Kevin, out for a hike in the beautiful country of Lesotho, Africa. Photo taken February 13, 2014.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dance of the little old men

Yesterday was our day trip tour in and around the city of Patzcuaro (pop 80,000) in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.

It started with a visit south of the city to the copper town of Santa Clara del Cobre. This town is famous world wide for producing items made from copper. Pot and pans, cauldrons, sinks, vases, and jewelry make up the more popular items.

Apparently 82% of the employed population of the town is involved in some way in the copper business. There are 250 registered copper workshops in and around the town and they process 450 tons of copper each year. Most of the copper they get now is recycled copper, not directly from any mine.

We were dropped off at one store, and led through the store to the workshop in the back.

Our group, ready for the demonstration!

Normally, there are seven people working in this shop. But it's Sunday, so only one guy was there for demonstration purposes. Many of the tools they use for producing items are the same ones that have been used for hundreds of years.

Making a small bowl.

This man learned the trade from his father, as did his father before him. He says that he started working in the shop when he was 8 or 10 years old, he doesn't remember. His first job was to operate the bellows that provide oxygen to the fire. The fire must be very hot to heat up the copper to the proper temperature. He says that he has been working there for around 55 or 56 years.

Several of the ladies took turns hammering the copper.

Depending on the item, it takes anywhere from two days to several weeks to produce a single item. I wish we could have taken photos in the store, but they don't allow photography there. Some beautiful stuff! Ruth bought a pair of earrings.

I did grab a quick photo of the entrance to the shop.

Here is a demonstration of how they flatten a piece of copper...turn up your volume!

Really interesting stuff, and several people in our group bought items in the shop.

From there, we went to the village of Tzintzutzan. There is an old ruins site there, but we didn't go in. Instead, we went and wandered around the village itself and visited the old monsastry there.

The Monastry of San Fransisco, built in the late 1500's.

Flowers decorating the entrance.

This town's major festival is the Festival of the Señor del Rescate. You can see the words "Señor del Rescate" spelled out in the floral arrangement decorating the entrance. The festival only took place in early February, and the convent church is still decorated. We walked in, and were overcome by the smell of the hundreds of flowers.



The atrium of the complex contains olive trees that were planted by the first Bishop of Michoacan around 1531. The trees are still alive...

Ruth, with one of the 500 year old olive trees.

Then, we were taken into central Patzcuaro for lunch. This was a group meal, included in the RV caravan tour price.

A good group photo at lunch in Patzcuaro!

We finished lunch just in time to get to the main plaza to watch the "viejitos"...the dance of the little old men!

Once again, turn up your volume...

After that, we had an hour and a half just to wander around town on our own.

Narrow streets of Patzcuaro.

That's an old wall!

Another busy day, but definitely enjoyable. Again, I think everybody had a great time. We got back to the RV park and I had a nap!

Today is a free day, but there is so much to see and do in the area and people don't want to miss out. So we are splitting up and I am taking a group of five of us to see the buried church at the Paricutin Volcano, while Ruth is taking a group of eight back in to Patzcuaro to see some things they didn't see yesterday.

Every now and then an unbelievable deal on USB memory sticks comes around on only!

And in Canada, the Miracle Grow Indoor Garden is on sale. It's expensive, but it gets really good reviews...


  1. Busy , busy people glad you are enjoying.

    1. We will all be getting a well deserved rest at our next destination!

  2. I think they are getting worn out. Thart is good, they have quite few free days coming up in Villa Corona with only 2 days of tours. After that it is pretty much free time for 10 more days in Melaque except for ad hoc optional stuff I am arranging for them. This tour pretty much crams most of the organized included tours into the first half and less in the second. Not by design, it just happens that way due to the route. They have plenty of beach relax time ahead of them. One of the reasons I wagon master for this particular company is they give very good value for money, and you deal with customers who are happy, not ones who feel they were ripped off. I am retired and do it because I like people and love to introduce the wary ones to the joys of RVing in Mexico.

    Kevin has had one of the more difficult segments on this trip to deal with from a travel point of view, and from his blog, I get the impression he is handling it in Stellar fashion. The company keeps its costs down by minimizing expensive advertising, and happy customers are by far the best source of new ones. We hope to use Kevin & Ruth sometime in the future when they are so inclined/available. I will be scouting out a new Yuacatan circuit next Jan for a potential trip in 2018. They may want to do that one. I am on the lookout for a retired Archeologist with an RV to go along for free and make it an educational tour.

    1. Yep, have to admit, we think they are all looking forward to our next destination and beginning able to relax for a bit. They are also really looking forward to getting too the beach! :-)

      We just might be interested in a Yucatán tour!

  3. When you were at the Church Courtyard in Tzintzutzan, if you went through the gate to the right of the "old church" you would have found a very good potter. High quality Ceramics for that area of Mexico. We miss the winters in Patzcuaro.

    1. If we head back to Tzintzuntzan on our own again we will make a point of checking this guy out.

  4. Danza de los viejitos is a very traditional dance. Juan has danced that many times over the years. I call it the shaking head dance :) Great video. I love history and it seems you guys are right in the middle of it. Imagine what they did five hundred years ago and how they got here and built those structures. Obviously it was with slave labor, but to see them still standing. Amazing.

    1. I would have loved to have seen Juan dancing that traditional dance or any dance for that matter!

      We keep thinking the same thing ourselves and how they did it without all the modern day machinery.

  5. My parents are currently on this trip and it is really great to follow along with your blog and see pictures of what my parents have been talking about. Awesome blog ànd clearly an amazing adventure for my parents!!! :)

    1. So glad that you are able to follow along and see what they are up too. Everyone certainly seems to be enjoying themselves and we are trying to make sure that they all stay out of trouble! ;-)


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