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6674 kms: Semana Santa Celebrations and a Love Motel in Morelia

Written on: Saturday March 15th, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

We arrived in the city of Morelia on Saturday afternoon and had decided to make a stop here based on a recommendation we had received from a friend back in Calgary. Not sure where we were going to stay, and exhausted from a long few days of travelling, we make a split second decision to check out the rates at a hotel on the outskirts of town. We chuckled when we saw the rates on a billboard outside: 200 pesos (20$) for 6 hours. Considering that it was 2 o?clock in the afternoon, that was not going to work. We drove another few blocks and decided to try another. Once we drove into the gated establishment, an attendant met us in the parking lot and indicated that the room would cost 300 pesos for the night. Perfect! We were directed to garage door #8. And here deserves a little explanation. From what we have observed, these ?car hotels?, i.e. hotel rooms with garages underneath are very popular. Often, the rates are for 6 hours (we lucked out to find one that charged for the night), and you can conveniently hide your car away behind a door?

The hotel room was fantastic. It was nicely covered in tile, with a big shower, extremely clean with a huge king size bed. Rob and I were very pleased with our decision, which hardly cost more than a campground.

We caught a cab into the city that evening, and were pleasantly surprised to realize that there was actually a big festival going on for Semana Santa (i.e. Saints Week), which is the week before Easter and a national holiday in Mexico. The city has so many beautiful and well preserved buildings that the historic center was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1991. The city is also famous for its ?dulces? or sweets, and so before even grabbing diner we headed to the Dulce market to try out some Mexican goodies. The fruit leathers (ates) were delicious, the milk caramel bars (Obleas) were to die for, but the chilli-covered tamarind balls; not so good. It was a weird spicy, chewy, sweet combination. However, Rob decided to keep them and later handed them out to children asking for money near the toll booth. They were very happy about the little chilli balls.

The main street in the city center was closed to traffic and filled up with people, performances and buskers. It was a really great ambiance. We sat around a large plaza and watched some musicians and indigenous dancing performances. The evening ended with a spectacular firework show in front of the cathedral.

We grabed a some footage on our camera: