Visiting the enchanting island of Janitzio on Lago Patzcuaro
In July I visited Patzcuaro in the state of Michoacan in Mexico. On Lago Patzcuaro, there are a few inhabited islands, the largest being Janitzio. This quaint and rustic island is the perfect getaway to spend a day. You arrive by ferry and once there you can explore the many winding streets and shops. As there are no cars on the island, you feel like you're in the the Cinque Terre in Italy. There is an interesting old cemetery and a few interesting churches that sport a fisherman's theme. Near the crest of the hill are a number of view restaurants where you can stop and sample charales,tasty small fried white fish served with lime and hot sauce. At the top of the hill there are formal gardens and a pavilion where you can watch the dance of the 'viejitos'. These are actually young boys dressed in masks, hats, sarape and canes that perform traditional dances of the local Purepecha people. Crowning the island is a large monument to revolutionary leader Jose Maria Morelos. Standing 40 meters high, you can climb a spiral staircase all the way up the arm for an amazing bird's eye view of the island and lake. After all the climbing it's a welcome relief going back downhill, though a little hard on the knees. Arriving at the bottom, treat yourself to a cold mug of the local beer at the bar fronting the pier before your return voyage to Patzcuaro.