Monday, June 11, 2007

Patzcuaro by Train

Through Mexico by Train

By Barbara Belejack; based in Mexico City.
Published: December 2, 1990

BY all accounts the golden age of the Mexican railway was a split second about 40 years go, when everything was new and crisp -- from the crease in the porter's gray trousers to the tablecloths in the elegant dining cars. It was a time when clocks in the capital could be set to the whistles of departing trains, and a ticket on an overnight train guaranteed what the journalist Guillermo Garcia Oropeza described as the closest you can come to "an epic experience."

Today Mexican trains run on a combination of nostalgia and the promise that somehow, someday, the ambitious series of six-year plans that every administration dutifully produces will make a difference in passenger service. Although the golden age has come and gone, you can do far worse than to set your watch to and catch a ride on the Division del Norte as it pulls out of Mexico City's Buenavista Station at precisely 8 P.M., en route to Ciudad Juarez -- 1,230 miles and 36 hours away.

Since 1986 the Mexican Government has been attempting to reorganize and improve its long-distance passenger service. The Division del Norte is the most recent addition to the Servicio de Estrella (Star Service) trains of Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Mexico (F.N.M.), the Government-operated railway. The inauguration of Star Service trains featuring renovated vintage American Pullman sleeping cars coincided with years of economic crisis. Not surprisingly, train travel has increased in popularity with middle-class passengers who otherwise would have opted for a plane ticket for a weekend getaway.

In addition to the Division del Norte, the current lineup of overnight sleepers includes service to Guadalajara (on Tapatio), Morelia, Patzcuaro and Uruapan in the state of Michoacan (Purepecha), Oaxaca (Oaxaqueno), Veracruz (Jarocho) and Monterrey (Regiomontano), with continuing service to Nuevo Laredo and connecting service to Matamoros. These trains also feature new cars with reserved first-class reclining seats (primera especial).
Full 1990 New York Times Article

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Jaracuaro Hats

Jaracuaro is just outside Patzcuaro along the lake. It sits on a narrow penisula that used to be an island. The streets are very narrow and unless you have to drive to the far end of town, it's better to park near the store with the welcome sign and walk in. Jaracuaro is only about 20 blocks long and a few blocks wide.

The hat makers shop is just 2 blocks along the main street on the right. A very friendly family and they are willing to give you a tour of the shop and showroom.

Entrance to town

Hat molds waiting

Unformed straw hats waiting

Ironing a hat into shape

This guy does rims and bands between jokes

Some of the products

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Volcan Paricutin

From Las Cabañas and Angahuan - Michoacan

Since we were in the area, had not all seen it and I had no pictures of Angahuan - we made the drive. A few fotos are from a previous trip just to fill in. This was our first stop up from Uruapan and at 10am no tourists had arrived so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We got the usual sales pitch to ride horses to the church but weren't interested. I felt sorry for the guys that follow you from the entrance of town to Las Cabanas - but what can you do. They don't take NO for an answer.

Paricutin from Las Cabanas

Las Cabanas Lookout

Angahuan Plaza

Angahuan Church

Girls playing

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The potters of Cocucho

I've seen Cocucho pottery in the past in Patzcuaro and heard that they are very cheap if you visit the town - but I was unsure where it was or how hard to get to. The road is between the Paricutin turnoff and Paracho and paved all the way. Very pretty country. There are a few stores on the plaza that sell the pottery but more interesting are the little factories that make them - and sell as well. The place we found was on one corner of the plaza and the family showed us the whole process more or less.

Coming into Cocucho

Cocucho Church

Cocucho Plaza

The family of potters

The potter at work

Some of the pots they make

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Uruapan and Paracho

After driving up from Playa Azul we had time to visit the National Park, see much of downtown and to visit the 'Telares de Michoacan' which is housed in an old cotton mill a few blocks from the center of town. The next day we went up to Paricutin, Cocucho and Paracho before continuing on to Patzcuaro. That sounds like a lot of driving but was pretty easy to do in a day. Paracho is building a new Mercado so all the food stalls are on the plaza making what is normally a quiet town quite lively. This was the first time the guitar Museum was open when I've been there.

Casa de Las Artesanias

Telares de Michoacan

Hotel Progresso

Uruapan Plaza

Paracho Plaza

Guitar Museum Paracho
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Patzcuaro is the ex-capital of Michoacan and before that was Tzintzuntzan, a small town nearby dating to the Purhépecha empire in the 1300's. The museum in Patzcuaro is finding ruins in it's back yard that predates history and they are believed to be earlier than the history of Tzintzuntzan. The Purhépecha were one of the indigenous tribes that were not conquered by the Aztecs

Patz/Uruapan Trip 2003
Monarch Butterfly Watch
CELEP Spanish School
Ruta Don Vasco
Michoacan Net Facebook