The Rural Market Town of Quiroga, Home of the Famous Carnitas
Brilliant sunshine greeted me again on another gorgeous day in Mexico’s colonial heartland. After a restful night of sleep at the venerable Hotel Catedral, I enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast and then took the elevator up to the rooftop terrace which offers the most amazing view of Morelia’s main square, the Plaza de Armas, and its cathedral.
The historic Hotel Catedral right on the main square of Morelia
I always like to find out more about the places that I am staying at, particularly when they are 16th century mansions with outstanding colonial architecture. I walked downstairs to the reception area, located in a historic courtyard with a modern glass roof and gorgeous arcaded walkways on the upper floors. Blanca, one of the hotel employees, was so kind and gave me a tour of the Hotel Catedral, formerly a mansion of Count Pereda that was located on the “Calle Real”, the Royal Road of Morelia.
Blanca, my guide, on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Catedral
The Hotel Catedral has 61 rooms and six of them actually have a terrace facing the cathedral. All rooms come with flat-screen LCD televisions, free wireless Internet and free safes. The rooms are equipped with work tables which is perfect for the many business travelers that visit the city. Bathrooms are modern and feature glass-enclosed shower stalls and marble countertops.
Architectural details at the Hotel Catedral
Some of the rooms face towards the interior courtyards and are very quiet while others face outside and allow you to watch the street life of Morelia. It was a real shame that the Cathedral Suite was booked; I would have loved to see the suite with the best views. Morelia is particularly beautiful at night, which has earned it the nickname “La Ciudad Iluminada” (the illuminated city) when numerous churches and former convents are lit up and create an almost magical experience. Every night the city of Morelia launches fireworks from the cathedral and the street-facing rooms and suites at the Hotel Catedral certainly would have the most magnificent views of this spectacle.
Gorgeous view from the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Catedral
Shortly after my tour my expert guide, Rodrigo Muñoz, arrived for our driving tour today. We were going to visit the Lake Pátzcuaro area. Located less than an hour from Morelia, this lake is surrounded by a various historic towns and one of the main attractions is the Island of Janitzio, famous for its Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) rituals.
Balloon vendor on Morelia’s Plaza de Armas, in front of the Hotel Catedral
We took the main roads through Morelia, and many of the historic, pink-coloured cantera stone buildings were shining brilliantly in the early morning son. As a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, Morelia,has more than 1100 buildings that were built between the 16th and 19th centuries. As we got out of the city I started to appreciate the mountainous terrain that surrounds Morelia. In short succession we drove past two mountains that had been quarried for their rock. The sliced-open mountains impressed me with their black, dark brown and reddish coloration, all due to the volcanic rock that prevails in the area.
This quarry shows off the volcanic rock in the area surrounding Morelia