The morning began with another fabulous breakfast prepared by Eva and Christina.
The surrounding grounds were full of fruit and nuts trees, and Eva had encouraged the children to explore and collect some of the nuts. Christina suggested that the children crack the nuts using big sticks. After breakfast, Genevieve and Sebastian showed me their nut-cracking technique; it had taken them a while to finess the stick pounding so that they didn’t end up with pulverized nut meat.
We then drove north, along the east side of the Lake Pátzcuaro, to reach the archaeological site of TzinTzunTzan. The word “TzinTzunTzan” means “place of the hummingbirds” in the Purépecha language. The Purépecha people were never conquered by the Aztecs and had their own separate civilization at the time of the Spanish invasion in the early 1500’s. The temples and palaces at TzinTzunTzan had been used as the center of power for the Purépecha political and religious leaders.
From our car, we could see the TzinTzunTzan ruins on the hill.
Below the ruins is a town of the same name, which has many road-side shops that sell large statues and pillars:
The archaeological site was easy to find.
Other than a group of school children on a fieldtrip, we were the only visitors for most of the morning. The small museum and visitor’s center contained a diorama showing how the ruins had once looked:
There was an area with low walls that archaeologists believe was once a series of palaces.
The large round structures are called “Yácatas” and served as both sanctuaries of the gods and tombs for some of the leaders. The Yácatas were made with unmortared stone, and the faces were once covered with large blocks of red, volcanic rock.
From the row of Yácatas, we had a commanding view of the TzinTzunTzan town, as well as Lake Pátzcuaro in the distance.
The area in front of the Yácatas was very long.
Climbing onto the Yácatas was not allowed. We walked all of the way around the circular structures, searching for various symbols that were carved into the stone.
We also searched for lizards, which were camouflaged to perfectly match their surroundings:
Some of the stones in the surrounding storage areas had circular carvings:
The town of TzinTzunTzan had a park on the outskirts, so we stopped to have some fun. Here is Ben at the entrance:
Genevieve found an old merry-go-round with one remaining animal:
The day was hot, but we all caught a breeze on swings:
Much of the playground equipment was broken and rusted, and we were surprised to learn that the park was created only 11 years ago.
I wanted to get a closer view of the island of Janitzio, so we wound down a small paved road that led toward the water. Visitors can catch a boat to the island, and we had considered that as an option. However, our time was limited, and the boat trip would have taken most of a day; so we decided to do other activities instead. (We had also heard from a few of the locals that the island was very “touristy” and that you could “die” if you ate the fish on the island.)
We shared the road with quite a few cows.
The road unfortunately never got close to the water. Eventually, it started winding away from the water, and we arrived at the small town of Cucuchucho. We wandered through the small streets, and found much to admire.
I really loved the beautiful and varied earth tones of these building walls:
We drove a bit further and finally got a view of Janitzio, far off in the distance (the island on the left):
A close-up of Janitzio:
The smaller island looked lovely:
Children were walking home from school along the road. We saw Disney’s broad reach with this girl’s Snow White backpack:
We made one last attempt to get a closer view of Janitzio by entering the small town of Ihuatzio, which had a statue of a coyote in the middle of a small plaza. (We later learned that the word “Ihuatzio” means “Place of the Coyotes” in the Pátzcuaro language.)
Ihuatzio had a lovely church and small narrow streets, which we shared with burros and people:
We reached a point where the road was blocked completely by this delivery truck.
We reversed our way back up the street, and then tried another small street that eventually dead-ended into some brush. We didn’t find a view of the island, but we did enjoy our short visit to this quaint town.
On our drive back to Pátzcuaro, I was drawn to this old wall with its mixture of brick, stone, cement and metal.
We also passed this man with a small child riding in front of him on his sport bike. I was too late to snap a photo of them riding together, but I caught part of the dismount:
We ate at a restaurant next to the Plaza Grande in Pátzcuaro. The meal and service were forgettable, but the view of the zócalo was great. Here is Sebastian (his future’s so bright, he has to wear shades):
Lunch was redeemed by the scrumptious, freshly made ice cream from this nevaría vender:
We had parked our car along the side of the zócalo, which was about a 15 minute walk from our inn. The streets leading directly to our hotel were blocked during the daytime by the colorful market booths, so the drive back would have to involve a circuitous route. Genevieve and Sebastian wanted to have a “race” to see who could get to the hotel the fastest—Genevieve and I would be walking, and Sebastian and Ben would be driving the car.
Genevieve was very excited. We walked very fast, but stopped a few times to take photos along the way. The church at the end of this street was too pretty to pass up:
And the market was just amazing, with the vibrant colors, energy, and abundance of every item one could possibly need:
Genevieve and I were the first ones to arrive at the hotel, but only by a few minutes. Ben and Sebastian would have arrived first, but they had to creep their way down a very long, pot-hole ridden street.
After a brief rest, we were all ready to set out again for a long walk through a part of town we had not yet explored. Here are Ben and the children in front of the “casa grande” at Casa Werma.
We turned down a nearby street:
We passed this man and his loaded burro:
The walls were captivating with their visual display of history:
We found the beautiful pink church that Genevieve and I had seen in the far distance during our walk home from lunch; however, the sunlight was at the wrong angle to capture a good photo (and reading the manual regarding how to change the camera settings in bright sunlight has been on my “to do” list for several years now).
We wandered more slowly through the market, happily gawking at everything.
The small streets, with their white and red buildings, were just beautiful.
We came across the man with the burro again, trying to vie with cars for his space in the street:
We craned our necks to ogle at the dry grass that had sprouted around the bell tower openings.
And, as always, I loved looking at the old doors:
We found a small cemetery and took a quick peek around at all of the gravestones:
This street had homes that looked very contemporary:
We finally found the outer walls of Casa Werma and followed them around to the entrance:
For dinner tonight, we returned to the wonderful restaurant at which we had enjoyed our first meal in town, La Compañia. When walking through the market this afternoon, we had seen piles and piles of tiny dried fish. On the menu tonight, I noticed an appetizer of fried “pescaditos” (tiny fish), so I ordered a plate for us all to share. Here are Sebastian and Genevieve getting ready to try their first tiny fish.
I thought that the fish were very tasty, especially with the accompanying fresh salsa and guacamole. Genevieve liked them too. Sebastian, however, only ate one, saying that he just couldn’t “get over the eyeball.”
After dinner, we enjoyed the country music, Mexican style, of this small roaming band (complete with lots of “yee haw’s”):
This was our last night in Mexico, so we wandered around the two lively plazas for a bit longer, and then headed back to the hotel, content from our full day.
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