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26 February 2010
Dave Clingman

Our trip to Patzcuaro area was wonderful.  We looked at five properties and like two of them.  If Andrew doesn't get into the Master's Program in Vancouver next year, we just might end up buying ourselves a home in that area.

The first property we saw is about half an hour east of downtown Morelia.  It is about 3/4 of an acre of land with a basic 1 bedroom house and a beautiful garden.  And there are orchids growing in all the trees around the house, including several orchids right outside the door.  There are a few other houses in the 16-lot development, but none of them is lived in full time.  They are all for weekend getaways.  So, if we move there, we'd have the area pretty much all to ourselves most of the time.  It's in between two national forest parks, and at the very top of a major river catchment heading to the ocean, so it's very green with waterfalls and rocky mountain ridges.  There is a
youtube video that shows that specific house and its land and views.

What we consider the second property is actually a subdivision with several possible lots that overlook Patzcuaro and the lake, called
Villas del Sol.  It is an amazing view.  It would be a steep but short walk to get into downtown.  There is a language school in Patzcuaro which pays the same as Andrew makes at Mundo Bilingue.

We also looked at properties outside Patzcuaro and in Zirahuen.  None of these properties piqued our interest, though the lake at Zirahuen is really quite nice, not nearly as polluted as Patzcuaro Lake.

Our first night we stayed at a
CouchSurfing host's house in Morelia, and our second night was with a CouchSurfer in Uruapan.  That second night, though, was not quite as restful as the first, with the people out partying most of the night and coming home late and having to sleep on a bed that was broken, located right under a window that was broken and let in the cold all night.

So, Sunday, instead of staying with that CS host as we had planned, we drove back to Patzcuaro to see if we could find an inexpensive hotel.  As we drove into town, we stopped at a place that seemed to be a hotel to inquire as to the price.  The people must have read our minds, since we had decided to find a place for $350 pesos (slightly less than $30.00 US).  That was exactly the price they gave us.  But it turned out that where we had stopped was actually the parking lot for the hotel, and the hotel itself is a very popular one overlooking the main plaza in Patzcuaro.

So, we drove to the hotel and had a look at the rooms.  First they showed us a standard room, and it was nice enough and very clean, as all rooms usually are in Mexico.  Next they showed us a large room with a loft and balcony overlooking the plaza.  We very much liked this, but there was luggage in this room.  We next saw a room that was rather in between the two previous ones.  Back downstairs, we found out that the large room with the balcony was taken, that they had mistakenly showed us that room.  Andrew asked if there was another room similar to it.  After a bit of discussion, they took us back upstairs to an ever larger room, what they call a "junior suite", which had a loft and balcony and also had a fireplace (with firewood) and a larger bathroom with a tub.  We asked how much this cost, and they gave it to us for the same $350 pesos!  This room normally rents for over a thousand pesos a night.  We took it for two nights.

Between Uruapan and our return to Patzcuaro, we drove to see the
Paricutin Volcano and the church buried by the lava.  It is quite impressive.  Most people either walk (about 45 minutes each way to the church) or rent and ride horses (about seven hours round trip to the church and volcano, $150 pesos), but we drove our little car over the horribly rough road.  After hiking to the church and back, we ate lunch there at the parking lot, quesidillas (cheese melted in tortillas, very yummy, my favorite food here in Mexico) and sodas, $44 pesos (about $3.40 US) for both of us.

In Patzcuaro itself, we walked around town, checked out some stores, ate some very yummy dinners and lunches for $60 to $70 pesos for three courses ($4.60 to $5.40 US each).  We drove up the hill to view the properties again.  And we simply relaxed and enjoyed our very large comfortable room.  Mela especially liked the large tile floors, because her toys will roll all over the place when she chases them and bumps into them while trying to pick them up.

We also rode the boat over to
Janitzio Island and hiked up the hill to the famous statue of Morelos.  Unfortunately, we arrived with the last boat of the day, and the statue itself was closed and locked up, so that we could not climb up inside of him.  But we got to walk around him and enjoy the view of the lake and mountains.

It took us just twelve minutes to hike from the boat landing to the statue.  We were concerned about missing the boat, which the captain told us would depart in an hour, "mas o menos" (more or less).  We were worried about the "or less" part, not wanting to miss the boat and being stuck on the island for the night.  So we hurried up the hill and then meandered back down.  As we arrived back at the boat docks about twenty minutes before the hour was up, a different boat was departing.  So, we caught that boat back to the mainland.  Yes, they don't mind which boat you take to return.  The cost was $40 pesos ($3.00 US) each.  The admission to go up inside the statue is $6 pesos (about forty US cents) each, but as I said, it was closed when we arrived.

Now it is back home and back to work.  I've picked up two more website clients, one back in California and one here in Guadalajara.  The GDL client actually called me while we were in Patzcuaro viewing the properties we like up on the hill overlooking town.

Between classes and other studies and research, Andrew is updating our website to show some of
the photos from our trip.

Read update 18 Februrary 2010

Read update 3 March 2010

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