Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yellow Brick Road

Reaching the high point of the tour, just outside of Sevina, the group sailed down to Lake Zirahuen for a little rumble over some serious cobble-stone, some hand-made tortillas by the lake, and one of my favourite little stretches of road. In an attempt to lend a mystical quality to the ride, Basil calls it the yellow brick road. It's not yellow and it doesn't lead to the emerald city, but it does lead to a town specializing in something almost as precious.

Four tracts of handmade brick gently roll away from the cobbles of Zirahuen over emerald pastures that gracefully sweep away from the lazy morning mists of Lago de Zirahuen. At the end of this 12km traffic free journey you are rewarded with a visit to one of Michoacan's many colonial gems the copper capital of Mexico: Santa Clara del Cobre.

Copper use in the Meseta Purepecha has Pre-Colombian roots and this village has been a copper town for many centuries. Passing through the showrooms and workshops it is obvious that the talent has been fostered throughout the ages. Sinks, wall hangings, range hoods, head boads, bathtubs, intricate vases, pots, and jewelery, these hand-hammered pieces are individual works of art. I always leave wishing I had a home to bedeck with copper everything. It is not unusual to find foreign artisans studying the art of copper smithing and it is well worth a visit to the copper museum to view the collection of award winning pieces that this village produces

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