November 26, 2005 GMT
Slowly we head South

We said goodbye to our good friend Federico at the turn off to Aguas Calliente, with promises to see eachother again sometime, somewhere.

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Miss Piggy ready to roll

Our first stop was on the other side of Aguas Calliente where we were initiated into buy 'lunch by the kilo'... well meat by the kilo..... we found this quite strange, however in Michoacan it is quite the norm to eat at the Carnitas.

Under the verandah of the restaurant sat atleast 4 giant vats of boiling what we can only describe as FAT!, very black and ominous looking, with the huge lumps of meat draining on a rack above. Grant tentatively chose what seemed to be the best of the meat!

The restaurant was packed and the meat was delicous! Very tender and quite possibly goats meat.... although we are not sure!

We stayed the night at Salamanca, a town with a very large Pemex (petrol) refinery. It was a dirty smoggy town. We found cheap accommodation (US$15) very clean and very hot shower.

The next day we headed to Morelia. The ride was very nice, appart from having to detour around the town of Valle de Santiago. It was well sign posted but the detour took you through lots of little alley ways and narrow streets. It was very confusing indeed!

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Morelia

We entered Morelia crossing the bridge over a large lake and headed straight to Centro, where we found some excellent accommodation at Hostal Allende, Allende No 843, Centro (www.hostelsofmexico.net) who allowed us to park the bike in the court yard right outside the door of our room - it was good and reasonably priced.

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Cathederal - Morelia

Morelia is another good town to walk around (very clean and relatively safe). The 8 blocks that make us Centro are UNESCO hertatige listed so there is lots to see and the colonial charm is maintained. There is a great market place full of variety, colour, smells and boots!

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Boot stall in markets - Morelia

As always, we were looking for some lunch and we found a tiny restaurant/cafe located in a ladies kitchen (Calle Nicholas Bravo - has no name but is not far from the street the Comercial Mexicana shopping centre is on). She made the most amazing tacos for Grant and a Milenesa torta (schnitzel roll) for Jules. So cheap and she threw in some youghurt jello for sweets.

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Lunch

The lady was amazing! We were trying to locate our friend Marilyn (from Vancouver) but were having difficulty with the telephones. With our broken Spanish we conveyed our problem to her. She rang for us, got the address and drew a map so we could walk to the house and catch up with Marilyn.

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Marilyn & Jules

It was a treat to spend a day and a half with Marilyn, visiting all the sights we could fit in. (We took Marilyn to the little lunch place and the lady was very glad to see that we found eachother).

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Mural of Morelos in the Justice Palace - Morelia

We said our farewells to Morelia and headed to Patzcuaro (very famous for Day of the Dead Celebrations - for wich we were a week late, however lots of evidence around of the fiestas).

We found a campground (Villa Patzcurao on the road into town) and set up camp early and headed out to the archeological site Tzintzuntzan.

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Yaccas

As a storm headed towards us we made our way around the site. The setting is on a hill overlooking a small town and a lake. This site was ain imporatant place of government, religon and commerce for the Tarascan peoples. Very amazing architecture on a grand scale.

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Detail of Yaccas

We headed to Valle de Bravo where our friends Eduardo and Margaret invited us to stay with them at their house.

On the way we rode the Mil Cumbres Pass which takes you up a beautiful forrested winding road to almost 3,000 meters. At the top there is a marker describing the distances to various parts of Mexico and the road construction time frames. The view is fantastic, the road is good, however there are a few places where it is in a poor state of repair as most people use the new fast autopista.

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Church on the Mil Cumbres Road

We arrived in Valle de Bravo in the middle of the Funduro dirt bike rally. One of the biggest in Mexico. The normally quiet zocalo was tranformed into Rally Headquarters with a mutlitude of parked bikes. KTM's, Honda's, Kawasaki's and even the odd BMW!

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Dinner with Eduardo and Margaret

Whilst staying with Eduardo and Margaret we had the opportunity to visit the Para/Hang Gliding site up above the village. On our way down the hill we came across young boys making their living by cutting down the 'protected' trees for fire wood. This is highly illegal in the state park, however it is quite a common occurance.

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Firewood Poacher

We were also very lucky to be able to take a sail on the lake with a some of the first monarch butterflies to arrive in the area (from Canada!) for the winter.

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Eduardo determined to make a sailor out of Jules

Posted by Julie Rose at November 26, 2005 05:52 PM GMT
 


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