Morelia (pop. 600,000) is the nearest city to Rancho Madroño, at about an hour's distance by car. It's midway between Guadalajara and Mexico city, both about 150 miles from Morelia. Brian and I visited Morelia for shopping and entertainment not found in Eronga or Pátzcuaro.

Downtown Morelia (centro) is clean and beautiful. It retains its ancient character with narrow streets, sidewalk cafes, and old buildings. The feeling is reminiscent of our trip to Oaxaca, but with less cobblestone. No skyscrapers here!

Morelia - More Volkswagen Bus TaxisMorelia - SquareMorelia - Sportsmobile - Parking on Narrow StreetMorelia - Basilica ChurchMorelia - Basilica Church

The famous murals of Alfredo Zalce in the Palacio de Gobierno, which was a seminary in the 1700's.

Morelia - Palacio de GobiernoMorelia - Murals of Alfredo Zalce in the Palacio de GobiernoMorelia - Murals of Alfredo Zalce in the Palacio de GobiernoMorelia - Murals of Alfredo Zalce in the Palacio de Gobierno

The outskirts of Morelia were very different. They reminded me of the suburbs of my home, Seattle, with strip malls, parking lots, and American chain stores like McDonalds and Subway Sandwiches, Costco and Home Depot. Imported items at these stores are very expensive by Mexican standards.

Morelia - Home Depot - Parking LotMorelia - Home DepotMorelia - Home Depot - BrianMorelia - Costco - Kirkland Signature - Deli with Sushi

I tried a fresh Guava juice smoothie served up in baggie with a straw.

Morelia - Juice BarMorelia - Guyaba Juice in Baggie - Geoff

Brian's apartment in Morelia. The previous tenants had made some efforts to turn it into a bar, so the place was ideal for hosting parties.

Morelia - Brian's Apartment - SportsmobileMorelia - Brian's ApartmentMorelia - Brian's ApartmentMorelia - Brian's Apartment - Roof

Market Day in Morelia was a hodge-podge of little booths selling all kinds of cheap items, from used house wares and clothing to pirate copies of music and computer software. For lunch we had fresh empanadas, fried up fresh from dough in under a minute.

Morelia - Market Day - BrianMorelia - Market Day - Pirate SoftwareMorelia - Market Day - Pirate SoftwareMorelia - Market Day - Pirate MP3sMorelia - Market Day - Empanadas

Mailing postcards in Morelia turned out to be surprisingly difficult. Perhaps we were misled, but we found that postal mail is not picked up from houses, and there are no mailboxes around town. To mail our postcards we had to drive to the single post office which, like on our first visit delivery attempt, was often closed.

Morelia - Post Office

Map of Morelia area, Eronga & Pátzcuaro