Morelia

Morelia is a town that shares the centuries old charm found in other "Colonial" towns like Guanahuato, Zacatecas and San Miguel, to name a few, but without being inundated by middle class tourists and retired expats. It does however have a distinctly international flare owing to the University, and the students it draws from all over the world. It also is one of the best places we had encountered so far for inexpensive hostel type lodging. As a rule we don't typically stay at hostels because they can be a little noisy, but more importantly because they usually are geared toward the backpacker set, and because of this they don't normally have parking for the cycles. The place that we found though had a clientele more concerned with scholarship than partying, and a young staff who trucked no nonsense and made every effort to help us with questions and amenities. They also had a wide array of styles of accommodation, and we were able to get our own room with private bath--a commodity not always available at most hostels.



Because of it being an obviously identifiable landmark this bell tower at the University served the international population well as a meeting place. The University here is not a distinct and separate campus, rather it's loosely knit group of buildings dotting the few blocks surrounding Morelia's main square. It is similar to New York's NYU's location near Washington Square or San Francisco's Academy of Art's proximity to Union Square in that regard.



Small plazuelas in the streets just off the main plaza house cafes that bustle with students during the day, and attract locals and international tourists alike at night. Morelia, while being one of the more cosmopolitan towns we have visited on this trip, is without the "retirement community" element found in so many of the other colonial towns that can detract from the distinctly Mexican flavor.



Like Zacatecas, part of the city's old aqueduct remains if only as a decorative architectural feature.



Around the corner from the aqueduct this centuries old structure is another of the University buildings. I unfortunately found myself without a camera when we visited this area after dark. Lights embedded in the sidewalk, like the one at left below, cast fifty-foot tall shadows of passers-by that is reminiscent of a scene from the Orson Welles movie of the 1940s "The Third Man". A battalion of sweepers, like the one at right below, hit the streets each day keeping the whole of the downtown spotless.