Eating our way around Michoacan and Guerrero, Mexico Jan Feb 2015

We travel for lots of reasons, but a lot of those reasons are food. Here are a few of our highlights in the Michoacan and Guerrero States area that are food related …… WARNING – you will either be hungry or booking flights to Mexico!

Whenever possible, if we are eating out for breakfast - this is it.  Chilaquilles solo, in other words no chicken or eggs, beans,  fruit with yogurt and granola, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee.  Doesn't get much better than this!  p.s.  I have discovered that it isn't "beans" I dislike … it is kidney beans!

Whenever possible, if we are eating out for breakfast- this is it. Chilaquilles solo, in other words no chicken or eggs, beans, fruit with yogurt and granola, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee. Doesn’t get much better than this! p.s. I have discovered that it isn’t “beans” I dislike … it is kidney beans!

If we are not eating out for breakfast, the way to start the day is with mango and avocado on toast … yum yum yum

If we are not eating out for breakfast, the way to start the day is with mango and avocado on toast … yum yum yum

Have you ever seen such cute little red potatoes?

Have you ever seen such cute little red potatoes?

Churros!  Eating at least 1 a day keeps everybody happy.  I honestly think the best ones are found in Patzcuaro.

Churros! Eating at least 1 a day keeps everybody happy. I honestly think the best ones are found in Patzcuaro.

We walked for ages trying to find this place in Patzcuaro - mainly because we took a few wrong turns.

We walked for ages trying to find this place in Patzcuaro – mainly because we took a few wrong turns.

Camerones cooked with guajillo chiles and garlic at Mariscos La Guera - so delicious.

Camerones cooked with guajillo chiles and garlic at Mariscos La Guera – so delicious.

Camerones al la Coco - I think the best coconut shrimp we tried.  Lightly coated in coconut and such fresh shrimp.

Camerones al la Coco – I think the best coconut shrimp we tried. Lightly coated in coconut and such fresh shrimp.

First time we have ever seen onion rings on a Mexican menu - given that onions are so delicious here we gave them a try and it was worth it.

First time we have ever seen onion rings on a Mexican menu – given that onions are so delicious here we gave them a try and it was worth it.

Pretty much every time you sit at a restaurant in Mexico you will receive some version of this … chips, lime, salt and various salsas.

Pretty much every time you sit at a restaurant in Mexico you will receive some version of this … chips, lime, salt and various salsas.

Now, not saying that Sabrita and Lays don't make awesome lime chips, but these fresh chips, with lime, salt and chile if you want it drizzled over top are the bomb.  Nothing beats them.

Now, not saying that Sabrita and Lays don’t make awesome lime chips, but these fresh chips, with lime, salt and chile if you want it drizzled over top are the bomb. Nothing beats them.

The Michoacan version of tortilla soup is indeed different, and we found a delicious version at Lupitas in Patzcuaro.

The Michoacan version of tortilla soup is indeed different, and we found a delicious version at Lupitas in Patzcuaro.

This beef based soup arrived loaded with vegetables and served with a small tamale.  It was so good I wish I could remember what it was called.

This beef based soup arrived loaded with vegetables and served with a small tamale. It was so good I wish I could remember what it was called.

Markets are full of amazing ingredients, make sure you shop here whenever you have the chance.  Here is dried red corn, ready for use.

Markets are full of amazing ingredients, make sure you shop here whenever you have the chance. Here is dried red corn, ready for use.

Fresh chicken is everywhere, usually with a yellow tint.  They feed them marigolds for that vivid colour.  You can have it as it, or they will chop it however you like - including trimming the nails.

Fresh chicken is everywhere, usually with a yellow tint. They feed them marigolds for that vivid colour. You can have it as it, or they will chop it however you like – including trimming the nails.

Right beside the chicken, you can pick out your favourite fish - again, they will prep it any way you like.  Go early in the day for the best, freshest selection, but don't be afraid to go.

Right beside the chicken, you can pick out your favourite fish – again, they will prep it any way you like. Go early in the day for the best, freshest selection, but don’t be afraid to go.

Just to confuse your nose a bit, these gorgeous flowers are right across from the fish and chicken……..

Just to confuse your nose a bit, these gorgeous flowers are right across from the fish and chicken……..

Gazpacho in Morelia is a bit different than what I was expecting, no tomato soup here.  This truly amazing and refreshing dish is finely diced fruit topped up with lime and orange juices, chiles, salt and cheese.

Gazpacho in Morelia is a bit different than what I was expecting, no tomato soup here. This truly amazing and refreshing dish is finely diced fruit topped up with lime and orange juices, chiles, salt and cheese.

The plastic cups are filled with an endless variety of minced fruits and vegetables.  We chose melon, jicama and mango and skipped the cheese.

The plastic cups are filled with an endless variety of minced fruits and vegetables. We chose melon, jicama and mango and skipped the cheese.

don't step on the kids in mercado

We came back to stay in Uruapan another night, primarily to go to La Mesa de Blanca – a restaurant we had heard about from many sources, and most primarily from “Mexico Cooks!” and “My Mexican Kitchen” … both proven reliable sources. This restaurant is incredible – up a dusty little road in yet another tiny Mexican village, Ziracueretiro. The food was amazing (I know, you’ve heard me say that before …) but it truly was.

This beautiful restaurant fills up in no time - only open Thurs - Sunday.  We got there ahead of the crowd, just as they were preparing to open.

This beautiful restaurant fills up in no time – only open Thurs – Sunday. We got there ahead of the crowd, just as they were preparing to open.

Grant's chile relleno was the best ever.  Filled with a Mexican version of chile that was outrageously flavourful.

Grant’s chile relleno was the best ever. Filled with a Mexican version of chile that was outrageously flavourful.

On a valued recommendation, I went with Huchepos con costilla y credo.  These "tamale like" creations are lighter and fluffier than a tamale, and those little pork rib lets were fantastic.

On a valued recommendation, I went with Huchepos con costilla y credo. These “tamale like” creations are lighter and fluffier than a tamale, and those little pork rib lets were fantastic.

No, we didn't also order conejo (rabbit) but this grilled conejo just looked too good to not get a photo!

No, we didn’t also order conejo (rabbit) but this grilled conejo just looked too good to not get a photo!

Totally unusual for us, but we ordered this yummy strawberry volcano and it was well worth it.

Totally unusual for us, but we ordered this yummy strawberry volcano and it was well worth it.

Famous for their fruit water, this zarzamora fresco (blackberry) was so refreshing.

Famous for their fruit water, this zarzamora fresco (blackberry) was so refreshing.

I’m not sure why we don’t cook pork shank as often as we do lamb shank at home, but after trying it in Mexico we sure will now.

Chamorro Adobado in Patzcuaro - pork shank in adobe sauce.

Chamorro Adobado in Patzcuaro – pork shank in adobe sauce.

Back in Barra de Potosi for a few days, and fortunate enough to stay with Eugen and Rita at Villas Tuparaiso – definitely our new friends. Their villas were full, but they have 2 rooms at their home which we were very happy to share with them. Such warm, welcoming hosts go a long way towards creating a great place to spend some time to relax, enjoy the beach and generally live a little bit of Mexican life.

One amazing reason for cooking yourself in Mexico is the abundance of fabulous ingredients. These shrimp cost 90 pesos for 1/2 a kilo – cleaned and ready to go.

Camerones con cebolla y ajo …. or shrimp with onions and garlic.  When you start with something so fresh, you just know it will be delicious.

Camerones con cebolla y ajo …. or shrimp with onions and garlic. When you start with something so fresh, you just know it will be delicious.

Add those shrimp to some grilled zucchini and the meal is perfecto!

Add those shrimp to some grilled zucchini and the meal is perfecto!

Should you have an opportunity to use one of these mocaljetes to create your salad dressing. or sauce of any kind - go for it!

Should you have an opportunity to use one of these mocaljetes to create your salad dressing. or sauce of any kind – go for it!

Or … grill up some tomatoes, habanero pepper, onions and garlic.  Use this to crush it into a salsa or sauce and pour it over grilled veg and pasta.

Or … grill up some tomatoes, habanero pepper, onions and garlic. Use this to crush it into a salsa or sauce and pour it over grilled veg and pasta.

Both a mango and papaya trees created shade on this screened porch for restful reading in the hammock … someone needed to be using it while I created in the cocina … (kitchen)

Both a mango and papaya trees created shade on this screened porch for restful reading in the hammock … someone needed to be using it while I created in the cocina … (kitchen)

Surf behind me … perfect pool to float in after riding the bikes for 30 minutes to this beautiful little spot.

All along Playa Blanca you will find little spots like this to rest, swing in the hammock or float in the pool with the waves crashing on the beach.  If you are looking for more people …. just go to the centre of it all in Barra de Potosi - lots of palapa restaurants there - especially busy on long weekends with Nationals hitting the beach.

All along Playa Blanca you will find little spots like this to rest, swing in the hammock or float in the pool with the waves crashing on the beach. If you are looking for more people …. just go to the centre of it all in Barra de Potosi – lots of palapa restaurants there – especially busy on long weekends with Nationals hitting the beach.

From Villas Tuparaiso we would walk the main drag to pick up vegetables, fresh seafood or chicken …. pretty easy to find anything you want within this little stretch.

From Villas Tuparaiso we would walk the main drag to pick up vegetables, fresh seafood or chicken …. pretty easy to find anything you want within this little stretch.

Miles of white sandy beach at Playa Blanca.

Miles of white sandy beach at Playa Blanca.

Eugen (host of Villas Tuparaiso) and his lovely wife Rita graciously hosted the Superbowl in their bedroom - the only place in Barra de Potosi where the boys could watch the game.

Eugen (host of Villas Tuparaiso) and his lovely wife Rita graciously hosted the Superbowl in their bedroom – the only place in Barra de Potosi where the boys could watch the game.

Now, this is my size pool - as much as I hated to miss the Superbowl game …. I managed to console myself by floating around on the air mattress.

Now, this is my size pool – as much as I hated to miss the Superbowl game …. I managed to console myself by floating around on the air mattress.

Every beach you go to in Mexico will have musicians entertaining the locals at the palapa restaurants.

Every beach you go to in Mexico will have musicians entertaining the locals at the palapa restaurants.

Hasta la vista la playa …. we are leaving Zihuatenajo area and heading back to Mexico City for our final couple of days.

Hasta la vista la playa …. we are leaving Zihuatenajo area and heading back to Mexico City for our final couple of days.

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!

Quiroga & Tzintzuntzan 27 Jan 2015

We are in an area famous for their carnitas …. which totally explains why we would hop in a collectivo taxi, then another taxi for a 23 k trip to eat them, right? Right? I’m sure anybody would do the same. What are carnitas you ask??? Pork! And, plenty of it. Basically, seasoned pork simmered in lard until tender. That simple explanation hardly does the dish justice though – you have to try it to believe it.

Following great advice from a couple of bloggers – Cristina at MexicoCooks! and Don Cuevas at My Mexican Kitchen, we indeed made the trek to find a specific carnita stand …. the one under the street light in Quiroga …..

The one stop light in Quiroga, Michoacan.  Carnita heaven.

The one stop light in Quiroga, Michoacan. Carnita heaven.

We wandered the length of the vendors, with each one offering a bite of their pork. Eventually we decided that our instructions must mean the one directly under the light, Carnitas Polo.

Every single one of the vendors had this much pork under cover - absolutely delicious and mouth waveringly tender.

Every single one of the vendors had this much pork under cover – absolutely delicious and mouth waveringly tender.

Here it is - your "go to" carnita cart in Quiroga, Michoacan - Carnitas Polo.

Here it is – your “go to” carnita cart in Quiroga, Michoacan – Carnitas Polo.

Yes, this is 1 taco.  30 pesos of the best carnita in Mexico.  Go to Michoacan and see for yourself!  Buy some guacamole from another vendor, a soft drink from the stand with tables and get set to be amazed.

Yes, this is 1 taco. 30 pesos of the best carnita in Mexico. Go to Michoacan and see for yourself! Buy some guacamole from another vendor, a soft drink from the stand with tables and get set to be amazed.

Obviously we needed to walk a bit after that, so we walked to the other end of town and hopped a collectivo taxi to Tzintzuntzan (pronounced roughly “seen soon san”), and it means Home of the Hummingbirds. Such a beautiful little village – all the buildings painted in the style of Patzcuaro in white and red.

Typical casa, most of the homes and buildings look just like this.

Typical casa, most of the homes and buildings look just like this.

Tzintzuntzan is so beautiful – Lake Patzcuaro is beautiful to look at, but unfortunately I don’t think you would want to swim in it now! There is something about these villages that have been classed as “Pueblo Magico”.

Lake Patzcuaro from Tzintzuntzan

We first toured the Convent of Santa Anna. The community itself is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of this site, and it is probably the most beautifully restored convent we have encountered, and we have seen more than a few! I’m not given to flights of fancy, being more of a linear thinker, and one that wants things to make sense but there is something about these convents or cathedrals that speaks to me and I either feel greatly peaceful or tremendous unrest, anxious and can’t wait to get out. Not predictable in any way.

This convent, built in the 1600's, obviously gave me a great sense of peace. I could have sat in reflection for some time, just looking at the ancient olive trees in the garden.

This convent, built in the 1600’s, obviously gave me a great sense of peace. I could have sat in reflection for some time, just looking at the ancient olive trees in the garden.

Interior courtyard of the former convent, it is easy to imagine the murmurs of voices past in here.

Interior courtyard of the former convent, it is easy to imagine the murmurs of voices past in here.

Typical comida (or kitchen) from days past - love all the pottery and cooking implements.

Typical comida (or kitchen) from days past – love all the pottery and cooking implements.

From the convent, we wandered through the St. Francis of Assisi Church, surrounded by the ancient olive trees (more than 500 years old).

The grounds are beautifully kept, so well maintained and filled with olive trees.

The grounds are beautifully kept, so well maintained and filled with olive trees.

I'm not sure whether it is because worshippers raise their eyes to the heavens when in the building or not, but all cathedrals have such beautiful hand painted ceilings.

I’m not sure whether it is because worshippers raise their eyes to the heavens when in the building or not, but all cathedrals have such beautiful hand painted ceilings.

To this day they still ring this church bell in call to service.

To this day they still ring this church bell in call to service.

In the courtyard we were instructed to look to the corner of the structure and we would find a master of ceramica (or pottery) in the traditional methods of Michoacan. We did indeed find his rickety studio, part of the original structure built in the 1600’s, and he is still creating the most beautiful pieces of art.

Ceramica Tzintzuntzan

the master himself, at work in the same manner they have been doing for years

the master himself, at work in the same manner they have been doing for years

From lumps of raw clay brought in from the surrounding areas, he creates this workable clay.

From lumps of raw clay brought in from the surrounding areas, he creates this workable clay.

His oven - built over 30 years ago.

His oven – built over 30 years ago.

Tzintzuntzan has an archeological site also (honestly, I often think that every mound in Mexico is probably hiding a ruin of some sort!!) This one wasn’t very large but since we needed a walk, we hiked up the hill to view it. First time we have seen one like this – kind of a long straight stretch with rounded fingers coming out from it. Set on the hillside overlooking Lake Patzcuaro it would have been quite a beautiful spot.

Photo of an aerial view of the structure at Tzintzuntzan.

Photo of an aerial view of the structure at Tzintzuntzan.

Typical indigenous fishing family in dugout canoe.

Typical indigenous fishing family in dugout canoe.

It is easy to see why they chose this site.

It is easy to see why they chose this site.

Every region is specific for their handicrafts, and often when you see something in one spot, that is the ONLY place you will see it!

Every region is specific for their handicrafts, and often when you see something in one spot, that is the ONLY place you will see it!

Stay tuned for Morelia!

Uruapan 2015 Jan 25

Pronounced ….. “oo rah pan” …. We took a bus from Zihuatenajo here yesterday morning, and checked into Hotel Mi Solar, a beautiful old hotel built in the early 1940’s to accommodate all the tourists flooding into town to view the site of the newly erupted Volcan Paricutin.

Entry of Hotel Mi Solar

Entry of Hotel Mi Solar

Our beautiful carved headboard

Our beautiful carved headboard

Cozy seating area right outside our room

Cozy seating area right outside our room

Uruapan has a couple of other qualities that make it worth a visit – namely the location of the primary avocado growing! Lining the roads are avocado orchards (groves??) everywhere you look. Some of the trees are so massive I don’t understand how they harvest them.

The next big claim to fame here is Parque Nacional Barranca del Cupatizio – an absolutely enormous natural park in the midst of the city. Waterfalls cascade over boulders and down hillsides in an amazing array of waterfalls. They have also constructed many areas for water falls to allow different paths and it is so beautiful. Very lush and jungle like in the park, many cobbled paths to walk along with a multitude of birds and butterflies. We spent about an hour wandering around and just loved it.

Beautiful water, cascading everywhere

Beautiful water, cascading everywhere

It felt like walking through a jungle along these wide cobbled pathways - so beautiful - very difficult to imagine a big city outside the walls of the park

It felt like walking through a jungle along these wide cobbled pathways – so beautiful – very difficult to imagine a big city outside the walls of the park

El Parque National Uruapan

Kathy @ el Parque National

This is definitely a poor area of Mexico – we have never seen such an amount of graffiti, and vacant buildings just waiting to crumble. Yesterday we did spot a couple of Gringos – but not today. I think few venture into this region.

Today we hopped onto a bus again, to go tour the area of the volcano. This is actually the only known volcano to have erupted while being witnessed. Some poor guy was going about his business in 1943 – just tilling his field (by hand of course) and a bit of his field started to quake, spit bits of fire and steam. He tried to put it out himself but soon realized the futility of it as it just kept growing. Thankfully he alerted the residents of the village and once they realized what was happening, and that they couldn’t control it – the village and the next village both evacuated with haste, taking all their belongings. The volcano erupted for 9 years, and within the first year grew to a height of 410 meters. During this time the lava flow completely obliterated both villages and left only the upper portion of a church uncovered.

After the bus trip, and the long walk to the base of the climb, I was pretty lucky to find some banos ….

After the bus trip, and the long walk to the base of the climb, I was pretty lucky to find some banos ….

Hmmmmm … was I lucky to have found banos …??

Hmmmmm … was I lucky to have found banos …??

Lava rock all around the church, the lower levels completely submerged but this upper portion remained - with the altar intact inside

Lava rock all around the church, the lower levels completely submerged but this upper portion remained – with the altar intact inside

Climbing up the lava rock …. up up up

Climbing up the lava rock …. up up up

DSC01371

The town of Angahuan is the closest to the church and where we went to go tour the area. As soon as we got off the bus we were met by a couple of caballeros (cowboys) with horses trying to talk us into taking a tour. Somehow the idea of a minimum of 6 hours on horseback did not appeal to either of us. A person just needs to be conditioned for riding in order to do that – particularly given that those saddles may be polished enough to look like leather but they are in fact wood!

Horses all over town

Horses all over town

Eventually one guy talked us into letting him guide us for 150 pesos. I am not sure we really needed him, we could have found our way on our own, but he did speak some English and it is always interesting to learn about a village. This village of 12,000 still speaks their native indian language, along with spanish. We thought Uruapan was poor, but this is really a poor village. We weren’t sure if it was prosperous at one time because there seemed to be evidence of larger buildings. All dirt streets or cobblestone, most people get around by old trucks or horseback. Women and children walk everywhere, with all the women still dressed in the traditional fashion, which is very colourful and elaborate. Needless to say I did try to get some photos, but it just isn’t easy to do when in stealth mode.

typical street in Angahuan

typical street in Angahuan

Angahuan street

We went into one village home - hard to see across the room with wood used for heat as well as cooking and poor ventilation - blue corn hanging everywhere to dry.

We went into one village home – hard to see across the room with wood used for heat as well as cooking and poor ventilation – blue corn hanging everywhere to dry.

Jesus, our guide, took us on the 1 hour hike to the base of the lava, over a wide path that manages either trucks, horses or the odd walker (and believe me we were considered odd). The path may be wide but it sure wasn’t easy. I couldn’t decide if it was tougher trying to walk on the lava stone cobblestones which were very jagged and uneven or the lava sand that was literally like walking on a black sandy beach either up or down hill. We made our way through that to the area where you can see the church as it remains. Apparently the lava stopped right at the altar! It was quite amazing to see – and you can see the top of the volcanoes right behind the churches. Eventually there were 2 volcanoes erupting, one spewing lava and one spewing ash.

After making our way down to the base we had a blue corn gordita, which was delicious and then started our hike back to the village.

Maria, making us gorditas from blue corn flour - traditional methods and traditional clothing used in this village.

Maria, making us gorditas from blue corn flour – traditional methods and traditional clothing used in this village.

Quite the stove set up Maria has ….. and no cutting board, just cut everything right into her hand and then the pot.

Quite the stove set up Maria has ….. and no cutting board, just cut everything right into her hand and then the pot.

Blue corn gorditas stuffed with potato and chorizo

Blue corn gorditas stuffed with potato and chorizo

As we got through the village and close to the highway we saw the bus pull away ….. meaning just sitting there to wait for the next bus and that is always a questionable idea. Within minutes a collectivo came along – a van type bus that people just pile in and out of. We were able to fit in, and thus began our most harrowing drive of this trip ….. speed limits being mere suggestions and all of this over crazy winding roads. At one point he even moved over to the right (in a 40k zone) in order to go PAST 2 police trucks at 80 k!! Before we knew it, the little adorable snotty nosed sleeping 2 year old girl in the seat next to mine started doing a familiar sounding cough ….. obviously the next step was listening to her vomit. Grant convinced the guys up front to open the window and for the rest of the trip to town I practiced “mind over matter” in an effort to not do the same. I can handle all sorts of crap, but that is not one of them. I was afraid the guy behind the little girl might start next as he started to do that kind of cough thing but he held onto it.

Once we were out of the van I was so happy to be walking – stepped into the first bodega and bought a bag of lime chips and then we headed to a tea shop for a bracing cup of manzanillo tea. Whew.

Tomorrow we are headed for Patzcuaro, and staying at an AirBNB place where hopefully I can do a little cooking and we can get our clothes laundered as well.

Hasta la vista