St. Peter's Church in the village of West Lydford, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Keinton Mandeville, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Pogradec, Albania on October 2nd.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A flooded town?

We had been told about a village near here that was flooded due to a hydroelectric dam that was built in the 1950's. Apparently the steeple of the church from the flooded town was still visible above the water line and it sounded like an interesting thing to see. But apparently there is more to the story...

From Valle de Bravo, we headed through the town of Colorines, and then through the town of Santa Tomas de los Platanos. We wanted to stop there and visit, but we decided to do that on the way back. After the town, you come to a small lake.

32 kms (20 miles) 

Coming towards Santa Tomas.

We believe that the water in these huge pipes comes from Lake Avandaro.

There was a sign at the lake, explaining the building of the dam in 1956 that displaced the people living there. The new town was built high above the gorge on the side of a cliff up river.

Notice above the sign, the picture of the church steeple sticking out of the water.

Here's a picture I found online, taken in 2007.

But remember how I told you about the water levels being so low at Lake Avandaro because Mexico City is using all the water? Well the water levels are low at this lake as well...

There is no "flooded church" here!

So it turns out that the dome of the flooded church is not a church at all. Just made to look that way. I haven't been able to find out if this is the dome of the original church that was placed here as a memento, or if this was built purposely as an attraction for unsuspecting tourists! Anyway, we were slightly disappointed. 

There was a road leading down around the lake and we assumed it led to the dam so we parked the little blue car and went for a walk.

Yep, it led to the dam.

We're a little confused about this dam. They say it was built for a hydroelectric plant, and there was a hydro plant on the way here. In fact, there were actually two different plants on the way. But they are both upriver of this dam. Usually, there is a hydro plant right at the Anyhow, we're obviously not engineers, so we don't quite understand why this dam was built.

On the other side of the dam was a gorge and we could hear waterfalls. We saw a trail and decided to see where it led to.

It led to a pretty waterfall! It was a man made waterfall, but it was pretty anyhow.

Here's the other hydro plant upriver, but it too takes it's water from higher up.

We made it back to Santa Tomas just before 1:00pm. We went to the church, but didn't go inside because there was something going on.

We assume that this church was built in the 1950's when the town was relocated.

We sat and people watched for a bit and while we were doing that a couple of ladies with young children came and sat on the bench. A conversation began, and they told us that two girls were celebrating their "quinceanera" fifteenth birthday celebration. There was an hour long church service to go with it!

The municipal building is a pretty bright shade of green! Oh...there's that coca cola truck again!

It was around lunch hour so we looked for some food. There is always somewhere to eat around the central plaza of any town, and sure enough we found a few food stands. We picked one of the busier ones and had a couple of large quesadillas each...there was more meat than cheese though, so not sure if they were actually called quesadillas, but they were cooked the same way. Sorry, no photos. Anyhow, we had two each and we were full. Cost was 30 pesos ($2.40) for the two of us. Not a bad lunch! Then we figured we needed some desert. Lunch was pretty spicy and this town is known for delicious ice cream so we sat down for a treat. Ruth had cheese ice cream (yep!) and I had strawberry.  Cost for one was 10 peso for a total of 20 pesos ($1.60) for the two of them. They had lots of different flavors including tequila! Ruth said her cheese ice cream was quite good.

We wandered around for a bit and then at 2:00pm we sat in the shade on the steps of the church. The service was over, and the people started coming out.

Here's one of the girls with her entourage!

But the celebrating wasn't over for this one group was leaving the church, another was entering! Next up was a wedding...

Notice the cute little girls carrying the train.

Heading back to our apartment, we saw this truck at the side of the road. Somebody's day didn't go as planned!

We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Oti brought us up a plate of food! We will never starve in Mexico! Later on in the evening, they were sitting outside so we went and joined them. They had friends with them, and we all enjoyed a few drinks and a lot of laughs. We sure do enjoy spending time with them. 

Group photo!
Kevin, Paco, Santi, Cesar, Cesar Jr, 
Oti, Gris, and Ruth

Paco and Oti bought a new (to them) boat last week, and they've invited us for a day on the lake today. Looking forward to that, should be a lot of fun!

Today is our last day at Valle de Bravo...tomorrow we head for Taxco, and then Acapulco!


  1. Pretty neat tour - funny about the flooded Church.

    I'm in the the cheese ice cream!

  2. It's not necessarily a fake steeple---the wooden façade that had been underwater for 50 years will have rotted away, leaving just the superstructure exposed. If the orig church was built in the 19th or 20th century then concrete could have well been employed in its construction.

  3. You guys do something almost every day! Great energy levels!

  4. Another great tour you guys. The steeple really makes you wonder how the story really went.

  5. I love your posts Kevin.
    The Coke truck home delivery - trying to make it up the dirt road of the remote village and this photo of the Coke truck zipping through town keeping the local's blood sugar up for their future diabetes and rotting teeth.
    It's a funny world and you get it.

  6. Great detective work on the dam. Curious to know how much your fuel costs are mounting up seeing that you keep doing trips and returning to the same point whereas in the motorhome it is one continous journey. This has often been our argument of a fifth wheel/caravan versus motorhome - of course plus the benifit of having your own cafe, drinks bar and bed on hand at any time and you can stay at the beautiful places you find.


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