Travel Stories

3…2…1…Takeoff! The First of 9 Weeks in Mexico

We were up pretty early on our departure day…well I was. Beto could pretty much sleep through anything, but when I am anticipating anything, I’m like a kid at Christmas. My mom and brother took us to the airport, where of course, we were right on time. It’s as if the Mexican and Canadian times have found their perfect balance. Not late, not too early, right on time.

Ain’t Nothin’ but a Delay Thang

We were anticipating enough time to have a coffee with my family, but with this winter weather, our flight was delayed. We were able to spend more time and sit down to a meal, thank goodness!

As I started to write this, we were sitting out on the tarmac waiting for the OK to take off. I was ready to go! We already knew we’d have a long layover in San Francisco, and while we thought we’d take some time to sightsee, we didn’t. We ordered an Uber and took it to the closest In-n-Out for burgers and shakes. I’d heard the hype, needed to verify, and meh. Y’all have never had my mom’s burgers.

We went back to the airport, I tried to get some sleep, but it would prove to be pretty difficult. There was another delay with our flight in San Francisco, but eventually, we made it to Houston and a few hours later we took off to Guadalajara.

Tired, A Little Delirious, But Finally in Mexico.

We were finally here, Beto was finally home. His parents picked us up, with plenty of hugs and smiles. It’s so amazing to have such wonderful in-laws. On our way to their house, we stopped for food at a little place on the side of the road. I was tired, but Beto ordered me a tostada with marlin fish. I have not eaten fish since I was a kid (an unfortunate witness to the gutting of a fish), and I had spent most of my adult life as a vegetarian. While I do eat meat, I still have a hard time with some things, and fish was one of them.

Food is such an important part of life in Mexico. The first bites into that tostada, I was so excited for the amazing cuisine that was still to come. Waking up to fresh juice in the morning that doesn’t cost $11 for a small bottle, to an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables whenever I could possibly want them, it’s heaven.

While we sat there, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Mexico, as tired as I felt, I was excited about the adventure that lays ahead. We have so many plans in our life, and this is just one. Mexico is a big part of our life and always will be. It’s the place we first traveled together at the very beginning. It’s the place we fell in love. Mexico is a huge part of who Beto is and I want to make sure he gets to connect with as often as possible.

Sunday Markets & Turquoise Lakes

I have to say that time just works differently here. It’s both slow and fast. One week has felt like one month, but a day can pass very quickly. It’s a feeling I have no way of accurately describing.

We arrived on Saturday, and on Sunday we already had plans to visit a few towns in Michoacán. We got up early and Beto’s parents took us to a town called Chilchota. The name literally means, “the place of chiles”. In 1524, during the conquest, Chilchota became a settlement to Hispanic families. In 1603, an order was made to “evangelize” the indigenous people of the region.

While in Chilchota, we explored a church, ate “gelatina” with rompope. OMG. Seriously. It’s so good. I can’t even. After, we visited a street market, drank atole, drank fresh orange juice and wandered through the abundance of bright colors. There were a couple of women in the market speaking their indigenous dialect. It’s rare to hear in the bigger towns, but in smaller towns, you may happen upon that pretty frequently.

We moved on to Tangancícuaro where we explored another market. The markets here are so vibrant, so colorful, so full of sound and smell. We sat at one stall and ate tacos on blue corn tortillas, tasted the juiciest watermelon, and saw Mexican jumping beans. We didn’t stay too long, but it was brilliant to walk around and be immersed in the typical Sunday routine for many people.

Tangancícuaro is home to Lake Camécuaro National Park (Lago de Camécuaro) which has been a protected area since 1940. The park is a big tourist attraction and hotspot for locals to visit, picnic, camp, and swim. It’s absolutely beautiful and has crystal clear water, fed by natural springs. The trees that line the lake and the surrounding areas are old growth, some of them being up to 800 years old (according to our guide).

We boarded a small boat and were paddled around the lake by a guide. The sun was beaming down on us, the blue-green water was sparkling, and the beautiful cypress trees bent over the lake. It was beautiful and the perfect start to our next two months in Mexico.

Take me to Church

After relaxing at the lake and enjoying the warmth and beautiful surroundings, we ventured to Zamora de Hidalgo. The city of Zamora was settled firstly around 1500 BC, and then in 1574 by Spanish settlers from the city of Zamora, Spain. It is a big population center located between Morelia and Guadalajara and also important to the state as an economic center.

Zamora is also home to the enormous Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Construction of the cathedral started in 1898 and was halted in 1914 because of the revolution. The cathedral was damaged during the conflicts, and the walls used during executions. Many people were killed here by firing squad, because of their religious views. The evidence of this is still prevalent as bullet holes still line the stone walls.

Reconstruction of the church did not start until 1990, and instead of the original facade, it was influenced by a gothic cathedral in Milan. The result is a beautiful neo-gothic structure with sky-reaching spires. Because you know, the taller the spires, the closer to God.

Stay tuned as I continue my travels. Next week we’re heading to witness the Monarch Butterflies at El Rosario Sanctuary!


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