By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman, Michoacán & Mexico Tourism)
Unique . . . Exotic . . . Extraordinary . . . Your journey through the state of Michoacán is not the usual Mexican trip! This is the “real” Mexico. Not as well known as some of the other areas of Mexico, everything about Michoacan is different. You experience the difference when you walk around the cities, dine in their restaurants, and stay in the hotels. The strong Spanish influence is everywhere, buildings dating from the 1500’s-1600’s still stand to echo their stories of the past. UNESCO named the entire capitol city of Morelia a world heritage site- an outdoor museum. Preserving these beautiful historic buildings creates the feeling that you are on a movie set of another era.
And your adventure continues with each meal. Stepping into the past, the Hotel Villa Montãna is part of the beauty and history of Morelia. The elegance of the Montãna, their incredible gourmet delights, and the love story of the owners are the makings of a script for Hollywood. When you drive through the wrought iron gate and enter the grounds, you are suddenly transported to a 50 year old, historic mansion. Paths take you around 4 acres of sculptures, gardens, terraces, and private patios.
Experience the feeling of fine dining where you are surrounded by expensive museum-quality paintings, antiques, and intricate carvings. While being entertained by a pianist, choose from French, International, or Mexican cuisine. This is a meal to remember! French Count Nicolas de Reiset saw the Villa Montãna 30 years ago and fell in love with it. Much later Ava, an attractive Parisian femme, visited Morelia and fate brought her to stay at his hotel. They married and still enjoy being around the hotel and greeting their guests. Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner spent time here during the shooting of the film “the Sun Also Rises.”
The owner of the Restaurante San Miguelito has a sense of humor and is not afraid to be different. His understanding about combining fine food with unusual decor makes this a MUST SEE!
The Bar Taurino’s lounge and stage are decorated like a small bullring. Each table in the dining room is different with its own-style crystal, settings, tableware, and chairs! El Rincon de las Solteronas (Spinster’s Corner) is dedicated to Saint Anthony. Women pray to Saint Anthony to intervene and help them find a “special” man and make their dreams come true. During the ceremony, they light a candle, donate 13 coins, and circle the altar 13 times. Each woman places a statue of the saint upside down, to be turned over when she gets her man. There are around 250 statues hanging upside down around the walls, which means 250 women are waiting. Sit near the saint’s room and watch the activities or go in and try your luck.
Where is Michoacan? The state is located between Guadalahara and Mexico City. There is so much to see that you will want to spend several days in Morelia, and if you have time, experience the “TOTAL DIFFERENCE” For information and a free Mexico travel guide contact the Mexican Tourism Board, 1-(800)-44-MEXICO. www.visitmexico.com/