Morelia, Michoacan

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Escrito por Ted/John Vancouver desde ( el día domingo, 21 de noviembre, 2004 a las 20:26:31 horas :

If you are looking to take a side trip while visiting the Zihua/Ixtapa area, Morelia might be of interest.

Morelia is Michoacan's state capitol. It was built beginning in 1541 and is a good example of a Spannish colonial city. In 1991 Morelia was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Artistic site. There are over 200 historic buildings in the central core of the city and many of them are under restoration. The city has many museums, chuches and its impressive aqueduct (253 supporting columns) built in 1785. The main catherdral is one of the finest and largest such structures in Mexico with 2 imposing (200 feet) baroque towers at the entrance and a 4600 pipe organ. The population today is around 750,000. Morelia is situated high in the Sierra Madres mountains (6300+ feet) approximately half way between Mexico City and Guadalajara. Due to the altitude, the temperature is eternally spring like - highs around mid 20c and lows mid teens at night. The evenings can be cool.

The city has very good accomodation and exceptionally good restauants and prices are very reasonable.

The mercado on Avenida Lazaro Cardenas is huge and very clean (as is all the downtown area). Most attractions are within 6 blocks of the Zocalo around the catherdral.

There are tourist information kiosks on most every corner downtown so finding the sights to see is very easy. They also have a 1 hour gguided tour of the central core for 40p. We took it but we had seen most everything just walking around. One church we would not have entered if not for the tour was Santuario de Guadalupe. A small chucrh but the interior adornations were unique (to us anyway). Very colorful and ornate.


After discussions with Celso and Haviar at the Catalina and Joe at Cafe Marina (great pizza) on the Pescador, they convinced us a trip was possible and wothwhile. Only a 3 hour drive they said.
The new toll road (highway 37) Connecting Morelia to the coast is nearing completion. Only a few kms remain to be finished. It is 2 lane with good shoulders and designed and posted for 110k/h. The road connects to highway 200 jsut north of Ixtapa.

Not wanting to drive, we decied to take the bus. The only good service at present is provided by Estrella De Oro on Parhikani buses. They are not Premier Plus but the buses were air conditioned, with movies and the ride was comfortable - 6 hours of it. No snacks provided. On the return trip water or juices was provided when boarding (with your boarding pass) but that was not the case leaving Zihua. The bus leaves from the Estrelle de Oro termianl in Zihua (not the Blanco - Estrelle Blanco has a bus leaving Zihua at 8 PM for 293p) and it makes two stops that add about 60 minutes to the trip. One stop in Apatzingan (about 6 minutes off the toll road) and Urapan (about a 45 minute side trip). If the road was finished and non stop service provided the trip would be approximately 4 hours. There are 8 toll booths on the route including one military check point at the Zihua end. The tolls vary from 17 to 28p.
We took the 9 AM Saturday Nov 14. It also leaves at 5 PM, 7:30 PM an 11 PM. You can make reservations and they have seat selection. Select a seat on the passenger side going to Morelia, the views going by the Infiernillo hydro dam and lake lake are better on that side.
The bus cost 315p ech each way. We could pay with credit card in Zihua but cash only in Morelia. Going to Morelia there were about 15 passengers. On the reutrn there were 3 of us.
We arrived in Morelia at the new bus terminal which is about a 15 minute cab ride to town. The bus station is large (over 70 bus stalls). You buy your taxi ride inside the terminal (much like at the airport in Zihua). It was 24.5p for the ride to the city center. On the advise of Joe, we stayed at the Imperial hotel about 2 blocks from the catherdral. Not a good choice. Cheap $320p but it was kind of noisy and not the greatest but on a budget it would be fine. The next trip we will stay at one of the hotels on the zocalo.

Saturday night in downtown was busy. Lots of university kids and locals enjoying the sites. The restaraunts, sidewlak cafes and clubs were busy. We did not choose the right weekend to go. Monday the 15th was state elections so Saturday and Sunday were dry. No wine with dinner or any other options. They had gaurds posted in any store selling booze to make sure no one made a purchase.
We had a wonderful meal at Mirasoles. Excellant food, service, atmosphere to spare and very reasonable (430 p and worth 3 times that).

At night the city has a fire works display at 9 PM.

Sunday morning we went to a Mexican restaraunt (forget the name) for brunch. Very good. And very clean!! Washroom with complete touchless cleansing. Not typical in most Mexican eating places.

We took a taxi from downtown to the bus terminal and caught the 2 PM bus back to Zihua. There only seems to be one a 2 and one at 5? Arrived in Zihua at 8:15PM (same stops as on the way up). Made a big mistake at the bus terminal. Decided to take a taxi downtown to eat at one of our favorite cafes (Chuleto - pepper tuna steak second to none) and didn't discuss the fare first. Got ripped for 50p.

Would we go to Morelia again? Yes, next year.

Ted and John.

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