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Tdiddy12 Dec 26th, 2019 11:28 AM

Sunday - Morelia Bound
We wanted to spend Christmas somewhere other than Mexico City. As I remember we looked at Puebla and Morelia and chose Morelia. Clean get away from the hotel, Uber to the Poniente bus station and it is busy! Check in to ETN, they have a little waiting room with chairs and a bathroom like an airport. Very clean, everyone is excited to go home for Christmas?
Our bus shows up, I know many of you have taken these buses, first time for us. It has the circumference of a bus, but it is totally sleek. what a bus might look like if it was made by Apple, except it’s black and you can’t see in, very Darth Vadarish, Luis, Feel the Force! Load up and they are on the road, no time wasted. I have seat #1 right in front on second deck. Great view. Travel through the city, very foggy today, then as we hit the hills there are pine trees! I’m in Lake Tahoe. A lot of different types of landscapes between CDMX and Morelia, beautiful trip.

Get to Morelia bus station. They have a similar system to the CDMX airport, you buy a ticket and get in line for a taxi. We had read it was 60 pesos, but due to the increased tourism and good economy the price has soured to...65 pesos. The taxi at the front of line was the oldest car I’ve seen. It was a Datsun, which is a Nissan from 30 years ago. The guy is yelling “Aqui, aqui”. We load up, get in, and there isn’t a single gauge working in this car. There was a hole where the radio was supposed to be, with a Bible in it. Let us Pray...that we get into town. The guy is off to the races, were bouncing a long, get off the freeway, checking out Morelia. The first thing that hit us, there is a ton of graffiti in this city. Too bad. Getting into the City is on one way feeder streets which are completely gridlocked. Every time we stop in a long line of cars, our driver turns the car off! We’re praying it starts each time, luckily we have a bible. Then we take a left and we are on Francisco Madera and there is our hotel. The Holy Land!

Hotel Casino Morelia right across from the Plaza de Arms. Our window opens up on the Plaza, it’s a party down there. This is home for the next five days!

MmePerdu Dec 26th, 2019 11:40 AM

Bus sounds great. I've never done a bus as I tend to go 1 place & hang out. But not yet Morelia so I'm interested in this one!

baldone Dec 26th, 2019 11:42 AM

The restaurant at Casino is one of our favorites. Lu, I think it's called. And the bar and restaurant at the Hotel Juaninos has a great view.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 03:53 AM

Yes, the restaurant at the a Casino is Lu and it is excellent. It is really the whole package, presentation, quality and big portions. Right now it is hopping because of the season. Packed everyday.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 04:22 AM

First Full Day - Morelia
I get up early for a walk but it is actually too early because it is still dark. Cathedral is all lit up though. How to compare CDMX with Morelia, well you can’ let me try! First of all we stayed / are staying on the “town square” in each location. The Zocalo is a giant flat space and Plaza de Armas is filled with trees, benches, pigeons and Christmas decorations. The Cathedral in Morelia opens up on the street not facing the square which seems odd, but I don’t know the history of that. Also the Plaza de Arms is maybe 1/8 the size of the Zocalo. I prefer the Plaza de Armas because it feels really traditional.

That’s why we came here, we wanted something more traditional and it sure is. I guess Colonial is the constantly used word. Where in Mexico City you can feel Diego Rivera and the Socialists protesting for their rights, here I’m looking for Zorro! Even though as I will learn, this is the heart of the Independence movement in 1808.

The buildings are generally two stories high. You walk around the square in the Colonades like CDMX, but there a no jewelry stores here. Restaurants, strolling musicians who seem to be on some sort of circuit, lots of hawkers. Some guys selling Pot pills! It really is charming and it feels like a lot of Mexicans come here for the holiday. In the Plaza there are a bunch of people dressed up in costumes trying to get you to go to a Leyenda. Some kind odd show. Seems to be a number of companies because they all start at different times. There’s a Horror show, Magical show, Legends show. We talk to a kid in a Dragoon costume and decide to go. We won’t have any trouble understanding this with our superior Spanish skills, why, didn’t we just say Gracias to someone! We meet at the Cathedral and follow our guy and a woman in a period costume down a bunch of streets into an old building. Each get a shot of Mezcal, nice. And we watch the show. A little dancing, puppet show, a number of short acted scenes, and we don’t understand a single word. Nary a Pero! Well we just put $10 into the local economy and there is nothing wrong with that!

Daniel_Williams Dec 27th, 2019 06:25 AM

I enjoyed hearing about your experience with a Leyenda tour. My Spanish is good enough that I recently did multiple archaeological site and nature tours in Mexico and Central America entirely in Spanish, no problem. But when I did a bus Leyenda tour in Zacatecas given by some young women dressed as Condesas, although it was fun, I struggled understanding. Not sure why.

crellston Dec 27th, 2019 10:07 AM

Really loved Morelia when we were there last year just before Christmas. I wished we had stayed there rather than moving on to Guadalajara. We have fond memories of a very camp Grinch who insisted we pay him for photos. A fun town.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 05:13 PM

Hey Crellston, this year there is a Grinch and a number Jokers because of the movie I imagine. Also a pretty big Batman.
I saw one of the Jokers scare the crap out of a little girl and Bat,an was no where to be found.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 05:39 PM

Christmas Eve -
The mornings are quiet here but by 11AM things are starting to pick up. As stated our room is right across the street the Plaza so we can open the door to our balcony and here all of the sounds from the Plaza De Armas. We are getting the experience without even walking our lazy buts across the street!

We do go for a walk and the Plaza is filled with families, there is a big bandstand in the middle of the park. Reminds me of the Music Man, or more appropriately El Hombre De la Musica. This is kind of what we were hoping to find. I grew up in a farm town and the idea of the County Fair was huge each summer. This isn’t exactly like that, but the concept is, entertainment for the kids, music and all kinds of food treats.

One thing we didn’t find was a procession to Church. We were thinking there might be a bigger ceremony based around the Cathedral, the Cathedral is busy but it seemed like a typical mass. I guess they don’t sing Ole Man River much in Mississippi!
We stop in to hear a little of the service, a fallen Catholic and a Lutheran, ( Catholic Lite). We don’t stay long but we notice there is baby Jesus in the manger. Guess he shows up later.

Go back to our hotel and We actually turn in to the sounds of “My Sharonna” blasting on the stereo across the street. Our room has a noise cancelling window and wooden shutters so it cancels out a lot of the frivolity, that goes on to midnight!

Tdiddy12 Dec 28th, 2019 06:51 PM

Post Script to Christmas Eve.
During the day we visited the Palacio Clavijero, not too far off the square. It is a community art center but had some amazing exhibitions. It was really eclectic for a “local” cultural center. On the first floor was a 120th anniversary to a Frenchmen named Gaumont, who created a huge film production company. Mostly French movies but apparently they produce Narcos. Also produced, I think it was called the Professional with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman at age 11. They had her costume and it was so small! On the top floor was the balcony which was covered in the coolest posters for every kind of event from around the world, a beautiful display of Kimonos and the most amazing art piece by a guy named William Kentridge called More Sweetly Play the Dance. Portions are on YouTube, very brilliant.

Which leads me to say a few words about Mexican museums and art. I’ve always said I live in a big city, LA, because if I wake up some morning and say I want to see a Monet today. I can do it, if I’m willing to pay the $20 for LACMA. Mexican museums are fantastic for the cost of a few pennies, many for free, and the quality of the Art is always colorful, innovative, sometimes provocative and often down right fun. Plus there are so many good ones. Many more to see on our travels.

MmePerdu Dec 28th, 2019 06:57 PM

"Léon: The Professional"* One of my all time favorite movies.

Tdiddy12 Dec 29th, 2019 06:32 PM

Hi Isabell080 -
Night and Day! Costa Rica is very expensive compared to Mexico. Food costs a lot in CR, not so in Mexico. I’m a former Financial Planner and Excel addict, so I keep records. Dinner in Costa Rica was hardly ever less than $50. Luckily all of our hotels had breakfast included. The other night we had a great meal in Morelia, order of Quac, Steak and Salmon with drinks and it came to about $25. Museums are super cheap here in Mexico as I stated above. We were going to go to a few museums in San Jose and they were all $15. Lodging is a also cheaper in Mexico.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many reasons to go to Costa Rica. Saving a buck isn’t one of them.

Tdiddy12 Dec 29th, 2019 06:59 PM

Christmas Day - The Search for Bananas
Our Christmas present is sleeping in until 9:30AM. Probably because we stayed up watching the Huntsman and the Winter Storm in Spanish and listening to the crowd in the Plaza. My stomach is still acting up so I require bananas. We have been given a couple of options, directions to a store, directions to the Mercado Independencia or look for three wise men. Now anyone who has taken Mexico 101 knows what a Mercado is. We have somehow gotten this all mixed up and are looking for a Store called Mercado Independencia. I can hear some of you laughing as I am typing! After walking 11 blocks we end up in this big market which is starting to close for Christmas, find bananas, a whole bunch for 17 pesos and are wondering why we couldn’t find the store. It ‘s right there on Google maps. Suddenly a light bulb comes on in both of our heads, a dim lightbulb, that we were just in the Mercado! Sad but true.

Back to the hotel, call all of our family and friends on FaceTime, so we can show them the Plaza. See how scary Mexico is, there’s a Grinch and two Jokers!

What a joyous Christmas it is!

Tdiddy12 Dec 30th, 2019 11:57 AM

Dec. 26 - Ruta 5
When you get to Morelia, see if you can find the tourist map with 5 Rutas. They are color coded and each take you a part of town generally a rectangle with each taking maybe an hour. Great way to see all the sights. Some overlapping. Today we are taking the last Ruta 5 which goes to the aqueduct. Very nice walk, make sure you go down the Calzado Fray a San Miguel. It’s a tree lined pedestrian street that ends at the square with a huge statue of Jose Maria Morales. It’s to the left of the busy street that the aqueduct runs along. Just around the corner is the Museo Alfredo Zalce. They had an exhibition, Francisco Onate, what a great artist in an old mansion, maybe Zalce’s old house not sure.

Had dinner at La Conspirician 1809 which was the house of Mariano Michelena, who was a leader in the Revolution. He also brought coffee to Mexico from Arabia! So this is the other cool thing about Mexico, we are having a fantastic dinner in the house of a former National leader, it’s like your at Mt. Vernon, and they waiter is going , “ yeah, yeah George Washington lived here, did you want pasta or the fish?” OK, it’s not quite like that but still really cool.

Tomorrow we head back to CDMX city for two nights in Coyoacan!

Tdiddy12 Dec 31st, 2019 04:22 AM

Hey Baldone, I forgot to mention we bought a kilo of Coffee and some chocolate for friends in Oaxaca at La Lucha! Also the Rutas are walking tours, wasn’t real clear on that.

Tdiddy12 Dec 31st, 2019 05:04 AM

Morelia to Coyoacan -
Pretty early morning, breakfast, Uber to-bus station, four hours on the bus back to CDMX. I looked up a post I did a year ago, and Baldone recommended booking the bus early to get the two front top seats which we did and it was great. Back in CDMX and taxi, for it seems a long way. Probably only 40 minutes, 5:00PM on Friday!

Arrive at the designated address on Centenario. Casa Molcajete is an apartment in a building with no markings and a big steel door. Haven’t we all been there, we’ve been communicating with the owner but left out that crucial piece of info, how do we get in? So I simply knocked and a guy opened the door and said last apartment on the left.

Our last two weeks in Mexico were a necessary build up to Coyoacan. If we had visited here first, CDMX would have seemed too big and impersonal, Morelia would have been too quaint, and finally, we might have never left Coyoacan!
We are a block from the Jardin Centenario and it is alive. Same stuff as you might see in Morelia, Christmas lights, couples, families but it is some how more happening. The street performers aren’t you average clown type, they have an edge. The restaurants spill out onto the sidewalks and there are more of them. We eat at an old restaurant on a side street El Morral, we have a fine meal, not gourmet and watch an endless stream of Vincente Fernandez videos, old time Mexican music. Only have two days here but the first day has been a trip.

Tdiddy12 Dec 31st, 2019 05:21 AM

Coyoacan Day Two
Our Apartment is in an old building with maybe 6 or 7 other apartments. We found this on It’s right down our alley, inexpensive but unique. Mauricio, our host is a violin player and we don’t meet Monica, his partner/wife?, but they both must be artists because this place is old but every little touch is done by an eye toward class. Small kitchen, bedroom, a little outside garden, that if we were here longer morning coffee would be there every morning.

As it is we have a walking tour. We are to meet up at the Viveros/ Coyoacan Metro station. Google for directions, all routes lead around this big blank square, that simply says Viveros Coyoacan. What is this square? Turns out it is wonderful park with a grid system of trails and a pathway around the perimeter where people run. We cut straight across and it takes us to the Metro. I mention this because in all of my research, I’ve never read about this park. I think because there is no church, no Jardin or any historical reference.

That being said, Coyoacan is a historical treasure, our walking tour is a joy. We have a young Mexican woman, Carmina, and she is great guide. I won’t attempt to summarize but from Hernan Cortes to Frida Kahlo and Trotsky, this area is a must visit when in Mexico City.

Dinner tonite at Los Danzantes on the Jardin Centenario. Great food and service. We only have a half day left.

Tdiddy12 Jan 2nd, 2020 02:22 AM

Oaxaca - The $5 Lesson
Our flight to Oaxaca doesn’t leave until about 3:00PM, so that gives us plenty of time to pack and walk to breakfast. Mauricio, our host has recommended Alvere Cafe, about four blocks away. It is excellent. This is why I want to come back to Coyoacan, it’s a small cafe on a corner, obviously filled with locals, it’s bustling but out of the fray. So you can have excitement and music and lights in Coyoacan, if you want them, but walk just a couple of extra blocks and you have a very neighborhood feeling in a quiet section of town.

We are traveling with I Pads. I check in for our Aeromar flight and we get the boarding passes electronically, sent to my phone. I’m not a fan of these, but I don’t have a printer. Funny thing about this trip, since we are checking bags, neither Alaskan or Interjet would issue us boarding passes. Get an Uber, ezy peezy, and he drops us off at Terminal One. We need to be at Terminal Two! Which if I had a paper boarding pass, I probably would have read that on the pass, but I don’t. Here’s the $5 lesson. I stop a young porter walking by, how do I get to Terminal 2? Well, you can take a taxi, which is very hard, ( according to him). Or you can take the Tram. Do you have your paper boarding pass? No, OK you can’t take the Tram without one. But for a nice tip, I can get you past security to board the Tram.We think a second and say OK. He takes us to the train, shows us the sign that says! You need a Paper boarding pass for the Tram, talks to the unsmiling security guard, we pass through security and I give him a $100 pesos. Hence the $5 lesson, always read your boarding pass, electronic or paper. It says very clearly on my boarding pass, Terminal 2.

Second lesson! At our apartment, I opened up my boarding pass but I didn’t open up my wife’s pass. We get to our check in, no problem. I show the check in person my electronic boarding pass and he takes our luggage. We get to Security, I can’t open Elizabeth’s boarding pass, clocking, clocking. I run back to check in, luckily not that busy and the attendant gives me two paper boarding passes. All is well.

Smooth flight on. Prop plane with about 40 passengers. Picked up at the airport by pre-arranged car and off to our AirBnb. We generally stay in cheaper places, but we are in Oaxaca for two weeks. Wife finds us an amazing apartment on the edge of Reforma. The owner’s nephew meets us, takes up the elevator to the 7th floor and there is Oaxaca spread out before us. Four giant sliding glass doors, 7th floor looking south. The apartment is super modern. Giant, bigger than our house, great kitchen with island, 3 bathrooms. We’ve been on the road for 9 weeks now and we are going to do some serious relaxing here. Grab 1/2 kilo of carnitas at a small restaurant around the corner. Wife says do we really need a pound of Carnitas, yes! We finish about a third of it, take it home. Go to the grocery store and we are set.

Welcome to Oaxaca!

Tdiddy12 Jan 2nd, 2020 06:07 AM

Oaxaca- Day 2 Dec. 30th
I start the day by taking a good long walk. Find El Llano, nice park not too far from us. It’s Monday so many things are closed on the museum front but we have decided to take a down day. After 9 weeks and 9 different places we are very happy with our current abode. Even though we are in Oaxaca, there is nothing remotely quaint or traditional about this place. We are in Manhattan! But it is only. $3 cab ride to all the splendors of Oaxaca, but we are not taking part of it yet.

Wife has an appointment tonite with her friend Bill, so we go downtown. It’s close, on the map, to Benito Juarez market so we ask to be dropped off there. Maybe a mistake? It is so busy, we look for a place to eat around the market. Without going into it. Find a little place with a board outside announcing all the specials. Lot’s of Pollo! OK,so we go in, order chicken, and the waiter says, we are all out of chicken! Have tacos I instead.

I walk over to the Zócalo, it’s packed with people. One thing here I’ve never seen in Mexico so far, here in front of the Cathedral, they have all of these sets,, fake camels, donkeys and “actors” dressed up as the Wise Men, then they assemble families around these sets, abuela up on a donkey, someone holding the baby, they take a picture, then print a calendar, with the picture as the cover page while the people wait! It is such a crazy combination of old and new.

After wife is done, we head back to “Manhattan”. Wife says I’m not feeling Oaxaca yet, but we will. We are still on that internal forward motion of traveling and need to unwind. We start by looking at the skyline from our penthouse.

Tdiddy12 Jan 2nd, 2020 06:10 AM

Re-read last post, by saying there is nothing remotely quaint, I am referring to our Apartment not Oaxaca!!

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