Saturday, May 16, 2009

Yacatas and a Walk in Tzintzuntzan



About 17 kilometres from here, as the crow flies, is the village of Tzintzunzan. Overlooking the village are the ruins referred to as Las Yacatas.


museo b


As you enter and pay your fee, you are in a tiny museum, with a variety of items. The petroglyphs particularly caught my eye. I remember my grandmother showing native Indian petroglyphs in the Fraser Canyon of the Pacific northwest when I was a kid. I always wondered about the person who carved the images into the stone. That wonder stays with me today.


cleaning b

Hurry Up,  Company’s Coming!

When you get a chance to wander around the ruins, also keep an eye peeled for more petroglyphs, they are salted throughout the ruins.  While we were there, they were doing some cleaning on the front of the ruins, and some additional restoration in the back. Nice to see that things are coming along.


third treeb


The view from the end of the ruins towards the lake I found quite striking! I can only imagine what it was originally like. When the Spaniards came, they tore down many of these structures to build churches in the area.


tzin B

      The Mercado

Leaving the ruins, we go for a stroll to the Mercado, full of bright coloured pottery and an explosion of reed and straw woven items. It looks like Christmas all year round here.

Tzin market b

Christmas Year Round?

We proceed into the Olive Atrium on the grounds of the former monastery of St. Francis. These trees are well over 400 years old.  We are heading for the far right corner.olive trees B

450 Year Old Olive Trees!

Tzin Church B

Templo de la Soledad

As we near the corner, we stop to have a quick peak into the Templo de la Soledad, as we are approaching our final destination.


Capilla B

Capilla Albierta

Just before you get to Templo da la Soledad, there is a gateway. Entering you come into the Capilla Albierta.  The skies have clouded over, just in time to add some drama to the vista.

As you look around, you see 16th century painting on the walls. Ahhh, and there is what we came for. We weren't just wandering aimlessly were we? You knew I was bringing you here for a reason, right? There set in the wall, are a number of stones that seem familiar. Petroglyphs, yes these stones came from the ruins. Recycling is not a new idea here

Petrogliphs Patzcuaro

Petroglyphs Again!

Thanks for taking a walk with me today. Hey, if you are interested in more info on the The Former Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi, check out this great post by Cristina Potters of Mexico Cooks!

El Ex-Convento de San Francisco de Asís,Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán

Saturday, May 02, 2009

My Dusty Love Note

Four flowers

Four Roses, No Thorns

I have just recently spent a week with a group of young ladies from Mexico City. They live together there in an Orphanage run by two nuns. Once a year they get to escape to spend a week camping and playing at a charming little spot just south east of Morelia. So out at “Camp Connie” (sorry Connie, couldn’t resist) they get the chance to camp out in tents or cabanas and enjoy the great outdoors. Actually quite often it was both, one night a spider was found in a cabana, and everyone piles outside to join their friends in the tents, or the next night, an ant in a tent reverses the migration.


Luisa Made A New Friend.

With their primary care in Mexico City coming from two nuns, they get a lot of love, but due to staffing limits, their day to day life can seem quite regimented, as 30 girls from 4-18 can keep you quite busy. So at camp, by having a number of volunteers to do various activities with them, they get a chance to do pretty much what they want , when they want to, in a safe and fun way.


I’m Going Swimming!

I have to admit, I was not sure what to expect. Perhaps they had learned not to trust people, not to get too close, perhaps a certain melancholy fatalism. What I found was an energetic, animated, thoughtful and caring group of girls. No one was an orphan, they were a family, they were all sisters. They had a week to have fun and they were not going to waste a minute of it.


The Three Musketeers

I forgot how much energy you have at that age. Lots of activities! Long walks just chatting even seemed to be a hit!. Perhaps my Spanish is better than I think it is, as there was never a communication problem. Swimming or kayaking in the lake was always popular. A hike to the waterfall, for some splashing and pictures. I think I may have walk a hundred miles leading a horse with a fresh faced girl on the back. A few magic tricks to add a little wonderment into the day. The days were full.



I learned new card games. I learned clapping games. I learned how popular the Jonas Brother are. I learned how last week the Jonas Brother are. I learned who was planning on marrying Enrique Iglesias. I learned that these girls have never had anyone show them how to skip a rock. I learned how much fun it is to teach someone to skip a rock. I learned how much love there is in a spontaneous laugh and a ready smile. I learned how lucky I was to spend some time with these girls.

The road beside the lake had been quite dusty, as it can get here at this time of year. At the beginning of the week the old Ford was a shiny black, but by the end it was a dirty brown. Like a blank canvas, it drew the girls. On the last day it became a way for the girls to write notes to me, to let me know how they felt. Right now my dusty truck is covered with notes of affection, not one spot left blank. I am not sure it I will ever wash it again.

Dusty note B

A few kind people, spearheaded by an amazing lady by the name of Connie, hope to be able to share with you ways that you too can touch these girls lives. There is a website in the works and many adventures ahead, so please stay tuned!

If you would like to see a little more of the girls, I put a set of photos on

The Girls of Esperanza.


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