Lake Chapala is so 2013

Morelia, Mexico

What better way to kick off the new year than with a beautiful new habitat.

For the next few months, Mark, Scout, Archie, Sophie and I will be hanging our sombreros in Morelia, one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities. The Centro Historico, where we live, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s gorgeous. And convenient. In Chapala we had to drive everywhere from our bungalow, even for basic marketing. It sucked. Now the car is stored in a garage (well, stable) on the edge of town, and our legs are no longer gathering dust. I’ve walked more in the past nine days than I did in my entire year in Chapala and already lost about three kilos.

Cathedral, Morelia, Mexico, Historic Center

Being in a cultural city again is electrifying, especially coming from the sleepy Lake Chapala area, which feels a gringo retirement community. There’s nothing wrong with retirees of course (love you, Dad!), but Mark, Scout and I have been starved for cultural depth and diversity.

In Morelia we now have at our disposal hip-and-interesting people of all classes, dogs of identifiable breeds, inspiring colonial architecture, a Baroque cathedral, an 18th-century Spanish aqueduct, people carrying yoga mats, free public concerts, choirs, symphonies, arts classes for Scout, an international film festival, music and film festivals, and even good baguettes (only at one particular bakery, but still, much appreciated). I’ve always loved walking, and with multiple daily trips to the markets, exercising the dogs, exploring, etc, I’m logging at least five kilometers a day. My pants are already deliciously loose.

Speaking of loose pants, in the Chapala/Ajijic area most street vendors close by five. Here you can grab tacos at 11pm. And what a variety of food…it will take me months to taste it all.

Historic Center, Morelia, Mexico

A university town, Morelia is delightfully un-Ajijic. There are more middle-class Mexicans, more young people, and very few obvious Americans or Canadians. They city is a popular tourist destination for Mexicans, and to a lesser extent, Europeans, but it’s not a major stop on the gringo tourist track. We rarely see others of our ilk.

Anyway, you get the idea so I’ll stop carrying on. We love it here, and I can’t wait to show you around.

cathedral in Morélia, Mexico

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patti January 13, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Looking forward to it!
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2 Tiffany January 13, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Sounds like a great place! Love University towns and walkable places! I hope you’ll do a post about the cost of living. I love those posts. This may be a great place for us to go post USA-tour!
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3 Alyson January 14, 2014 at 1:07 am

That sounds like me! I love being able to walk everywhere. Hope to see you there in a few months, I’ll have to get the map out and see where in Mexico it is!
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4 Heidi @WagonersAbroad January 14, 2014 at 2:15 am

Oh, I can’t wait for you to show me around. I just love Mexico and yes I have been to your neck of the woods! It brings back memories, as I was there in 1992! I know I am showing my age, but it still touched my heart. Glad you guys are getting the culture back. I need to do the walking thing too!
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5 Alex January 14, 2014 at 8:48 am

I am jealous, Bacalar has very little “culture”. The arts program closed due to lack of funding. Guess I’ll just have to start one!


6 Val-This Way To Paradise January 14, 2014 at 9:25 am

What a gorgeous town! I love being able to walk anywhere in San Miguel. So glad you are loving it there and am enjoying reading your views of Mexican life!
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7 Renee January 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Thanks, valen. Actually I can’t wait to pop by and check out San Miguel.


8 Clélie January 14, 2014 at 11:42 am

Love the reference to dogs of identifiable breeds.


9 Rebeca January 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Oh, you’re making me miss Mexico! Sounds delightful.
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10 wanderingeducators January 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm

wonderful! can’t wait to follow along! 🙂
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11 Andrew January 15, 2014 at 12:34 am

Sounds great, enjoy your time there! (Hah, as if you couldn’t enjoy your time anywhere when you have Archie and Sophie) 🙂
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12 Renee January 17, 2014 at 9:29 am

Thx Andrew 🙂


13 Tom Medsger January 15, 2014 at 10:22 am

Hi to all he D’Antonis,

Thanks for this posting. Your excitement is contageous.

Morelia sounds and looks great, reminds me of Querétaro. As far as I know now, I will be close by in Querétaro from February 8–22, again at the Hotel Hidalgo. Let’s keep in touch!

¡Diviértanse! Hasta que nos veamos,

Forgive my poor attempts at Spanish.


14 Renee January 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

Tom, yes we’d love to meet you in Querétaro again. Sadly we left our dog sitters behind in Lake Chapala, but let me see what we can work out. I guess they can always come along if we can find a room.


15 Jackie Trueblood January 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm

I would love an update on Sophie. While reading Because of Winn Dixie with my fourth-grade class, I made a text-to-text connection and shared your blog about finding Sophie and taking her into your family. My students would be thrilled to hear how things are going.


16 Renee January 17, 2014 at 9:05 am

Jackie, thanks! I love that you and your class are following Sophie’s story. I will post a follow-up next week.


17 Brian January 21, 2014 at 11:07 am

Hi Renee,
Guess I will miss you guys at El Perico. I am going for 10 days on March 1st to see if I like it. I plan on leaving my job and finishing my book down there next winter, if things work out. And, I do have a dog. His name is Spartacus and the folks at the doggy jail thought he was a Chihuahua/Wiener/Beagle; I call him a 22 pound Chiweagle.
Your adventures are very inspiring. I want to take off and go, but I just need to plan more! You have stones I may never grow.
Please contact me if you have any insight regarding my future travels to Chapala. I am not bringing Spart this first time. But, if I do decide on the place, I plan on buying a motorcycle with a carry case on the back and cutting a hole in the top once I get there so Spart can ride with me.
The Sophie story tugged my heart! I hope all is well.



18 Renee January 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Sorry we’ll miss you, Brian. We’re going back to Perico this weekend for a visit, but only for a couple days. Hey, I think motorcycling to Mexico with your dog will be an amazing adventure! Lucky Spartacus! My family and I have dreamed about similar plans, but we can’t pull the trigger now, as my husband and I both have to work and be online most of the day.

Sophie is doing well, thank you. I’ll be posting an update this week. 🙂


19 Roberto Almanzan April 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

I enjoy your posts and would like to receive them regularly. I submitted my email to you about 6-8 weeks ago. Please do include me your future posts.

Your comments about moving and living in Ajijic affirmed and encouraged my wife (trudi) and I to explore Ajijic as our next home. We have been living in Oakland, CA, for over 30 years, sort of stuck here as many folks often do. We just returned from a one week exploratory trip to Ajijic and it confirmed for us that we are launching into an old age adventure by Lake Chapala. We are clearing our house of a lifetime of “things,” sprucing it up and putting it on the market and leaving for our new life by the lake in Ajijic!


20 Renee April 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Great news, Roberto! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Ajijic and that you and your wife are making the move. I’m sorry you’re not receiving posts though. You might want to check your spam filter, and if there aren’t any post notifications there, then just re-subscribe. 🙂


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