San Miguel de Allende is another colonial city in the mountains of Guanuajuato state dating back to 1541. Like Guanuajuato it’s spread out over the surrounding hills, but nowhere as steep as Guanuajuato. It’s a very popular with gringo tourists and many US and Canadian citizens live here year round. I’m told that it is about a 10 hour drive straight north from here to the US border, which all of the expats have to do every 180 days to renew their tourist cards and vehicle import permits.
It’s rainy and cold when I arrive but everyone tells me it won’t last, the weather is supposed to be very nice here during the winter. “It’s like the Hawaii of Mexico” one woman tells me. I spend a rainy Saturday afternoon sitting in The Beer Company, a tiny place with about 4 tables and 12 chairs. There are a bunch of Americans and Canadians here drinking beer, eating peanuts, and watching MTV’s hits of the 80s. It’s good to spend some time talking to people in English for a change. After talking to some of the expats about living here I do a little research and it seems too good to be true, houses or large apartments for 800US/month including utilities and maid service. It’s a long way to the nearest beach so maybe that keeps the prices down.
La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel is the largest and most distinctive of the many old churches in town, off the Plaza Allende in the center of town.
This is another great town for walking around. Lots of narrow cobblestoned streets with tons of cool little restaurants and shops.
Despite being the middle of winter it’s very lush, the buildings are covered with colorful vines and plants.
Apart from shops and restaurants which are open on the street side, most places are built around interior courtyards.
The food is great, as always. Since there are so many expats and tourists here you can find pretty much any kind of restaurant: Thai, Indian, Italian. I’m mostly sticking with traditional Mexican since it’s so good, although I did get a great margarita pizza one night. Here are some delicious nachos.
I’m camping in a tiny RV park about 10 minutes walk from the city center. It has space for maybe 10 RVs/campers in between tennis courts on each side. There is a nice German couple staying next to me, they say they have been there for a month waiting for a new water pump for their German popup camper van. My wakeup call at 8:30 every morning is the pock-pock of tennis balls coming from the court behind me.
I originally paid for 3 nights and was thinking about continuing on after that, but people keep telling me the weather will improve. The RV park/tennis courts have excellent wifi so I spend the rainy parts of the first few days catching up on US TV shows. As the week goes on the weather improves so I sign up for another 3 days, which turns into a week as they give you every 7th day free. By now I’m enjoying being in the same place for awhile. Even on rainy days there are a few sunny hours for walking around town. I find a bakery that makes an excellent European style baguette (Mexican bread is sorely lacking in crust and texture), a little place on the corner that sells a nice assortment of cheeses, most days I start my random walking through town at a candy shop on the Plaza Allende that has excellent chocolate chip cookies which go well with a strong black Mexican coffe.
One day there is a big parade and celebration. It’s one of the longest parades I have seen, every high school and civic group for miles around is in it.
The parade day was supposed to be my last, but the weather has finally turned for the better so I decide to stay for another 3 days, or 10 days total. My longest in one spot yet, but well worth it.