We interrupt the regularly scheduled food posts for a purely travel-related one. It’s a dreary Monday and I have spent a lot of my weekend working on getting myself organised so that I will be able to complete the seemingly insurmountable amount of work I have to do this term (PhD classes, a paper to present in New Orleans in March, tons of projects to wrap up with my students etc…) . Let’s just say it involved a lot of Post Its 😉
As I am wont to do, I was perusing my iPhoto albums and came across some that I wanted to share with you today to hopefully brighten this last day of January. You might remember the story of how I discovered Sopa Tarasca in Pátzcuaro last week… well later that day, we headed down to the embarcadero de Pátzcuaro to see if there might be any boats leaving for la Isla de Janitzio.
As it has been a terrible year for tourism, our guide, Carlos, told us that if there weren’t enough people to fill a boat, the boats just wait until there are. We didn’t particularly want to spend hours waiting for boats to fill but so he went ahead to check out the situation.
(not very reassuring, huh?)
Luckily for us, there were a number of locals taking day trips out to the island so we didn’t wait long at all. Oh, all that green stuff in the water (yes, there is water under there)? They are water hyacinths.
According to MexConnect, masses of water hyacinth have many effects. They block canals, ditches and pipes used for agriculture, recreation or hydro-electric power, increasing the potential flood risk. Their proliferation reduces water movement, and the penetration of sunlight, and decreases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, endangering phytoplankton and fish stocks. The dense mats of hyacinth create ideal microhabitats for various undesirable organisms such as mosquito larvae (malarial included). They are, indeed, everywhere.
The short (20 minute) trip takes you to the tiny island, whose name means “where it rains” and whose town is precariously located literally atop a hill. At the very top is a giant statue of José María Morelos, a great hero of Mexico’s independence – it’s visible from most places on the island.
As you approach, it becomes even more formidable…
You know what’s coming next, right?
Of COURSE you can climb all the way up to the top – all 40 metres!
Inside the statue, you’ll find a mural depicting the life of Morelos which tells a great story in a lot of detail. We were lucky that we were there when it was not busy because we were afforded a great view – I can imagine if it were much more crowded, it would be hard to take it all in – the stairs are also pretty precarious, you kind of have to focus on those as well!
The view is breathtaking, though it was so windy and such a tiny space that I did not get my camera out.
Janitizio is a gorgeous little town and definitely worth the visit if there is boat leaving. And trust me, you won’t have to go to the gym for days. If you’re like me, you also might not be able to walk properly for days. It was STEEP climbing!
Bonus? On the way back you get to feed the seagulls (everyone brought back some kind of food to throw out the boat!). It’s quite the dramatic exit!