And again about little-known Mexico. About places where Mexicans come to vacation. Today is a report about our trip to Totolapan in the state of Morelos. Totolapan is a small village with a population of only about 10,000 people. Some inhabitants of the capital have summer houses here, where they grow mostly nispero and bananas.
The name of the village can be translated as “birds on water and bread” because the word “Totolapan” comes from the words totoltli (“bird”), atla (“water”) and pan (“bread”). Totolapan’s coat of arms depicts a bird in water.
We went to Totolapan from Mexico City for half a day. Before lunch we had a “tour” of the market in the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City.
This was my first “foray” into a Mexican market, and what struck me were the enormous size pork rinds, which are called “chicharon” in Spanish. You can buy them by the weight. Later I saw chicharones sold in cups or in paper bags in the tourist areas of Mexico City, such as Coyoacán. You can also add chili peppers and lemon juice to the chicharones.
The second thing that caught my eye was the huge number of icons. Virtually every vendor has an icon in their workplace, and often more than one. As I said before, Mexico is one of the most religious countries in the world.
Nearby is a small flower market where they sell the Christmas star. The festive and New Year’s version is a red “nochebuena” (so it sounds in Spanish), but generally in Mexico, in the states of Morelos, Michoacán and Puebla, they grow white, yellow, brown, orange and marbled. Mexicans themselves joke that the Christmas star (whose national name is Cuetlaxochitl) is even a bigger symbol of Mexico than the Palace of Fine Arts.
So, after we wandered around the market, after lunch we went by car to Totolapan. On the way we stopped to take pictures of the beautiful scenery.
We had lunch at a roadside cafe with a sign “Quick Food” (Comida corrida). Alas, Mexican food, except for a few things, I don’t like. Opposite was my favorite corn, but still in raw form, the woman said she was going to cook it and sell it after 9 p.m. By the way, many non-tourist places in Mexico start selling street food at night. And Mexicans themselves like to “eat dinner” at 9-10 p.m. or later.
A little more about Mexican street food: there is a version of corn and boiled chicken feet. In a large vat, the corn kernels are boiled along with the chicken feet and sometimes the stomachs. Then they put the boiled corn kernels and legs in a bowl, pour the broth over them and maybe sprinkle some more pepper. Yummy!
But back to the trip. In the central square of Totolapan – the main and, in fact, the only point of interest – one of the oldest in Mexico, the cathedral (formerly a monastery) Convento de San Guillermo, built in 1545. During Lent (last Friday), pilgrims from all over the country come to this temple to take part in a religious festival around the famous crucifix “Apparition of Christ”, which is located in this church. The altar of the Convento de San Guillermo is decorated in a neoclassical style, the façade decorated with Christian symbols of Augustinian origin.
Opposite the cathedral is a market with an assortment not unlike that of the capital. There are no tourists here, so many locals were looking at us with genuine interest.
On the square there is a stunning view of the second highest peak in Mexico after Citlaltépetl (Pico de Orizaba) – Popocatépetl volcano. We wandered around the center some more, it quickly got dark, and after admiring the colorful sunset, we returned to Mexico City.
What else to see in and around Totolapan
Deer Ecological Park (Parque Ecoturístico Los Venados)
This beautiful 15 hectare place was originally created to protect the Mexican white-tailed deer. Now the park has everything for family activities: wooden cabins, a restaurant, camping and playgrounds, and an area with a “gentle” deer that you can feed.
Park mode: every day from 9:00 to 20:00.
Cost of admission: adults: 35 pesos; children: 20 pesos.
Parque Ejidal San Nicolás Totolapan
This is a whole forest area where you can see the characteristic perennial oaks of the region. The park was created on the initiative of Magdalena Contreras, a local resident. There are excellent cycling paths, horseback riding, fishing (there are trout in the lake), pony, goat, sheep, chickens, cows and breeding animals on the farm, etc.
Mode of operation of the park:
- weekdays – 08.00-17.00
- weekend – 07.00-18.00
The cost of admission – 15 pesos.