Day 4 - Morelia

Morelia is a city I would seriously consider if I were going to retire in Mexico. At 6000 feet, the climate is moderate, the city is clean and prosperous. The town has no touristy feel at all.

We stayed at the Virrey Mendoza (thanks to my negotiating skills):

http://www.hotelvirrey.com/

This is one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in, and if you get to Morelia I highly recommend a visit even if you stay somewhere else. We arrived after dark and pretty tired, but the GPS brought us faithfully to the centro. There was a Mexican folk dance presentation in the Zocalo, and the area was packed. We could see the brightly lit cathedral from a distance, but it took us some up and down narrow one way streets to actually get to the hotel. They have valet parking so we parked and went inside. The young lady at the reception desk poured us two glasses of an excellent Mexican Sauvignon Blanc, and bade us be seated. She mistook my weariness as reluctance and proceeded to make me a deal I wouldn't have refused in any case. Once she played her hand I woke up to the smell of blood in the water.

The lobby looked like it was originally an open courtyard; now it has a ceiling of an enormous piece of stained glass. There was another stunning glass ceiling behind the reception desk that looked like something you might see in Paris, a rectangular box that rose to a peak. The lobby is littered with object d' art, old paintings, all the furnishings were period reproductions, and count them, three grand pianos. Outside of three Mexican women sitting by the fireplace, we were the only guests.

We wound up with a "Master Suite" overlooking the Zocalo and the Cathedral, four drinks, a full breakfast the next morning, valet parking, for $165 with all taxes and service charges included. This was the most expensive place we stayed on the trip, but by far the best value.

We watched the end of the folk dancing presentation in the Zocalo, had a bottle of Mexican petit sirah and a couple of prime rib sandwiches in the bar, and retired with a warm buzz to our king sized "matrimonial". We wandered around Morelia (should be called the city of churches, they are everywhere) the next morning, and I attended noon Mass in the cathedral.

I REALLY wanted to stay another day and continue to explore, but the trip was quickly devolving from the originally planned Banzai to Nicaragua to a Mexican vacation. If this continued, we would never get to Nicaragua.

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Know exactly what you mean about Mexico

We intended to drive to Nica in January of 2009 we ended up cris-crossing mexico for 2.5 months got as far as the Chiapas Guatemala border.

Loved Mexico. Glad to hear you are having a safe trip.

I think I was there 2 weeks ago

I just drove from Tucson to Nicaragua in driving 7 days, I think we went through or around Morelia on day 3, Day one was sleeping in Los Mochis, Day 2 was visiting a friend in Santa Cruz(near Tepic), Day 3 ended in Puebla. The last night in Mexico was Tonala'(think Toña)l. Tonala' was like a Norman Bienpiedra kind of Mexican town. Great drive! If you dont mind driving and have an appetite for administrative detail, the drive from the USofA is not awful, a good way to bring a car down.

"if you see someone who has lost their smile, give them one of yours"

When you get to Guatemala

The place to turn in your Mexico sticker is about 10 miles before the border. If you turn the sticker in within 7 days, it is free. We spent more in tolls than gas or maybe everything put together. When you get to the Guatemala border, if you get helpers, it will cost more. Resist the helpers, it should only cost $20 for the car to cross.

"if you see someone who has lost their smile, give them one of yours"