When I take a vacation in México I almost never go to big cities or tourist beaches where almost everything is set to attract visitors from abroad, especially those from the United States. These places show a beautiful and well manicured México where foreigners can feel comfortable and safe. The shops and restaurants are equipped to cater to these visitors. English is spoken and exclusive products are sold to appeal to visitors from abroad. The typical food is prepared in more modern forms and bottled drinking water is sold to invite visitors to eat and drink without fear of contracting stomach infections. This is all very fine but I prefer to go to rustic and picturesque small towns and to visit cities with beautiful architecture and historical heritage. Places where I can see the daily life of the Mexican people and learn more about our culture, customs, traditions and, of course, food.
A few days ago I visited the beautiful city of Morelia, the state capital of Michoacán. A city rich in history and with beautiful architecture. Some of the most important people in the Mexican War of Independence, were born or lived in this city; Morelos, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, Iturbide and Hidalgo.
Morelia is the city that shows the noble and distinguished style of the entire state. Its monumental buildings, reflect of the viceroyalty period, are preserved in all their grandeur and its beautiful streets lead you, almost always, to the magnificence of a colonial style construction.
The villages near Morelia are no less beautiful than the spectacular city. Beginning with the originality of their names to the picturesque landscapes and the authenticity of its inhabitants, many are referred to as "Pueblos Mágicos" (magical towns).
According to the Tourist Bureau in México (SECTUR), A "Magic Town" is a place that has symbolic attributes, legends, history, important facts, day-to-day-live; in other words, MAGIC that emanates from its social and cultural manifestations.
Cuitzeo (place of pools), Cuto (place of torture), Uriangato, Huandacareo (place known for its hot springs spas), Iramuco, Chucándiro, Tarímbaro (place of willows), Huriramba (Calzonzin Inspector, the movie, was filmed here), Compandaro, Tzurumútaro, Pátzcuaro and Janitzio (where you can eat white fish and charales like nowhere else!), Capacho, Tiripetío (place of gold) and many others that it's impossible to name them all.
Thanks to my dear friend, Lolita, I got to visit and learned the names of all these towns and she also told me the meaning of some of the names. Lolita is a retired Spanish Professor who used to teach in secondary schools in some of these towns as well as in the city. She was born and raised in Meson Nuevo, a town near Morelia, so she knows all about the city and she was so kind to show me around many wonderful places. I spent 4 days in Michoacán and, although this is not the first time I visited this state, I went to so many new places and learned so many new things that it feels like the first time. I'm sure I will be back!