San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a rare town in that there is a campground right in the middle of town – within an easy 5 minute walk of the central square. The drawback of this is that you have to drive into the centre of town and then negotiate a really tight turn through a gate into the campground .
We made it to the gate without too much trouble but the turn through the gate was much harder and we ended up bumping the gate. No damage done but a stressful few minutes were had.
The San Miguel RV Park and Tennis Courts is a rare find in that it is the only campground in Mexico which is regularly full. On arriving we managed to get a place among a mixed group of travellers. The majority of the people here are German speaking though. There are a smattering of Canadians and Americans among the Germans, Austrians and Swiss.
San Miguel itself is a beautiful little town. Its very safe and has a large expat population. This means that there are loads of restaurants, boutique type shops and a brilliant Artisan market. There are a whole bunch of good looking buildings and cobbled streets to explore.
After walking into town for the first time we decided that we would stay for a week and spend Christmas here. It would be nice to settle down for a week and relax. We also decided that we should take some Spanish lessons to try and get some sort of foundation in the language. The town was alive with the build up to christmas. There was a procession every night from one church or other. There were also nativity scenes everywhere. The main one in the Jardin even had livestock involved on christmas eve.
So each morning we have been having an hour of Spanish with a Californian born guy of Mexican descent called Rio. He’s had a very laid back approach to teaching. His philosophy is one that it doesn’t matter if you are 100% right just whether someone will understand you – and that’s just what we want. Its been pretty hard for both of us to concentrate on learning a language as its been a long time since we were in school. – although we have made some progress and can get by with some basics now.
We’ve read it elsewhere and we’ve now discovered it for ourselves – San Miguel sucks you in. We’ve spent days here doing nothing much but stroll to the Jardin (the central squre), buy an ice cream on the way and then explore some of the streets and shops – there always seems to be more of both that you haven’t seen. Maybe it’s the large number of expats or maybe its because its so safe but San Miguel is a great place to hang out.
One day we decided to visit the Botanical Gardens. These are a stiff walk up the hill from the centre of town. The gardens themselves are mostly cactus but its an oasis from the bustle of a town and very peaceful. From the far side of the gardens is a great view of the town.
On Christmas Eve there was a small party at the campground for all of the guests – it was a bring a plate type deal and it was good fun. A few beers, some food and a roaring fire when it got dark.
The climate in San Miguel at this time of year is practically perfect. Its 25c in the day and the temperature drops to around 10c during the night. The mornings can be a little chilly until the sun comes out but then its glorious.
While in San Miguel we managed to achieve a couple of chores – There is a mini supermarket called Guadalajara just down the road from the campground and here we bought some antibiotics (Ciproflaxcin) against the inevitable delhi belly and we got our first lot of anti-malarials. We’ve tried to buy both at other places in Mexico and been refused so this was a stroke of luck. I don’t think they should have sold them to us but we’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Eventually though we had to move on from the San Miguel oasis – our destination one of the largest cities in the world with over 20million people – Mexico City.