Years ago friends of ours told us we should go to San Miguel de Allende, a little city about 170 miles northwest of Mexico City. It was supposed to be beautiful, but who has time, especially when there are all those beaches to go to? So, with one week between our last beach stop and our visit to Costa Rica, we decided it was time to go to San Miguel.Wow. It must be the most beautiful city in Mexico, and so atmospheric. The city started to get a reputation as an artist’s retreat after World War II and a growing number of foreign artists started to move there. Today, estimates that there are some 12,000 foreigners – many of them retirees, with a quality of life they could never afford in the U.S. – living there. It was only when we got there that you could really appreciate the attraction, particularly for an artist.
We were there for rain and shine, morning and evenings, they were all beautiful. Narrow, hilly cobblestone lanes. Spectacular Spanish colonial architecture. Bougainvilleas and other flowers everywhere. It was almost too beautiful to be true. In fact, because of the thousands of ex-pat retirees living there, the joke is that it’s starting to become more Disneyland than Mexico. If so, I’m OK with that.
And did I mention the weather? Even though it’s early November, much of Mexico of course remains hot. Not San Miguel, though. At over a mile in elevation, it has a wonderful spring-like climate through much of the year. Cool mornings and evenings, pleasantly warm during the day.Along with all the tourists and American & Canadian retirees comes some darned good restaurants. Every day we had our pick of gorgeous places, usually with good food and even good cocktails. We treated ourselves one night with some of the best mezcal-based margaritas I’ve ever had (we usually avoid them because of the sugar). I’ve decided, in fact, that if I ever am given the power to name one cuisine that I can eat without adding pounds – just one – it would be Mexican.
But wait, there’s more! Since you’re out in the middle of Mexico, why not go horseback riding? Check. And mountain biking? Check. Amusingly, while we’re far more experienced with bikes than horses, it was the bikes that threw us (me twice) while we stayed on the horses. Go figure.
This is our last stop in Mexico until January, when we head to Puerto Vallarta so Mark can study Spanish and I can get some serious beach time. Tomorrow we’re off to Costa Rica.