, very pink. As a Unesco World Heritage site, city ordinances require construction in the center to be a baroque, colonial style with walls of the signature pink stone. There is even a church that feels like you’re sitting inside a Faberge egg (see it for yourself 7 Meg WMV File). Secondly, there is only one traffic light per corner, but since not every corner has a traffic light, it’s a good habit to take a careful scan around before stepping off the curb. Thirdly, they have the most amazing fruit mixture called Gaspacho – no, not the soup (that’s with a “z”) – this is a mixture of diced fruit, juices, grated cheese, salt and chili spices- sounds incredibly gross, but they were sooo good, Cynthia had 2.
Morelia is, unfortunately, succumbing to western influences. One brochure had a list of “Comida Rapida” (fast food) listing: Subway, Burger King and “Taco Boom” – their word for “Taco Bell” – Warren commented “Taco Boom – yeah, that’s what happens when you eat one of those tacos … better be close to a bathroom!
We saw many flowers in bloom , including roses (surprisingly), in and around the city center & orchids, palaces (some with peaceful (actually sleep-in) demonstrators – it being a capital city), churches, an impressive zoo (well, from the outside for us) and a 3 km long aqueduct system. We actually stayed a day longer than planned€¦
The Morelia gallery has more pictures of this beautiful historic Mexican city.
Next we are off on an overnight bus to Puerto Vallarta.