Morelia and Isla Janitzia 28 Jan 2015

Speaking of food ….. and aren’t I usually speaking of food?? We are enjoying Patzcuaro so much we decided to just stay here and do a day trip to Morelia instead of going there for a couple of days. That involved hopping onto a bus and off we went.

Michoacan, and in particular the Morelia area, can be an area of unrest. Often you will see protests, barricades and generally a lot of police. As we were on the bus to Morelia, we saw many trucks of heavily armed police moving very quickly towards Morelia – complete with machine guns mounted on top of the trucks, and police ready to fire. I had a few moments of feeling rather nervous, thinking to myself …. “what the heck are we doing going to Morelia?”…. As we pulled into Morelia we noticed immediately what the panic was …………barbacoa!! Or, barbecue. All the trucks were lined up at their favourite barbecue joint and they were having a great time. Whew.

Exiting the bus, we hopped on to a taxi and went to the main zocalo – always the centre in a Mexican city. And, this is a city. Huge, and major congestion in traffic.

Cathedral in Morelia

Cathedral in Morelia

We were told that we must try gazpacho, Morelia style. Given the instructions to find the market where the best can be found, we set off and walked from the main plaza. And walked, and walked. Eventually we did find the market. Grant is the one that spotted the gazpacho stands, and thankfully he did because I was looking for cold tomato soup, and that is definitely not what this gazpacho is. So incredibly delicious – in some ways it had the entire balance of Thai food – sweet, salty, spicy and tangy. We couldn’t believe how good it was!

Gazpacho stand at the market in Morelia - fruit minced finely, dusted with chiles, orange and cheese traditionally.

Gazpacho stand at the market in Morelia – fruit minced finely, dusted with chiles, orange and cheese traditionally.

Gazpacho, Morelia style - ours was loaded with mango, watermelon and jicama - topped with orange and lime juices with chile flakes … we passed on the cheese.  So refreshing and delicious

Gazpacho, Morelia style – ours was loaded with mango, watermelon and jicama – topped with orange and lime juices with chile flakes … we passed on the cheese. So refreshing and delicious

Strangely enough, in Morelia this famous statue went missing in 1940, and while they never did find out who stole it, the statue itself was replaced.

Fuente Las Taracas: This statue, of Tarascan women, holding a basket of fruit is iconic for the Morelian people.  It was replaced in the 60's after mysteriously disappearing in 1940.

Fuente Las Taracas: This statue, of Tarascan women, holding a basket of fruit is iconic for the Morelian people. It was replaced in the 60’s after mysteriously disappearing in 1940.

In Mexico, always a statue!

In Mexico, always a statue!

Our next stop, strangely enough, was to eat. Hotel Casino’s Restaurant Lu was heartily recommended, along with their tasting menu. Sadly, the tasting menu wasn’t available, and the waiter wasn’t sure when it would be, so we had some of the other regions specialties – equally delicious I’m sure.

Restaurant Lu, and delicious macadamia crusted trout.  That salad was the best I've ever had in Mexico - topped with sugar dusted crunchy jamaica flowers!

Restaurant Lu, and delicious macadamia crusted trout. That salad was the best I’ve ever had in Mexico – topped with sugar dusted crunchy jamaica flowers!

On our way back we decided to go over to Isla Janitzia. This place is a real meca in all of Mexico for Day of the Dead ceremonies. A massive statue dominates the island, with his fist held high you can see it for miles.

Waiting for the ferry boat to go over to Isla Janitzia, with local musicians.

Waiting for the ferry boat to go over to Isla Janitzia, with local musicians.

So many water plants choke the shores these boats struggle getting through.

So many water plants choke the shores these boats struggle getting through.

Arriving to Isla Janitzia, with the statue of Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon towering over the small island.  Now to hike up there ...

Arriving to Isla Janitzia, with the statue of Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon towering over the small island. Now to hike up there …

Wow.  He looks bigger up close - are we really going to climb up inside him?

Wow. He looks bigger up close – are we really going to climb up inside him?

Starting the long climb up the island.

Starting the long climb up the island.

HOLY   VERTIGO  !!  We are really going all the way up there (this is INSIDE the statue)!

HOLY VERTIGO !!
We are really going all the way up there (this is INSIDE the statue)!

As we got closer to the top of the statue, inside his arm, it got closer and closer and tighter and tighter and twistier….

As we got closer to the top of the statue, inside his arm, it got closer and closer and tighter and tighter and twistier….

View from the statue on Isla Janitzia

View from the statue on Isla Janitzia

Yes, I was literally clinging to the wall and the railing on the way down.

Yes, I was literally clinging to the wall and the railing on the way down.

Why is going down always so much worse than going up?  For me it certainly is.   I seriously wasn't sure if my wobbly knees were going to collapse, I was going to tinkle, or I was going to cry.

Why is going down always so much worse than going up? For me it certainly is. I seriously wasn’t sure if my wobbly knees were going to collapse, I was going to tinkle, or I was going to cry.

Those are great smiles - mine is of relief and Grant's is of the humour he got out of the whole situation!  We survived the climb, took in the view from the statue's wrist (yes, they have a viewing window around his wrist???)

Those are great smiles – mine is of relief and Grant’s is of the humour he got out of the whole situation! We survived the climb, took in the view from the statue’s wrist (yes, they have a viewing window around his wrist???)

General rule of thumb, if you climb up those steps, you will have to go back down there.

General rule of thumb, if you climb up those steps, you will have to go back down there.

Basketball court on Isla Janitzia - maybe 20 feet by 20 feet, but not really square, and a LONG way down to the water if you lose the ball!

Basketball court on Isla Janitzia – maybe 20 feet x 20 feet, but not really square, and a LONG way down to the water if you lose the ball!

After all that traipsing around and eating, we were happy to stay at our Casa and have chicken soup from a previous night’s leftovers. Amazing what you can do with limited supplies!

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