Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pyramids of San Felipe Los Alzati

After leaving Tlal, we headed south to towards the little village of San Felipe Los Alzati, just north of Zitacuaro. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might catch a glimpse of well known cook book author, Diana Kennedy, who lives in the region.

About 2 kilometres outside the village we reach the ruins. Entering from the rear, you pass a number of petroglyphs that are displayed along a pathway leading to stone steps.

Stairway to .......

After climbing the stairs you, you enter between 2 structures
Now, it is hard to get a sense of scale in this picture, but trust me, it's BIG!
Climbing to the top you get a breath taking view of the valley. I don't think there is anywhere else in the world with as many shades of green as the Michoacan countryside in the summer.

Valley View

To the right of the picture above, you can see some of the steps for the other pyramid. There is a sort of plaza between the two. It gives the impression of being the base where the pyramids were built

The Base?

No, there's more!

But, if you look over the edge, you see that this is just a platform on a much bigger structure, that is only partially restored. I can only imagine what it would look like, with the entire site restored. Hopeful that will happen soon.

Now I am in a "ruins" mood, So in the next month or so, I will make sure I do postings on the sites that are a little closer to home. There are 3 of them within about 25 kilometres of Patzcauro, as the crow flies. So, keep watching!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tlalpujahua- Say That Fast Five Times!

Just a short drive from "Round Town" is the village of Tlalpujahua.

I will not try to tell you how to pronounce it. I think I now have it down pretty good, but it has taken some time. I think that the pronunciation is like the concept of "absolute zero" , something you can approach but is impossible to reach.

Once a great mining town, a massive landslide (and slag heap slide) covered half the town.
To this day you can visit the church what was buried by the slide. Okay, you can visit the steeple, the rest is still underground. I took more pictures of the church but through a technical error (that was entirely my fault and sadly not the only one of the day) most were not usable. Good! That will give me an excuse to go do some more!

A Church in the Basement???

The town is now know for its cantera (stone carving), Christmas bulbs and ceramics.

Sadly we got there mid week, and SO many things seemed to be closed. Which will give me yet another excuse to return. We took some time and looked at some of the cut stone that was available there as we are planning a patio in the back. Prices there there close to half the cost of what I have priced around here in Patzcuaro.

This is a very charming village.. It, like Patzcuaro, has been designated a "Pueblo Magico"
Walking through the town you find cobbled streets, winding stairways, large town square with children playing.

For those of you who are geekie science fiction fans like me, here is a little trivia tidbit for you.
Frank Herbert, for a time lived in Tlalpujahua. If that name is not familiar with you he is the author of the Dune series, one of the best selling sci-fi books ever. What Lord Of The Rings is to fantasy writing, Dune is to sci-fi. The town is mentioned in his biography, DREAMER OF DUNE.

Tlal is also conveniently located near the butterfly sanctuaries (Chincua and Rosario) . So we are planning on staying there and doing an overnight from Patzcuaro so we can be at the sanctuaries first thing in the morning. So, as we had extra time, we thought we would check out one of the hotels we had heard good things about. We popped into El Mineral Hotel, looks cute and comfy, but the rooms sizes range from claustrophobic to very comfortable so have a look before you book.


Warm and Roomy!

Many people who go to see the butterflies stay at Angangueo. We drove through that town as we continued our trip. It did not seem to have a great deal of charm or amenities for visitors. Perhaps if you have been there you can correct me on that.

Next stop, ancient ruins!


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