No. 5: Michoacán, Part II

September 17, 2008. Janitzio, Michoacán.

Janitzio girls

The following two days in Michoacán were equally packed for group. Following breakfast in the hotel Monday morning we took a boat trip across Lake Pátzcuaro to the picturesque island of Janitzio. There View from top of monumentwe explored the charming town as we circled and ascended the mountain to its peak: a statue of independence hero José María Morelos. We then trudged up several flights of stairs inside the huge stone monument to enjoy (breathlessly) the view from the top of Morelo’s clenched fist.

After a couple hours on the island, we had a lovely lunch at a lakeside restaurant and then headed off to visit another town, Santa Clara del Cobre, where we had a demonstration of how they make copper goods all by hand (including the helmets for the movie Troy!). As you’ll see from the slideshow, most of the students got to get their hands dirty and join in the process.

Justin in helmetWe returned to Pátzcuaro that evening to enjoy Mexico’s biggest holiday, La Noche Mexicana, or Independence Day celebrations. Most of the students got into the spirit ofthe event by painting their face with the colors of the Mexican flag and purchasing “Viva Mexico” hats and other festive garb. After an animated meal downtown, we joined the enormous crowds in the central plaza to witness the famous “Grito” (¡Viva México!) from the mayor’s balcony, followed by a dazzling—if not the safest!— fireworks show.

The following morning we had time to explore the colonial town of Pátzcuaro Jill, Rachel on waterslidewith our guide, and were again privileged to see another celebration: an Independence Day parade. We then boarded the bus and headed to our final destination: El Reino de Atzimba, a water park a few hours away. We all jumped off the high dive and slid down treacherous waterslides, a perfectly exhilarating way to conclude the trip. As we boarded the bus and finally headed home, the group received a final surprise: a letter from home. Many of the students were deeply touched as they read their parents' words and felt their presence.

To view our last two days in Michoacán, click on the two brief slideshows below: