There were two villages buried in the lava flow over the 9 years of eruptions. One of the villages was almost finished building a new church when the village was overtaken by the lava.
We walked from the hotel down to the gas station where we had learned we could take a bus to the town of Angahuan where you can hike to the church buried in lava. It cost 20 pesos ($1.52) for the 40 minute bus ride. When we got off the bus, we were approached by men trying to get us to rent a horse to take us to the church, but of course we turned them down in favor of walking and exercise.
You have to walk through the town of Angahuan to reach the Ecotourism Center. Here, there is a small museum, and cabanas for rent as well as an area to park your motorhome if you decide to drive on the rough cobblestone road. Probably better suited for small campers and we're glad we decided not to take Sherman up there.
Our first view of the volcano.
Notice the steam still rising from the smaller cone. Paricutin is actually two volcanos.
We sat and had a snack once we reached the Ecotourism Center.
The total hike to the buried church from the highway was 4.5 kms (2.8 miles) each way. There is a couple of food stands near the church, and a local Indian lady insisted we try her home made blue corn tortillas with some avocado and salsa. It was so good, we told her we would come back after we visit the church.
The church was surreal. What a fascinating place to visit. It turns out that the church was only under construction when the lava field made it's way there so it was never finished. That's why only one steeple was completed. The main facade is still standing, as is the back part of the church where the alter would have been. Nothing in the middle is left.
Made it to the church.
Only the one steeple was completed.
The back wall of the church has been turned into a shrine.
This is the rear section that is still standing.
This is the front section. I had to do a panorama shot and stitch it together to get this picture of the one complete steeple and the one unfinished one.
At one section, you can climb down into one of the lower rooms. I love this kind of thing!
Ruth, the lava, and the steeple.
60 years later, there is now some vegetation starting to grow out of the lava field.
When we were done exploring the church, we went back to the indigenous lady for some lunch. This area has a lot of native people, and they have their own language although most of them speak Spanish as well. She listed off a whole bunch of different food she would make us, and we said we would like to have a some quesadillas and a grilled meat plate with beans. We shared the food between us, and we were stuffed. With one beer, the bill came to 80 pesos ($6.08) for a great lunch for the two of us.
Making our lunch, with fresh blue corn tortillas.
She brings her 14 month old daughter to work with her...she's having a nap in the hammock.
On the hike back out, we came across a little old man carrying a big log on his shoulder. He was looking pretty tired, and we asked if he wanted some help. So Ruth grabbed one end and I picked up the other and we carried his log up the fairly steep hill back to the Ecotourism Center. We stopped several times along the way, and gave him some water to drink. He said he was building something for his house and these logs were the best ones to use. He had gone into the forest and cut it down and needed to carry each one back to his house. not sure how many he needed to get, but this one was a lot of work for him!
He had been carrying this log by himself! We stopped and talked to him for a while. We found out that he was 8 years old when the volcano erupted, which means that he is now about 77 years old. We are so glad that our Spanish is getting good enough to be able to communicate with the locals. It's still pretty broken, but we can get our point across and usually understand some of what is being said back to us!
At the top of the hill, we sat and rested with a couple of other fellows who were sitting there. The old guy who had the big log is on the far left.
Walking back through town. The native ladies still wear traditional dress in their day to day lives. The men are allowed to wear Jack Daniels t-shirts!
Another great day. We're going to have to stop having so much fun!
Yesterdays hike, 9 kms (5.6 miles) return.