Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Monday, 2 March 2015

El Rosario

As I mentioned in a previous post I have come to Mexico to see the Monarch butterfly migration. This annual migration begins in the northern parts of North America in the early Autumn. These Autumn born butterflies can live up to 9 months as opposed to Spring and Summer born Monarchs that live from 4-6 weeks. This special generation of butterflies then fly South to Central Mexico covering approx 300km a day. The journey takes them about a month and they then spend the winter in Mexico. In Spring they mate and start the journey to return North. However it is believed that it takes up to 5 generations before they manage to return to North America. None of the original Autumn born Monarchs survive to repeat the journey but their offspring always return to the same forests in Central Mexico.






 Today we had our own mini bus to take us to the El Rosario Sanctuary, 8 miles East of Ocampo. It made a pleasant change not to be travelling by public transport. The weather at last had changed and we had gorgeous blue skies and warm, delicious sunshine which meant the butterflies would be flying. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Horses were available to take you up to the top but 4 of us decided to walk. I hadn't felt the effects of the altitude until I started the walk. We were at about 10,000 feet and needed to get above 11,000ft so it was hard going for someone who lives at sea level. Mind you, we have been in Mexico for a week now and will have acclimatised a little.



We soon began to see the butterflies. As we walked upwards their numbers increased into the thousands - on the trees, on the ground and flying around.










One of the horses being ridden by his owner back to the beginning of the trail.











One minute they were all on the ground and then suddenly thousands of them took off into the air and we were surrounded by these beautiful creatures.







We stayed up there for quite some time taken loads and loads of photos and then sampled the local food.




















This was our hotel for the next two nights. It was in a beautiful spot with views of the mountains.




















The rooms were very large with an open fire which was lit for us in the evenings.

Sharing with  Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Patzcuaro

After a delicious breakfast of fresh fruits, granola and yoghurt, followed by scrambled egg and home grown veggies we met Miguel, our guide for the day.


Starting in the centre of the Square looking at the 16th cent houses that surrounded it, we were given a quick history lesson of which I have retained little! However I do remember that the statue is Vasco de Quiroga, the first bishop of this area.
Many of the old houses have been converted into shops, restaurants or hotels.


This church was built on top of the base of an old temple/pyramid. You can see how the stones forming the foundation lean outwards.



If you look at the top window of this church you can see how the thickness of the walls.

This small stall was selling pork and crackling which appears to be a popular breakfast accompanied by tortillas





Miguel then took us to Tzintzuntzan, the ancient Tarascan capital. The site overlooks the beautiful Lake Patzcuaro and has the remains of five yacatas or temples that date back to the 13th cent.
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A welcome from a white squirrel, which stood out from the rest of the grey squirrels.



There is something like 60,000 historical sites in Mexico. many of which haven't been excavated. There are large areas surrounding this site which have yet to reveal their treasures.









We noticed lots of signs carved into the stone.

























There was a small market in the local town




Lots of woodcarving.















We then took the ferry to the Island of Janitzio in the middle of Lake Patzcuaro. On the highest point is a 40m statue of Jose Maria Morelos, the hero of Mexico's independence.


There is a spiral staircase going up the inside, giving visitors the opportunity to look out over the island from some viewing peepholes in the wrist of the outstretched arm.


The life of Morelo is depicted in murals on the interior walls of the statue.




I couldn't look over the top when I got there but I put the camera over the edge and took this photo which gives a good impression of the height.
















The town is also famous for the butterfly fishermen who use these butterfly nets for catching the local white fish. Unfortunately the weather was too rough for the fishermen to go out in their narrow boats. You can also see a picture of the fishermen on the back of a 50 peso banknote.


 







I think this is a yellow warbler nestling in the bushes.





We finished back in Patzcuaro enjoying some very large margaritas!