Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Morelia. Mexico

This is the town of Morelia, capital of the state of Michoacan. It was founded in the 1500s and the first settlers were mainly religious orders and the Spanish nobility
It has a distinct colonial feel about it with its many avenues and plazas. This plaza was right outside our hotel.
Every plaza seemed to have a fountain. This one was in the university area and had the usual groups of students sitting around chatting.

Across the road was the Conservatorio de las Rosas, the College of Music.

It was originally built as a school for poor and orphaned girls who were taught to sing for religious celebrations. Next to the school was the convent and you can still see the stone built washing facilities for the clothes.

So ably demonstrated by our guide, Andrea.

Outside was this wonderful crocodile gargoyle.

This church, Templo de la Compania de Jesus, from the 16th cent has been home to the Public library since 1930.

The historic part of the town is a Unesco World Heritage site. Here you can see the twin towers of the cathedral built in the distinctive pink stone which is noticeable throughout the city.

Many of the hotels date back to the 17th or 18th cent and are converted haciendas, often with a roof now covering what was once the open courtyard.
The stained glass roof over the courtyard.

Walking away from the city centre we came across this 18th cent aqueduct which provided water for the city's 30 public fountains and numerous private outlets from a well 8km away. The final 1.5 km has 253 arches! The aqueduct remained in service until 1910 when a new water purification system was put in place.

This walk alongside the aqueduct takes you past the large mansions of long ago.

The walk leads you to the church of our lady of Guadelupe. Although nothing special from the outside it is quite stunning on the inside.

The interior is covered with painted clay motifs and gold leaf. The decorations were added in the 1900s. There is not one part of the walls or ceiling that has not been adorned.

Our evening meal was in the courtyard of a very plush hotel and was probably the most expensive meal we had in Mexico although by UK standards still very cheap.

The Cathedral looked even more beautiful at night.

As I said the hotel overlooked a small plaza. Just before midnight we were woken by the sounds of a brass band congregating in the square to celebrate Mardi Gras. We watched for a while but the band just kept repeating the same tune! However after a while the crowd dispersed and quiet returned once more.

Monday, 2 March 2015

El Rosario

As I mentioned in a previous post I have come to Mexico to see the Monarch butterfly migration. This annual migration begins in the northern parts of North America in the early Autumn. These Autumn born butterflies can live up to 9 months as opposed to Spring and Summer born Monarchs that live from 4-6 weeks. This special generation of butterflies then fly South to Central Mexico covering approx 300km a day. The journey takes them about a month and they then spend the winter in Mexico. In Spring they mate and start the journey to return North. However it is believed that it takes up to 5 generations before they manage to return to North America. None of the original Autumn born Monarchs survive to repeat the journey but their offspring always return to the same forests in Central Mexico.

 Today we had our own mini bus to take us to the El Rosario Sanctuary, 8 miles East of Ocampo. It made a pleasant change not to be travelling by public transport. The weather at last had changed and we had gorgeous blue skies and warm, delicious sunshine which meant the butterflies would be flying. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Horses were available to take you up to the top but 4 of us decided to walk. I hadn't felt the effects of the altitude until I started the walk. We were at about 10,000 feet and needed to get above 11,000ft so it was hard going for someone who lives at sea level. Mind you, we have been in Mexico for a week now and will have acclimatised a little.

We soon began to see the butterflies. As we walked upwards their numbers increased into the thousands - on the trees, on the ground and flying around.

One of the horses being ridden by his owner back to the beginning of the trail.

One minute they were all on the ground and then suddenly thousands of them took off into the air and we were surrounded by these beautiful creatures.

We stayed up there for quite some time taken loads and loads of photos and then sampled the local food.

This was our hotel for the next two nights. It was in a beautiful spot with views of the mountains.

The rooms were very large with an open fire which was lit for us in the evenings.

Sharing with  Our World Tuesday