Tepalpa's Jardin Principal
San Antonio de Padua Although lovely on the exterior, it stood virtually empty of decoration or funishings on the inside when we visited. The old bell is still suspended from a huge old wooden beam by an ancient chain. Tapalpa's known history goes back well before the arrival of the Spanish. In the centuries before Cortez, the area was inhabited by Otomi Indians, whose náhuatl name for their home was Tlapalpan, which means "land of colors." The Otomi were conquered by the Aztecs in the 7th Century AD, as that society of warriors passed through on their great trek to their ultimate home in Valley of Mexico. In the late 15th Century, just a few decades before the Spanish arrived, the Tapalpa area was within the territory of the Lord of Tzaollan, who appointed a man called Cuantoma as governor. At that time, the Tarascan Empire of present-day Michoacan attempted to seize the valuable salt deposits in the dry lakes we passed on our way to the Tapalpa escarpment. Seeking to resist, Cuantoma allied himself with the Teco Kingdom which occupied the area of present-day Colima. The Tecos brought up a large army and defeated the Tarascans in the famous Salt War. However, the Tecos then turned on Cuantoma and his people and subjugated them in turn. As they say, "be careful of what you wish for..."
Emiliano Zapata was born here. Following the Revolution, the Cristero War (1926-1929) broke out between reactionary Catholics and the new Revolutionary government. The Tapalpa area was the scene of some of those struggles, and some local caves are still called the "Cristero Caves" after the fighters who hid in them during that war.
café de olla and observing the color and movement all around me. I could easily become a café de olla addict. It is a wonderful hot drink made from water, ground coffee, cinnamon sticks, and piloncillo (brown sugar). Boiled in a clay pot, it is an ideal drink for a lazy afternoon or a frosty morning. I checked the menu and found the prices low, confirming my impression of the area.
Our hotel, Casa de Maty
Casa de Maty. It was once an old hacienda, now remodeled into a gracious and comfortable hotel in the heart of town. We looked at another reasonably priced, but somewhat more rustic place before we stopped at Casa de Maty. With a bit of negotiation, the hotel management saw the wisdom of giving a discount to the 11 gringos who had suddenly appeared, since the hotel was virtually empty at the time. My single room was reduced from 750 pesos ($61 USD) to 600 pesos ($49 USD), a real bargain.
click here. The adobe structure above is the front of the home and workshop of the young mechanic we finally located in Chiquilistlan. The structure looked as if it hadn't seen any changes since the Revolution 100 years ago, or maybe the War of Independence 100 years before that!
Horatio at the bridge.
calabasa (squash). There was also pile of smaller green calabasas, framed by a set of spurs and a bridle. Nearby was a piece of canvas, part of feed sack, covered by multi-colored partially shucked corn. In another corner was a 55 gallon drum, full to the brim with stale tortillas. If I included all the wonderful photos I took at the mechanic's shop, I would have room for nothing else. It was literally a cornucopia of photographic opportunities.
This completes Part 1 of my two-part series about our adventures during the Tapalpa Waterfall Expedition. I always enjoy hearing from people, so if you would like to leave a comment, you can do so in the Comments section below, or email me directly. If you leave a question in the Comments section, PLEASE leave your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim