🇲🇽 San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 🇲🇽 June 2021
What a lovely, lovely town! Staying in Querétaro, I took a quick day trip to San Miguel, and my camera was going a mile a minute!!!! There was so much to see, so little time!
While walking from the bus station, I passed yellow and red and orange houses, small overhead bridges and lots of traffic.
There was a guy who rolled in on his 4 x 4 to the butcher to buy some of the chicken meat that had been cut up in front of him, next to the piles and piles of poultry stacked up on the front counter.
Women were grilling tortillas on the fiery, smoky grills, displayed just an inch too close to the sidewalk so that you might accidentally fry off your fingerprints while walking next to it.
The buildings were all concrete or lime stone, colorful, and mini covered in moss. The tall rosebushes towered overhead and created a beautiful border for walking through the cobblestone streets. Attractive, young moms were feeding their adorable, squishy-cheeked children ice cream, and hundreds of electrical wires hung slightly lower than what I was used to, creating a nice “local” feel to the electrical current 🤣
Split stairways led up to the entrances to most houses, and the hills started to become steep the closer that I got to the main square. (I visited in June, so Covid precautions were still in full swing, and everyone had to go through a little blowup doorway that that sprayed disinfectant on you, your belongings, your children, and your glasses haha, leading in to the main square.)
The very first church that I found was tall, cold, beautiful with high ceilings, and entirely empty. I was thrilled to get this ancient view all to myself. there were massive dark wood doors, ornately carved to tell stories, and show traditional designs leading into fancy walkways with rounded arched entrances and glittering chandeliers. There were tall buildings, decorated with stone borders and round windows and tiny balconies with tiny, intricate fences. There were colorful, flower-filled headbands, complete with glittery dust and rainbow ribbons hanging at the ends.
People walked around selling giant, flaky croissants, and doorways were beautifully decorated by bunches and bunches of mini fake flowers.
Everything smelled good, but in truth it did feel very touristy. However, that didn’t make me like it any less. 🤣
The main square was filled with colorful souvenir shops, delicious smelling restaurants with bundles of outdoor seating, and smoky street food stalls, rumbling my tummy even though I had just had breakfast.
Dream catchers were everywhere, highlighting every corner and sold by every vendor.
The beautiful cathedral in the center of the square drew visitors from around the world, and is known to be the most beautiful cathedral in Mexico. I have not seen them all, but after seeing this one, I entirely believe it.
A lovely rose gold color with high ceilings, angel decorations, and pointed pillars resembling the Elsa castle in frozen, this amazing building is definitely the highlight of the town. The inside is nice, but the outside is the true photogenic masterpiece. Rumored to have been modeled after La Sagrada Familia in Spain, it looks very European.
All the churches, which were high-ceilinged, dusty and dark but beautiful, had intense Covid restrictions, including hand sanitizer, social distancing and designated markings on the pews for where people could sit – and not sit. Masks were mandatory in the entire country at all times.
In the souvenir shops, there were beautifully made flowing dresses, decorated with flowers and colorful patterns. Small, Day of the Dead skeletons lined the walls, wearing hats, holding maracas, and looked joyful.
Cute funny faced door knockers were on all of the front doors as I walked up the cobblestone pathway to the top of the hill.
I found the most adorable friendly cat, lots of red and white architecture and sprawling green vines that seems to have a mind of their own in terms of where they would grow and how high they would attach themselves to the houses.
I walked up the 70 or so stairs that lead to a lovely view, high on the hill.
I had originally just wanted to see in the church that was at the top, but once I got to the top I realized that there were more stairs and that the view would be even better from that top. 🤣 So I huffed and puffed to the top of those stairs, and realize there was even MORE to see! I was already out of breath though, so I decided that this would be as high as I would go.
I sat down and had a snack from my shoulder bag, and watched the few people climb up and down the stairs. One woman with tight buns and a walking stick kept walking up and down these massive stairs and collecting all of the trash and sticking it in a little pile, presumably to collect after her work out. A little fluffy dog was with his owner, took one sniff at me and peed next to my shoes, had a lick out of the empty yogurt container that Tight Buns had found, then trotted happily up the hill next to his little old doggie-daddy. The view of the city was remarkable, but I wanted to get back to where the action was!
On my way down, I saw a family of what I presume were cranes fighting over something, high in the trees, yelling and screaming at each other. It was LOUD.
I saw the little laundry stations where people used to do their laundry all together by one of the first churches in Mexico. SO BEAUTIFUL OMG.
I got back to the old town area after a 10 minute walk from the hill, casually tripping over cobblestones or getting rocks stuck in my shoes, but hey, at least I looked cute 🤣
I found the super famous churros place, and ordered the most delicious taquitos, guacamole, salsa and cheese combination I’ve ever had in my life, fresh pineapple juice, and then hot chocolate and churros for dessert.
I gobbled up the tacos and pineapple juice, but then was hesitant to drink the hot chocolate as I had read on their Google reviews that they had admitted to using tapwater in the hot chocolate. I presumed that to be a one time thing? Considering how famous it was, but being by myself, I was already cautious and didn’t want to get sick for a multitude of reasons.
But then I started feeling nauseous after a few sips. Very nauseous. Then I started looking for a bag, as the bathroom was too far away and by the time I would be ready to throw up, it would have been right next to all of the giant vats of chocolate… Didn’t want to risk that. The nausea subsided momentarily, and I started madly googling to figure out how fast something like that would affect you, and if it would even affect you in terms of throwing up. I thought that drinking bad water would only …come out the other end?? During my search, I found a website that said altitude sickness often causes the same symptoms as the flu. Nauseous, slight headache, hard to breathe. Often happens after periods of exertion, including hiking tall mountains or steep streets.
A wave of relief washed over me, realizing that I wasn’t sick from the hot chocolate, but rather from the 6000+ seat elevation. And my hike from the top of the hill. I started to take large, silent breaths and my nausea went away just as fast as it had shown up. Out of caution, I didn’t finish the hot chocolate, but the churros were some of the best I had ever had, and those taquitos… I will dream about those taquitos until my last day on earth 🤣
After recovering, I was going to go to the beautiful church down the road in an Uber, but I just didn’t have enough chutzpah to deal with an Uber, possibly getting carsick, calling another Uber and then making it back to the bus station in time for my bus. It sounds simple enough now, but five minutes before that, I had thought I was going to end up barfing on the marble floor of this super-famous churros restaurant’s bathroom, and I needed something to be easy and stress-free 🤣 (It’s been almost 4 months now, and I still wish I had seen that church, TBH. But in the moment, I just couldn’t do it. Sidebar – Sometimes it’s hard to remember to be nice to your previous self, who had to make the best decision at that moment. ❤️)
I walk to the 20 minutes back to the bus station, taking a slight detour to check out the street art in one of the neighborhoods. I didn’t realize that one of these neighborhoods might not be the safest for tourists, so I quickly took my pictures and headed back to the main road.
Really cool street art though
All in all, I would definitely go back, I would be more prepared for the altitude sickness, and arrive earlier so that I didn’t have to choose between seeing a cool church or getting back to Queretaro (2.5 hours away) before dark. (I realize arriving after dark isn’t the worst thing in the world, but being cautious and all by myself, I’m usually back by sunset bc I function much better in the daylight, no matter how safe the place is.)
Definitely one of the prettiest tiny towns I’ve ever seen 🙂