Around Lago Pátzcuaro

With a score or more of Purépecha villages around the lake we had time to pick just two. For our first we took a lancha to Janitzio, an Island on Lake Pátzcuaro. At the muelle Karen immediately made friends with this little guy, even bringing him a cup full of the tiny goldfish-sized fish that are deep fried and sold in stands all around the island.

The statue of local hero Morelos dominates the island and can be seen from the shore in Pátzcuaro miles away. As you near the island, local fisherman (below) with their butterfly nets show their technique, more as a display for the small tips that they can get from tourists then for the actual catch they can bring in.

The hike to the top of the island is worth the effort for the views of this village that allows no motorized vehicles. This town is host to one of the largest of the Dia de los Muertos celebrations that take place in villages all around the lake.

Around the base of the statue children play in one of the fountains (left), while the statue reveals the intricacy of its construction.

Climbing the circular ramp inside the body there are two views, the one above from the shoulder when you leave the body and enter the arm, and another limited view farther up from the wrist.

The other village we visited was Tzintzuntzan, a town known for its carved furniture and emboidery work. We unfortunately could not find the embroiderer "Teo" whose work we had seen in Morelia. We did, however, enjoy a stroll through the grounds of this 16th century ex-convento San Francisco.

One of the things that amazes on entering this site is the size of the gnarled old olive trees said to have been planted by Vasco de Quiroga.  This is also home to one of the areas most elaborate Day of the Dead displays.

Much of the walls that surround the site and form the foundation of some of the buildings are from a nearby Tarascan site destroyed and pillaged by the Spanish.

Although we had missed Tzintzuntzan's main market day, its streetside market was still packed with rows and rows of these strings of handmade Christmas ornaments above and below made from straw interwoven with brightly colored ribbons.