Friday, January 08, 2010

What's So Great About Pátzcuaro?

"Uriel" put this question last week to one of our local forums, Michoacan_Net.

What is so great about Patzcuaro? Why do people want to travel there? The ice cream ("nieve") isn't all that great. There isn't much to "really" see. Or maybe i haven't seen the greatness of Patzcuaro.

This elicited a flurry of replies, many tinged with indignation. Most made references to a "warm fuzzy" feeling they had while in Pátzcuaro.

I refrained from answering, as I thought the orginal question more than a little trollish. Besides, why should anyone feel compelled to defend their choice of where they live?

After an interval, our friend, "DrBosque" (who left Pátzcuaro several months ago for the more southern climes) cut through the warm fuzzy haze and replied thusly:

Many of the people we know who have moved to Patzcuaro shared the impression that it just felt right. For most, immediately. I can think of few who would use the word "great," a rather hollow word for a place and culture that's anything but.

It's one of prettiest cities in Mexico, and perhaps the only one that has such an inspiring tree-filled plaza without a church scowling from one end. That earns it a certain greatness in my mind (but then I do tend toward attitude regarding authoritarian religions).

What are you comparing it to? And what caused you to have such unrealistic expectations, that you're so disappointed you have to ask the question so disparagingly?

I replied privately to DrBosque:

I agree, the word "great" doesn't apply. For most of us, it has a nice feel to it. The geographic setting is attractive. You can walk from one side of Centro to the other in 15 minutes; you almost always see people you know. But there are almost no really good restaurants. :-(
The mercado is a true highlight for me. The vibrancy and color animate me. But I wouldn't want to spend more than an hour at a time in there. It can be exhausting.
The historic center's streets and buildings are charming. Outside of a few choice areas, the town is rather less attractive. (See the Libramiento, por ejemplo, athough it's improving.)
It's a good, cheap place to retire!!!

'll add that although we enjoy living out in the countryside, on the peaceful and tranquilo rancho, I need the stimulus of several visits a week to the vigorous and animated scene of Pátzcuaro Centro. A few hours of walking the charming streets, having coffee with friends, shopping, and I'm renewed for a few more days.

Others, who live close in, enjoy gallery shows, concerts, and playing bridge with friends. Everyone finds what they like best.


Calypso said...

Yes - those loaded, droll questions that solicit mostly nonsense - hate 'em. We get them on the Viva Veracruz Forum as well.

In my mind I like to reply, "If you have to ask - you won't like it here."

And I am sure we don't want to encourage such people at the end of the day ;-)

Bob Mrotek said...

I have a suggestion. Anyone who doesn't like Pátzcuaro should come to Irapuato, a truly great city. It is practically the geographic center of Mexico and close to an international airport (BJX) as well as major highways to everywhere else. It is also the center of the "Cuna de Indpendencia", the "Cradle of Independence" and if you want old and quaint we got that too. Irapuato is over 400 years old...almost as old as Pátzcuaro. Irapuato is the jumping off place for major area attractions like the cities of Guanajuato, Silao, San Miguel de Allende, Querétaro, and Celaya. We have plenty of good food too. Ya'll come on down!

Anonymous said...


You forgot to note that Irapuato is also the Capital Mundial de la Fresa. (Strawberry World Capital).


Kim G
Boston, MA

Don Cuevas said...

Amazing that Bob would overlook such a notable factoid!!

Don Cuevas

Bob Mrotek said...

Sorry folks, but it is a "truth in advertising" thing. Irapuato can no longer make that claim truthfully :)