Sopa Tarasca

My brief stay in Patzcuaro, in the state of Michoacan on my way back to Guadalajara was a pilgrimage of sorts.  I had already been there twice on school trips.  One evening during my last visit about 9 years ago, we were served sopa tarasca (Tarascan soup).  This delicious bean and tomato based broth is served with crunchy tortilla strips and topped with sour cream and fresh cheese.  This simple dish had an awakening effect, changing my undecided feelings toward Mexico into something profound.  You could say that evening I realized that I loved this country, especially the small towns with their little squares, cobblestone streets, and majestic cathedrals.  This is the colonial Mexico that I had a hard time finding when I first crossed the border, where I only encountered grimy young highway towns that had little soul.

As juniors in highschool, we were allowed to explore the town in the evening unsupervised.  As an adolescent, the feeling of independence was huge, despite the fact that we had to be back before curfew.  I wanted to go back and see the town again, and of course find some sopa tarasca, which I did, and which was as delicious as I remembered it.

[Continue reading for more photos.  Click here to see the whole Patzcuaro flickr album]

I spent two nights in Patzcuaro.  I wandered around for a little after getting off the bus, and found my way to a cheap hotel on one of the squares.  The hotel was on the second story of the building, and the courtyard had skylights that looked down into the pool hall below.

Pool Hall

I spent the night walking around, eating a torta from one of the many street stalls (and survived just fine thank you).



The next morning I walked around town, enjoying the architecture.  All of the buildings in the historic center are painted with a deep red stripe, and the lettering for the businesses are all hand-painted in red and black.  Most of the roofs are covered in ceramic shingles.



As is usual with such an old town, the courtyards hidden behind old doors are quaint and charming.


A visit to the public library, which has an impressive mural.

Bocanegra Library

Stars and Stripes

The picture for the Ushuaia entry from an encyclopedia from the 70′s.


I felt my $12 hotel room was a little too expensive, so I moved to the hotel around the corner where I scored a nice little room for $8.  Of course, it had a floor made out of glass tiles, directly above the lobby downstairs.

Glass Floor

Then late in the afternoon, a ferry ride to Janitzio Island, in the middle of Lake Patzcuaro.


Isla de Janitzio

A climb to the top of the Morelos monument.

Inside Morelos

An cold and overcast day, but nice views nonetheless.

Lake Patzcuaro

I’m back in Guadalajara for a few days before I take off again.

9 comments to Sopa Tarasca

  • Andreas

    Hey man! Glad to see that you’re doing well. Great photos and good writing, as always. Say hi to the family and good luck with the biking ahead of you. Hugs from R.I./Sweden.

  • Cooper

    Wow, rad pictures Matto. That must have been really awesome to see a place you last saw so young. Keep truckin’

  • Jay Nordstrom

    Really enjoy the pictures Matt, one of them reminds me of an old Clint Eastwood film (Fist Full of Dollars). Keep writing and taking pictures it always very interesting, stay safe. Jay

  • Aaron

    Fun stories and pics, primo. Looking forward to seeing you when you get to Guatemala! Antigua (where we are) is also a colonial town – very similar to the pics. Stay safe!

  • Vinayak Marwah

    You made me hungry. Tomatoes, Beans, Crispy Tortilla :-) , I had Chicken Tortilla Soup sometime back Corn, Jalapeños, Red Roasted pepper, Crispy Tortilla. You are post are my eyes to the world I would love to see some day, I have enjoyed your posts a lot, and pictures are amazing. Only thing I can compare it to it “Voyage of the beagle – Charles Darwin” except for his study of natural ecology. I wanna do something really crazy, I would love to catchup with you somewhere. You are a big inspiration. Keep going on. High five

  • Jill Lind

    Hey Matthew,

    You are making me miss Mexico with your vivid descriptions. Hope you are having a great time. We miss you here in Chi-town.
    Love, the Linds

  • Ty and Leah McGee

    Great pictures, Matt. I never seem to catch you gchat but it’s good to read your updates and live a bit vicariously. Keep enjoying the homeland.

  • hey matt you didn´t happen to live and boulder at one time and be a teacher¿ we will probably cross paths at some point on our trips as everything narrows down – i will keep track thru your site and my blog is a good indicator of my location – what a blast. but i haven´t run into any other cycists but my route seems to be a little off the cycled path – definitely gettin´that impression from the locals anyhow. you don´t know yer having fun til you fall down – greg

  • cass

    hey matt, looks like a great little spot. am heading on for zacatecas tomorrow, looking forward to (finally) hitting central mexico! how are the hill’s treating you?

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