Our next adventure away from Lakeside took us through the colonial city of Colima and town of Comala, on our way to the beach. We knew that there was much more to experience in this area than we had time to see, so a second trip will definitely be in order. We spent just a short overnight stay in Colima, so we felt as if we had just scratched the surface of this colonial city of roughly 130,000 people.
Approximately 45 minutes outside of Colima are two volcanos, one inactive, that stands at 14,200 feet and the most active volcano in Mexico, El Volcan de Fuego, hovers at 13,488 feet. Explosive activity occurs on a regular basis and we attempted to drive as close as we could in hopes of seeing some of this activity. Not much was happening during our visit.
One of the beautiful plazas in the city that we visited was that of Jardin Libertad, the plaza that was bordered by the Colima Cathedral and Palacio Gobierno, as well as the Hotel Ceballos (a Best Western hotel) and the Museo Regional, the regional museum that we found to be quite fascinating.
We decided to enjoy a leisurely lunch at a sidewalk cafe outside the Hotel Ceballos before venturing across the plaza to explore the Museo Regional.
The region around Colima is famous for the clay dog figurines sculpted by the Nahuatl who settled in this area. Perros cebados (round dogs) ceramic artifacts have been discovered in abundance throughout the city and many were on display in the Museo Regional, which bordered the south side of Jardin Libertad.
In the majority of Mesoamerican cultures, the dog was revered and thought to hold mystic powers. They had utilitarian uses as well. Fat, hairless, short-legged dogs were often used for food, while more slender, longer-legged creatures were used to ensure that those who died could be reborn in the afterlife. Dogs of this type were placed in the tombs of the recently deceased to guide the departed soul safely to the next world. Ceramic dogs were often used for this purpose. Dogs were also believed to safeguard homes from evil spirits and intruders.
This well-known Dancing Dogs statue, Perritos Bailarines, can be seen in a glorieta (traffic circle) on the outskirts of town, giving tribute to the importance of the dog throughout the centuries.
There were many other interesting artifacts and sculptures in the museum, depicting various time periods, along with a beautiful mural:
The focal point of the mural is that of the god of El Volcan de Fuego, demonstrating his power, while the female god of the dormant volcano sleeps under her snow-capped peak. Gods of the sun and the moon are also reflected in this piece.
Not unlike other colonial cities, beautiful and sometimes unusual sculptures dot the landscape.
This statue, welcoming tourists to the city, is aptly named Figura Obscena, and is the work of Mexican sculptor Jose Luis Cuevas. It represents a man on his hands and knees, with one leg lifted in the gesture of marking his territory. I wonder what message this artist is attempting to send? As one might imagine, it is a controversial piece amongst the local population.
Another interesting and much more conservative sculpture can be seen outside one of the municipal buildings on the periphery of the city.
Prior to heading to Comala, we stopped at another beautiful plaza across the city, where gardens displayed a profusion of colors and textures.
A very well-known figure in Mexico’s independence from Spain, priest Miguel Hidalgo shown with the symbolic “breaking of the chains of oppression”.
A funeral was being held in the church directly across from the plaza. Once this service ended, the procession to the cemetery commenced on foot, with family and friends walking behind the hearse.
A beautiful stained-glass window adorned the entrance to the Gobierno Principalia, the licensing building across from the plaza.
We are now ready to head to Comala, but first Rosie and I decide that one last look at the map is prudent, given the lack of street signs in the city. You could easily drive around in circles without a map, particularly if I were your directionally challenged navigator!
Comala is a charming little town located a couple of kilometers outside the city of Colima. The one difference we identified immediately upon entering the town limits was that the buildings in and around the plaza were white, unless the brightly colored buildings in so many other cities. This did not detract at all from its beauty or charm.
Restaurants line the plaza, offering free botanos (snacks) with just a drink order. We dined at Los Portales, where the appetizers were tasty and abundant.
And yet, another lovely little plaza with a church bordering the gardens.
Having been nourished by our botanos at Los Portales, it is time to head to the beach, but not before we investigate Zona Magica, which we had read about but could not fathom. There is a section of road just outside Comala, where if you stop at the bottom of what “appears” to be an incline and place your vehicle into neutral, a “force” will pull you up the incline. We tested this several times and, sure enough, we were pulled up the hill. Is this a scientific fact or is this just an illusion? We will never know!