Our night in the car park of the ruins at Tzintzuntzan passed relatively peacefully. The farmer came for his cows at 4.00 am. I was vaguely aware of them passing, but they were pretty quiet.
We planned to be packed up by 9.00 am and to visit the ruins before heading off. Most of us were ready. Dennis was still fine tuning his blog. The gates were a bit late opening, but the 5 of us set off to walk around the site. Dennis caught us up later. Sadly the man with the museum keys had not turned up. If we could have visited the museum, it would have given us an insight into Tarascan history.
The site consists of 5 heavily reconstructed semicircular stone temple bases. There were wooden structures on top. They were known as Yacatas and are all that is left of the mighty Tarascan empire. From the ruins there is a lovely view over Lake Patzcauro and the town of Tzintzuntzan. Music wafted up from the town on the breeze.
We set off, heading for Morelia, driving through the town of Tzintzuntzan. A craft market is held on Saturday and Sunday. The town was buzzing and ceramics, weaving, baskets and all sorts were on display. A lovely lively little town.
Tzintzuntzan is the hometown of a famous local potter, Manuel Morales. His work is colourful and intricate and is sold in galleries throughout Mexico and the USA. He has a studio in town where he gives pottery classes and demonstrations.
Tzintzuntzan was the first base of Bishop Vasco de Quiroga, a respected judge and cleric. He was sent by Mexico City to clear up the mess left by the vicious conquistador, Nuno de Guzman. Guzman treated the local population brutally and was recalled to Spain by the colonial government, where he was arrested and jailed.
The Bishop was a very enlightened man and introduced his humanitarian ideals by establishing village cooperatives.
As we approached Morelia, a sprawl of little box type houses, all identical ran up and down the hillsides. The roads were flanked with retail opportunities of every description. Stopping at a Costco, we were looking for a cool box to use until we can get the fridge repaired or find a replacement. Sarah and Tim were restocking with supplies. We couldn’t find anything suitable, so hot footed it to the neighbouring Mega store. Here we found the perfect sized little cool box which fits inside the fridge and doesn’t take up any more space in Poki.
Soon it started to rain and we started climbing up towards Angangueo and the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Monarch butterflies attached to lamp posts clearly showed us the route. It was a steep climb and by the time we reached the sanctuary we were at 3355 meters.
Being a Sunday the car park was very busy, but at 5.00 pm people were leaving. We paid the entrance fee to park and were advised we could camp overnight. Finding a flat spot, though, was a bit of a challenge. Eventually in the cold and damp we got set up. The temperature had dropped dramatically and was not much above freezing. Such a difference from the coast. The car park quickly emptied, leaving us alone, but we soon found ourselves surrounded by cows.
We we’re lovely and warm, once my feet thawed out, snuggled up in Poki. Sleep was difficult though with continuous lightening and thunder rolling around.