Have we found our “it” place in Morelia, Mexico? Just maybe…it really could be!
I always refer to Morelia as the ‘greatest city you’ve probably never heard of” but if you follow me on Facebook, and if you are a regular reader of my blog, you are probably now familiar with this great city in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. I often wax poetically about it.
We’ve been here for almost four weeks (with three months to go) and we’re loving it. Let me set the stage for you so you can understand why. Some of this is covered in my earlier blog post about Morelia, but it’s worth repeating again, and again and again. If you already know why it’s superalicious, you can skip reading this post cause I’ve already said it once.
Morelia is a huge city of roughly 525,000. It’s greatest attraction is the Central Historico–a mind-boggling jumble of old colonial buildings, huge public squares and sky stretching cathedrals from the 1500’s– all anchored by a kick-ass main cathedral located in the center of the historical district.
Until September 30, we’re living in a lovely three bedroom flat owned by a friend we met last year while having coffee in Morelia. At a local cafe, I spotted what I assumed to be an American or Canadian dame enjoying a frothy delight. Now seeing anyone non-Mexican in Morelia is a very uncommon sight because it’s not a big tourist destination (which is mind-boggling given how cool it is) so I decided to talk to her. I asked her if she lived in Morelia and when she said “yes” I bombarded her with a litany of questions which she politely answered. When I told her I was going to be in Morelia for several more weeks, but had no chicks to hangout with, she gave me her email address and told me she would be glad to show me around. Score!!!
A week later and after a few pleasant email exchanges we were having pedicures and grabbing lunch. Over the course of our three-week stay in Morelia last summer, we saw her several more times. Once we got to Zihuataenjo, we stayed in touch. And then, when I came to Morelia to visit my Morelia-based oncologist, (every three months) we’d pow-wow over dinner and libations. Eventually, Valda became a cherished part of our lives and asked us if we would be interested in renting her apartment in the Central Historio for five or so months since she wanted to spend time with her family back in the good old U.S.A. She’s an Indiana girl.
Andy and I had already fallen in love with Morelia, and knew we wanted to spend more time here, so we said absolutely. Now we’re tending to her house plants that sit on her spacious rooftop with a killer view and experiencing life in the big city.
Valda’s apartment is in a six or seven unit complex located behind huge wooden doors. It’s on a very busy street. And it’s only a five minute walk from the main plaza. Everything is at our finger tips and the location is A #1. All around the main plaza are street cafes where Mexican’s gather at all hours to enjoy coffee, beer and meals. In the late afternoon, vendors come by selling trinkets and musicians stroll by playing traditional marachi music and other kinds of music. It’s sidewalk cafe culture at its finest and anyone who knows Andy and me knows that we can spend hours sitting outside drinking coffee and people watching. We are simply in heaven and we couldn’t be more pleased to be here for an extended period of time.
Everywhere we look we see old cathedrals, vast plazas and dancing fountains. And we hear music all around us because Morelia has several well respected music conservatories. We see students hanging out with their friends, sometimes playing music, sometimes enjoying drinks. This city has a frantic and amazing energy. Mexican’s love a party and Morelia gives them the opportunity to enioy life. There’s always a party or going on– whether it’s a public magic show for kids, or it’s the weekly Saturday night fireworks display overlooking the main cathedral. The plazas are always packed to the gill with people hanging out and we love it. There is tons and tons to do. A local club right around the corner from our house hosts weekly Friday night jazz and blues, and serves up some great vegi burgers and artisanal brews, and another hotel hosts guitar music and then there’s free plays and other performances to enjoy. Last Saturday night we saw a Doors and Rolling Stones tribute band!
The Central Historio is an area of beautiful old buildings, many from the 1500’s. The best way to describe is the French Quarter on steroids. It’s way bigger. Some of the buildings are in a state of great disrepair due to gang tagging, (I’m reminded of Havana) and need a lot of work, but others are simply stunning. The iron work, and tile work is a great architectural wonder. When we walk through the endless streets, we often can glance into beautiful courtyards and see stunning historical homes.
And then there’s the cost. Morelia is way cheaper than the touristy Zihuatanejo. We’re spending way less on rent here and restaurant costs are crazy cheap. The peso has been moving around a bit, but the prices below are calculated at around 17.81. That’s low. When we moved last year it was closer to 20. Here are some typical costs in USD.
A cheese quesadilla-$1.78
Breakfast including juice and coffee-$3.64
Latte at a nice cafe- $2.25
Tickets to a live concert-Mostly free! There are tons and tons of free concerts here.
Tickets to a private concert at a club or concert hall- $5.60
Dinner at an upscale restaurant for two- (drinks, appetizer, entrees and a shared dessert) $38.00 and this is at a super, super fancy place. We rarely spend more than $19 on a nice dinner out.
A monthly yoga pass- Unlimited classes $19
90 minute hot stone massage $29.00
Morelia also has a lot of box stores including Home Depot, Office Max, Sears, and even a Bed, Bath and Beyond so I can get items I can’t get in Zihuatanejo. Also, it has a really great grocery store with more American brands than I can get in Zihuatanejo. I feel like everything is at my fingertips and after living in a city of just 100,000 it’s a welcome change.
Finally, Morelia is a walking paradise. Four of five times a week, my swanky new Fitbit accompanies me on a urban walk and since the Central Historio is mostly flat I can walk far. And the weather is picture perfect for traipsing around. It’s usually around 80 degrees and it’s sunny every morning when we wake up. Often there are lightning and thunder storms in the late afternoon or early evening but they don’t last very long.
We do have several people coming to visit us and we’re excited. We will be here until September 30 so let us know if you are interested. It’s really the cats meow.