San Miguel de Allende

We left Mexico City in the early afternoon via a shuttle service bajiogo that offered concierge pick up at our bed and breakfast and arrived at our airbnb in San Miguel de Allende just in time to catch our first sunset. Nestled in the hills of SMA and just a 10 minute walk to the centro historico, we had this view for the next 4 days and immediately made ourselves right at home.

Su casa es mi casa, si?

918C9FBF-4F24-433D-AC9B-D588979624EBSan Miguel de Allende is a quaint colonial town about 3.5 hours northwest of Mexico City. Known for its Spanish influence, breathtaking sunsets, enchanting puertas, and quite frankly the largest population of white privileged senior citizens outside of The Villages, Florida…It’s no wonder this charming cobblestone town has its own alluring appeal.

5EC1440C-24D3-4C36-B2D5-A6B24B4FE743

At night this town sparkles, music and dancing fill the cobblestone streets, and every other day is a cause for celebration. Fireworks and cannons echo through the valley creating a symphony of sound and color that washes over you while you dream of churros y chocolate.

A2F64EDE-69DB-4F35-B6A7-8C9E85F58880

But first, Andy’s tacos. I ate here a few times because who wouldn’t? This food truck serves what I would call expatriate sized tacos al pastor and immediately became my late night comida crush. Located on Insurgentes near the corner of Hidalgo. You want to go there.

63162F43-10F0-408E-9CE9-DCD71F900501

The next morning we awoke naturally to the sound of rooster’s crowing. It really does work. We had a promising day filled with hiking pyramids and exploring canyons on horseback and our morning view ensured us that the day was off to a good start. San Miguel wakes up slowly.  As we headed into town for breakfast around 7 am the streets were empty with a few delivery trucks making their morning rounds.

84913C9E-04EF-4EBE-95EE-848FE966383E

But first desayuno. We grabbed a bite to eat at Cafe de la Parroquia

80B7651A-8032-429E-A93D-212EB064749C

and dined al fresco.

C82D6829-E23F-4695-9BCF-3265CF0A2C9A

Buenos dias huevos rancheros.

8094BE8A-1BF6-484F-8CFB-1014B3CA595A

After breakfast we strolled around the town square known to the locals as el jardin. The blush neo-gothic spires of Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel make for an easy backdrop against the perfectly manicured laurel trees. I was coral crushing hard.

ADEB5358-90FF-4E48-A6FC-B9E0489E61F3

The best part of our trip was our excursion to Canada de la Virgin with Albert Coffee Tours. We met in a hotel lobby with roughly a dozen other like-minded tourists and headed via van to the official site pick-up. There we met a few others where we then merged onto a bus and were instructed on the process to visit this newly discovered pyramid ruin.  It goes like this…

930D216D-470A-45A6-B73E-580F019696B6

Opened to the public in 2011 Cañada de la Virgen was discovered in the late 70’s on a German family’s private property. Imagine the politics involved having this site recognized by the Mexican government as a historical site…so it wasn’t until the 90’s that the excavation process finally began. Due to the pyramid being located on private property–one bus that seats roughly 26 people is allowed on site at a time.

There are still many unknown secrets about this civilization who inhabited these valleys from 540-1050 A.D.  Albert Coffee was the most informative guide and extremely passionate about this discovery. In fact, he was involved in one of the excavation phases in the early 2000’s.

13650EC8-6162-423F-B8C4-35FAA438B62B

Scientists still do not know much about the people who inhabited this area but it is clear that their mathematical, astronomical, and architectural contributions were highly developed equally rivaling those of the Mayans. Discoveries show this culture worshiped the moon. The pyramid itself serves as a massive astrological clock. It is architecturally precisely aligned to calculate the phases of the moon. Over the course of the lunar calendar the moon moves up and down these stairs mathematically dictating key phases of the lunar calendar. It’s absolutely astronomical!

F4E858FC-D295-48F6-8C44-961BE7CF1D96

Scientists believe this site could have served as a learning grounds for astronomers and priests.

B959AA3E-F137-41E0-A6D5-7B4D83282D21

For instance, this ‘sunken patio’ served as a water mirror where the priests could study the stars.

CF2245F4-0F7B-458F-86F6-A6594A22B037

el pirámide

A7B732AD-2894-4138-AFDF-C1988A4BD0D1

Our tour with Albert from start to finish was close to 4 hours. I highly recommend booking one of his tours! I had also arranged through him a horseback excursion through the canyons afterwards. Vaquero Leo met us at the site pick-up and brought us to his family’s hacienda, Xotolar Ranch which has been in his family for four generations. His great-grandfather bought the property after profiting from the silver mine rush at the end of the 19th century and they’ve been ranching ever since.

We enjoyed a home cooked meal with the Morin familia. We sampled nopales for the first time, nibbled on sopas, and had the best enchiladas to date.

A19CCFAF-26FD-4878-BD73-F8880E6FFC5F

Leo and his Tio shared some family stories around la mesa.

2DAA4E3E-291A-47D5-B493-B7F41CC6D8D7

After the most satisfying comida, we were ready to saddle up and explore the canyons of San Miguel de Allende.

5F2EA076-A21E-4B25-96DF-F640C17F4226

It was a beautiful ride through the canyons.

A132B1AC-9547-4956-9E5B-79E4ECC37613

We galloped…

AFD76453-2B0F-4E17-B8A4-2284BD53E83B

trotted…

65260001-AFF7-4DA3-B0B5-8B52F3837A38

There was some rocky terrain…

065234A1-1D61-4082-BB43-DD8106FD8724

but nothing a vaquero can’t handle.

7447E294-9DA9-4B85-97A3-F223CBE4D9E8

Half way we refreshed at a tiendita. Leo laughed when I told him we call tienditas bodegas in Philly. He said why would you call a little store a barn?

6EB24F6B-8557-4DDD-9493-F8AFDD9028D7

We made our way back to the Morin hacienda just as the sun began to set behind the hills.

8258B7B4-FA30-4E46-B882-A65D236D6823

Mi caballo Zopilote 

An immersive day spent learning about the history of the people, the true meaning of familia,  the understanding of the land, and the beauty of this country.

36BBA964-545A-46B2-8976-946785AA963E

The next day was Palm Sunday and and the kick off to Semana Santa. And believe you me, the Mexican people know how to throw down a Catholic celebration. We strolled into town and met up with the entire pueblo of SMA as they made their pilgrimage down to the town square.

EB31C3A4-C6D5-46D0-B833-8BA401A6CF2C

My favorite part of Mexico was witnessing the importance family plays in this culture.

B44A23DC-E4B2-43CB-BBF4-9D2DD3DC99DD

Exploring the cobblestone streets of San Miguel.

AE6EAC77-736F-4316-B565-B22ACAB132C6

One distinct characteristic of San Miguel are the unique doors throughout the town.

9800ACEE-683F-4FC1-BDC1-76DD86B03B1C

That neo-gothic blush spire though….

F02E5C6B-89B9-432A-AADD-F326548494C3

Picture perfect in el jardin

AC6AB816-4E77-4081-B20B-9EB87A737FF0

That evening we settled for a restaurant that offered roof top dining. The food wasn’t anything special.

D85BF0D5-0101-45BD-9979-96D3966A61C2

But the sunset views were worth it.

8E5E0431-0107-4914-90BC-3DB5CF9A9885

Our last day full day in San Miguel we spent exploring the mercados.

04FFE625-0B87-47FA-B4DC-756989DE0BEF

Each day our walk into town led us down an undiscovered alley…

DD5D521A-F33A-4352-AE2F-8B938AFCBAC7

and around a colorful corner…

854E15AA-A832-41A3-95B2-C523E5B467CA

which always led to a dramatic door.

Las puertas de San Miguel de Allende.

6EF9A719-9EA1-4397-9F8D-B3251C3AC1BE

And somehow always back to el jardin.

DA3C2997-A59C-4777-98EC-CADAD6CC7DB2

Where my favorite castle iglesia lies.

F96412FD-F091-455A-AA55-D480290252A9

I can’t forget to mention the often overlooked Iglesia de San Rafael that shares the courtyard with old blush.

FEEFDD44-1E32-4C72-991A-A8DC642D2CF6

El jardin is always bustling mid day. Nieves and jugos carts circle the square–lined with children anxiously squirming for a cold, refreshing treat.

2E8A5826-6F9F-4DFD-AE4A-E4C0DCB696ED

Women walk the town selling these precious dolls.

9D7EACDD-A016-4144-BD5F-30D37B7A9378

 I became obsessed with their colorful tehuana traje. I may have purchased a small tribe.

F560D9F3-4751-4288-9FBC-D48EC7D0EADF

kitty

6A913AB6-FF62-4BD0-ADD1-844E05831926

If our time spent in Mexico has taught us anything, it’s this one simple rule: when in Mexico visit all the mercados.

Siempre.

Mercado Ignaci Ramirez hit the comida spot and I could spend an entire day at Mercado de Artesenia.

5E0F9452-1092-4A83-A405-9C671BB97D18

Hydrating before my shopping spree…

45db6c672c7eca1168a40ed7fae143f3

I mentioned my thirst for shopping and I was not kidding. Mercado de Artesania in my humble opinion is truly the heart of San Miguel.

sma

Located in an alley between Mercado Ignacio Ramirez and Calle Loreto, spanning 6 or 7 blocks–this market showcases an array of SMA’s trademark stamped tin, ceramics covering every color of the rainbow, dia los muertos paper-mâché in every shape and size, and so much more. I spent a solid 2 hours wandering these alleyways. Making sure I acknowledged each booth–admiring every detail of art…which worked up quite the appetite!

A1BB3E05-2DFC-42BE-A4D4-708591619D1B

Hmmm, sandia agua fresca o horchata….

57E0BDA5-2DE8-4D55-9DA6-4ACB243FF614

Milanese torta y mi favorito, sandia agua fresca.

2D978CEE-0788-434E-A1A4-0930274DDDEE

Muy guapo.

17395998-8CB8-4EBE-80A6-BF464C868631

Tambien muy guapo.

27b98deb-d622-4518-89c9-5fd1e97732a1

After our adventurous appetite for mercados had been satiated, it was time for una siesta and then cervezas at cantina El Gato Negro. We love a good dive bar experience and this watering hole serves Victoria by the pesos.

62968D78-A8F8-4705-B6B5-6BBA91CA739C

One last costume change in Mexico. Even our airbnb doors have a story to tell.

20180326_171809

 It’s all downhill from here.

C22F44F8-9E50-4CA3-B374-02C4E4446FBA

I thought we would enjoy our last sunset from The Rosewood Hotel’s Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar. Note to self: I thought wrong. This property boasts having the best views and upon approaching the hotel we could see the terrace was relatively empty– with just a few dotted silver heads. (Remember, you can’t escape the elderly in SMA.) Perfect timing to catch our last sunset on a Monday evening, right?

Nada.

This boujie business insisted on a 45 minute wait–ironically the exact amount of time needed to miss the sun setting.

For such a small town this shouldn’t be an exclusive experience. I don’t recommend supporting this establishment, but if you’re one of those who insist IG is better than real life… just make sure you’ve made a reservation.

934E77D0-8388-4792-9639-97EB2921F2EA

Instead I recommend to opt for the adjacent restaurant…

4650CCAB-1438-46A1-A9AE-CFCB2D68FC66

with the handsome vaquero

215F263C-F8AD-4D64-A067-35EFC9FE1BF1

and an unpretentious view without the wait.

Adios San Miguel.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s