*Due to the water damage my MacBook obtained, I am unable to access writing and photos from our last month or so in Mexico. The post I wrote on Las Pozas in Xilitla, as well as my Nikon photos from San Miguel and Guanajuato are all on my external hard drive which I can’t access until I return home and buy a new laptop. I have a few iPhone photos so the rest of the Mexico posts will have to get by with these photos for now and I will update once I get home!*
As the bus rolled along the mountain roads from Xilitla to San Miguel, the scenic views changed from lush jungle mountains to the rolling desert hills and the brown scorched lands of the Guanajuato region. It was a long, quiet empty bus ride and we arrived after dark. A taxi took us to our hostel, creatively named ‘Hostel Inn’. It was just outside the old city centre in a perfect location and we had a 12 bed dorm room all to ourselves! The staff were lovely and we were lucky enough to makes friends with one staff member, the lovely Anel, a person who personifies the Mexican people – kindhearted, friendly, helpful, funny and an amazing cook! We shared a charcuterie board with her that we made one night and brought it to her at the front desk while she worked, and she returned the favour another night by making oh so yummy tacos dorados and crema de Chile poblano soup – what a treat!
I didn’t really want to be moving around too much our last couple of weeks in Mexico so we spent a wonderful ten days in this pretty city. It has a very bohemian feel to it – but is undoubtedly an expat city. I think I saw more old white women with bleached blond hair, wide rimmed hats, flowy dresses and bad tans, than I did Mexican’s which was rather unsettling for us since for most our entire time in Mexico we didn’t see this anywhere else.
Our main reason for coming to San Miguel was that it was known to be an excellent foodie city. Our favourite! The city itself is beautiful, the old centre is all cobble stone streets and colourful two story buildings lining the streets. And of course, the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel – the breathtaking new-gothic church in the centre of it all. The pink stone towers and spires stretch high into the sky, standing proud over the city. She is the pride and joy of this bustling little town and there is always activity in the main square where she resides.
Our time in the city was spent wandering the streets, tossing the football in school fields, and finding the best places to eat. We found a few recommendations online and stumbled into a few others in our wanderings. Nectar cafe is a gorgeous little veranda style garden that has hummingbird feeders everywhere ensuring your lunch will be shared with and endless flutter of tiny hummingbirds. You could spend hours here admiring these wonderful creatures buzz about while enjoying some of their delicious food. Prices are a bit steep by Mexican standards, but the quality is top notch and the show is well worth it! Bring a book, get a pot of tea and spend the afternoon among the hummingbirds!
Another favourite was Luna de Queso. We stumbled into this cute little shop lured by the promise of cheese. We ended up staying for delicious deli sandwiches and smoothies – which had us returning the very next day, especially for their hot chilli oil which could only be tamed by their delicious smoothies, and even then, the burn seemed to linger for hours, but I couldn’t resist, the masochist that I am! They had a shop attached that sold imported pastas, cheese, salami and other boutique goods, so we decided to stock up on some groceries to make a delicious and romantic Italian inspired Valentine’s dinner, as this is where we’d be spending the 14th. Being on the road makes me miss and crave things you love most – and for me that’s a decadent cheese platter. Don’t get me wrong, I was in heaven with the Oaxaca cheese that we were excessively indulging in whilst in Mexico, I just missed some of the hard sharp cheeses from home, I missed the variety of cheese – so this was a treat beyond measure! We next headed to a large local market to see what other goodies we could add to our lovely dinner and came home with a bag of fresh strawberries and figs! Fresh figs! What a treat! And of course some cherry tomatoes. We feasted on our charcuterie as an appetizer and then had fresh bread and pesto pasta using some yummy cherry tomatoes from the market. It was divine – celebrating a western holiday Italian food style while in Mexico! Why not?!
Between the lavender coffee at Lavanda cafe, yummy Mexican breakfast at Cafe Oso Azul and rooftop tacos at La Azotea (known for their delicious taco with jicama as the shell…!), we wandered those narrow and colourful streets of San Miguel de Allende admiring the way the greenery and blooming flowers crawled up the facades of the those colourful walls. We got lost in the cobblestones streets, found amazing street tacos while walking home in the dark and wandered through every shop that caught our eye (and that means a lot of shops, as this town in a gem for shopping!).
But without a doubt, the highlight in San Miguel de Allende was when we stumbled into the festival ‘Dia de las Cascarones’ (or ‘Carnival’ as it is affectionately referred to by many locals) and it is indeed their version of the famous festival. But the fun here is that thousands of eggs have been drained and filled with confetti (and sometimes flour!) and everyone runs around like mad smashing them onto each other’s heads! Yes, it is as wild and fun as it sounds! It was mostly locals and the kids who were of course having the best of it- and we knew we had to get involved. I wasn’t sure if people would be receptive to tourists joining in- but boy was I wrong- we became everyone’s main target once they saw were game! We spent over an hour running around like mad, chasing people, being chased, trying to mash these brittle confetti eggs all over peoples heads. Sometimes you would get ganged up on and five people would ambush you all at once! We left the main square covered in confetti, flour and a slight headache, but our hearts were full from the fun and the laughter of being able to partake in such a fun local festival. To top it off we stopped for tacos from the street vendor on the way home so our bellies matched our full hearts.
I see why people love this city – it is undeniably beautiful, colourful, lively, and a very easy place to be as a tourist or an ex-pat/immigrant. Not to mention the food scene is excellent!
But after ten days, we were definitely ready to move on to our last destination – Guanajuato city!