We drove a day and a half from the US border to San Miguel de Allende, one of our favorite stopover points driving through Mexico. This is our 5th visit to SMA, and a great place to take a breather and smell the fresh air.
On some trips we have spent a week or two here where we have taken intensive Spanish language classes,festivals and and once the “Day of The Dead” celebrations, as well as lots of strolling along the bustling streets and markets. If you don’t know, SMA is one of the more popular places for US and Canadian ex-pats to visit and settle. At 6000 feet, it has an “ideal” climate -- never too hot in the summer, and at this latitude, pleasantly warm in the winter. It is a haven for many artists and musicians with an active bilingual cultural life.
Each visit we scour the Artisans Market and pick up a few things for our palapa.
On Sunday we lingered in the main plaza and eavesdropped on a couple of the strolling mariachi bands.
Our regular rv place, La Siesta, is now under re-development, so we are very comfortably parked at the San Ramon Balianerio just a few kms up the road. As well as having a warm swimming pool and a hotel, it is a working farm with fields and animals on the property. It is just enough off the road to be peaceful in the evenings, and fortunately, does not have barking dogs and crowing roosters nearby, which always seem to be in the next yard in city parks.
Yesterday we took a day trip to Guanajuato and Dolores Hidalgo, two other special cities in this area.
Guanajuaoto (GTO) is a Unesco Heritage City, is set neatly in a valley of narrow winding streets, stairways and colorful buildings. It is also known for its university and cultural life.
We took the fanicular up to an overlook place for an amazing vista view. Susan suggested that it looks like looking into a bowl of brightly coloured candy.
In Guanajuato has a unique traffic system where virtually all traffic is diverted to underground tunnels, sort of a subway system, except for vehicles. They are dimly lit, narrow, and usually just one lane next to parked cars. We had a little help from a tourist guide who hopped on the back of the truck, calling out directions, “a la derecha” (right) “derecho” (straight), and “esquierda” (left) and led us to a parking garage near the plaza centro. At the parking garage, Don got out to guide me through the forward and back turning to get us around the tight turns and ramps up to the only available spot on the 5th level. Tunnel driving and parking garages -- just part of the adventure!
We drove back through Delores Hidalgo, which is the centre for the ceramic industry in Mexico. There are dozens of factories and warehouses with huge displays of their products. Once again we found a few items to add colourful Mexican winter home.