San Miguel de Allende, The Heart of Mexico

When people ask me to name my favorite place in the world, I always say “it depends on the criteria.” But I am staying in a place right now that meets almost any criteria.

San Miguel de Allende, about 4 hours drive northwest of Mexico City, seems to have magically leveraged every one of its advantages to become a nearly perfect place to live and visit. Its 60,00 residents and many more tourists enjoy a nearly perfect climate, miles of cobblestone streets, historic buildings in warm colors, and music around every corner.  Weekends are full of small happy parades, church bells and fire works. Thousands of writers, artists, intellectuals and musicians are on one side or the other of daily author events, concerts, films and art galleries.  Cultural diversity is celebrated and the countryside is full of horses.

There is something here that has tuned out the rest of the troubled world. No wonder San Miguel been called the best city in the world by travel experts (and my sister Kathy, who lived here in the 1970s.)

San Miguel’s mask museum tells a thousand stories of Mexican heritage

The city was originally settled by Friar Juan de San Miguel in the 16th century, and prospered with the mining of silver. It was colonized by Spaniards until Mexico gained its independence in 1821. Today it remains authentically Mexican but it’s loaded with aging gringos.  Some find that to be San Miguel’s only flaw but, realistically, it is part of what distinguishes this city. Left-leaning retirees help support the local economy and the arts, and they do a lot of volunteer work as well.

There is art and wearable art for every budget in San Miguel. These custom made boots start at about $400. But I bought a pair of San Pedro beauties for $50.

Detail of one of hundreds of indoor and outdoor murals around the city

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hats are a thing here because of the intense sun at 6,000 feet altitude.

Lots of great food, Mexican, updated Mexican and almost everything else

One cafe owner has made a name for himself entertaining the rest of us with his humorous jabs at US politics.

View outside the window of my first apartment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thousands of locals and tourists gather every day in El Jardin to enjoy the music and the food and each other. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And San Miguel seems to be a continuous fiesta of one kind or another.  Here are a few shots of today’s parade. 

San Miguel esta en mi corazon tambien!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 comments

  1. Your blogs are becoming so professional Kim! Beautiful photos and so many neat things to do there. I love how rich the colors are.

  2. Loved reading this, Kim! Fantastic photos. You captured San Miguel so perfectly, it almost makes me feel like I’m there. 😉

  3. I remember you mentioned this city before plus I’ve read about it too. Love the photos! Especially love the t-shirt with all the great Trump buttons. 😀

      1. Thanks Kim! I went back to SMA in 1996 and had a great time. A large textile piece about my experience living there in 1975 came out of that trip. It was very healing to go back. The worst part of my experience was how it kept me from doing my art for about 15 years until I returned to art school in the 90’s and finally received my degree in textiles.

        Enjoy!

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