Thursday, January 28, 2016

Semana de Seis San Miguel de Allende

January 2016 - San Miguel de Allende Mexico

I thought I'd write some thoughts about spending time here in San Miguel de Allende.

Taxis cost $40 pesos to anywhere around town, This is really cheap and they are readily available.

I learned that the very average (good) salary here is around $1,000 pesos a week, in Cdn that would be $77 and in US dollars would be $59. Not a lot of money.

There are a lot of expats here, American and Canadian, they quickly "discovered" the town after the write-ups in fancy travel magazines like Conde Nast Traveler which chose SMA as the world's best city in 2013.

San Miguel has a temperate, semi-arid climate. There is little rainfall for most of the year, although summer is the wettest season. Winters can be cold at night, and summers are moderately hot. Spring is actually the hottest part of the year, but can be dusty. With over 320 days of sunshine each year, San Miguel de Allende is known for dramatic diurnal temperature swings - sometimes night time temperatures can fall by as much as 25°C.This sounds nice but the temperatures in January can drop to freezing overnight. It will be hot and sunny during the day but you need to have the clothes for the evenings.

Grocery shopping and the markets I will cover another time.

Now if you are renting a house here the cold can be a problem as these houses never heat up, so be prepared to have warm snuggly clothes for night time.

It is a very pretty town full of well-preserved buildings that have become home to various art institutions and galleries over the past 60 years and beautiful cathedrals and restaurants serve as the perfect backdrop for the many live music and arts events that visitors are likely to encounter.


We had a lazy day lounging in the garden while the gardener and maid did their work, it's a tough life and certainly not like at home.

The view from my chair.

Click here for Weekend Reflections
And here for Friday Finds

We headed out around 11AM and caught the bus downtown. It is worth it just to avoid trying to cross at the Mega roundabout!!! Will have to get a photo of it.

Taken on the bus as we are shaken to our bones between the topes (speed bumps) and the cobblestones on the ride. At 5 pesos, not complain'.

We had planned to head to the library where we told we could pick up a free local English newspaper about what's on. Then to the market.

However when we got off the bus we I didn't want to walk back up the steep hill on Canal so we thought we would go over to Insurgentes another way.

LOOK a church, San Juan de Dios!! The door is open in this photo but as we approach the cleaning lady is washing the floor and we don't dare step in, she locks the door a few minutes later.

John sighed and as we turned down the street we were outnumbered by school children finishing school for the day at noon. I'm assuming they were finished for the week as everyone had their huge backpacks with them. A row of carts greeted them selling everything from comic books to candies and sweet drinks.

We took a peek inside the school.

We continued down the street and came upon the second local market Mercado San Juan de Dios, the same name as the church. Guadalajara has a church and market with the same name.

Being serenaded while eating lunch and shopping.

Next time I am buying one of these chickens.


Fast food.

John ended up buying a bag so he can now cart all his own stuff instead of putting everything in my bag.

The library - I made a comment about the ex-pats in last week's post and I'm afraid the same stands. They (the Lululemon crowd) were all gathered there, in the courtyard, the library and the restaurant.
They love to dress as "artistes" with their berets.

I will feature the library murals separately.

Church of Santa Ana was open today as was San Felipe, but Mass was being said so we thought we'd come back, another day evidently. The churches get their own posts, on Sundays, of course.

 San Miguel refers to the founder of the city, Father Juan de San Miguel. The name of the town was changed in 1826 to San Miguel de Allende in order to honor Ignacio Allende, who was born here.
January 21 was the birthday of General Allende: Hero of National Independence so all weekend there are celebrations in Centro.

His statue in the square has flowers today.

We are told later today, by a tour guide, that because one of the horse's legs is lifted it means that the rider died in battle. Naturally I had to check this out and it is a myth.

We were hungry so wandered and finally found a menu that appealed to both of me us.
But first John had to stop and buy some Mexican cigars. Good price, so he tells me.

Reuben for John.

Cream cheese and smoked salmon on a bagel, the bagel was stale and too chewy but the salmon was delicious.

It was now 2:30 and thought it would be a good idea to take the tourist trolley around to see what we had missed not much  but it did take us up the steep, steep hill to the lookout.

It took us to the Jardin Juarez which we had been looking for the other day, we hadn't gone far enough.

The trolley car takes us to the lookout, not a walk for the faint-hearted.

Monument carved from a tree to honour Pedro Vargas, a Mexican singer and actor, from the golden age of Mexican cinema. He was known as the "Nightingale of the Americas".

We decided to ditch the tour, it was only heading back to where we started, and take advantage of being where we were and walk back to town. The sidewalks are narrow, buses are belching their way up the steep incline. You would think it would be an easy walk downhill.

A narrow side street.

Stopped into this hotel as mentioned by the tour guide.

Mural inside the hotel of local celebrities over the years.

Heading down.

Even though you're going downhill you still have to climb up and down.

Back at le Jardin where neatly manicured laurel trees provide shade. There are paths running through green areas and plenty of benches so you can have a seat and pass the time. Today it is very busy as it is Allende's birthday. The bandstand is decorated in celebration.

The mariachis are milling around. Thanks to John for this great shot! These aren't your usual mustachioed middle-age musicians!

Families are gathering.

Allende's house (now a museum) is all decked out for his festivities.

10,463 steps

Click here for more art at Saturday Snapshot in Mazatlan.
Headed out for the bus around 1 PM.

Too bad it was the wrong bus!! Crossed the street at Mega and got the right one. We got off at Instituto Allende, an art school. We had glimpsed the mural as we passed by on the bus.
I will save the close ups for a Monday Mural post.

John got these murals which were behind a gate.

Art for sale in a gallery.

Next door is this garden.

John, braving the traffic, to get some photos.

Store fronts are often identified by colour ribbons, as the town does not allow any blatant signage.

Some water fountains.

Lots of Mexican tourists in town, mainly from Mexico City and Loredo.

Mucho mariachis around to entertain you.

We stop for our requisite Michelada, this time in a place NOT frequented with gringos. And probably the best we've had so far in San Miguel.

Then onto our main goal of the day, the market. I'll do a detailed post about everyday grocery shopping soon.
First to the butcher for meat.

Then the market for fruit and vegetables.

Getting a cab wasn't easy, town was packed.
Picture from the cab.

Dinner was steak, frites and broccoli.


The two last football games until Super Bowl. Picked up ingredients to make our own Micheladas.

Just enjoyed the day and the garden.


Click here for Monday's Mural in Guadalajara
Monday's Walk in Guadalajara is here.
Check out the cool trees in Tlaquepaque.

It was a very cool and cloudy day so we changed our plans and spent it reading.

But we were busy watching the very industrious ants carrying leaves. There was a colony of worker ants transporting the leaves to an unknown destination.

Fajitas for dinner.


Still quite cool this morning as we walk over to Mega to get a cab to the Tuesday Market, El Tianguis.
It is windy so we have sweaters.jackets on.

$45 pesos later and we are dropped at this huge market, three football fields big.

There is so much for sale here, you name it. There are tables of clothing sold by the piece from $10 pesos to $20. Shoes, new and used.

Still quite cool out so changed our plans and spent the day relaxing and reading in the garden.
We also booked our flights home, March 16 PV to LA (used Amex points and travel credit so only cost around $200), overnight at the Hilton and then March 17 LA to Toronto on Air Canada using Cheapo Air, half price compared to booking with AC.

Did some laundry. The laundry room is outside the house.

The view as I hang the laundry.

Sitting on the upper deck, that nice glass door leads to our bedroom.

Week 5
Where We Are - San Miguel de Allende
Week 4
Where We Are - Guadalajara
Week 3
Week 2
Where We Are - Mazatlan Mexico
Week 1
Where We Are - LA


  1. The views from the lookout are amazing!

  2. I would love to do more than just visit Mexico, but to really stay and live for weeks. Your photos are incredible and I'm happy to really live it through your blog.


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