David and I stood today in the bedroom where Ignacio Allende, a leader in Mexico's fight for independence from Spain, slept when he was a boy. Judging from the rest of the two-story mansion, Allende had a privileged background, but he eventually sacrificed everything, even his life, for freedom.
As we explored this beautiful town today, we could understand Allende's motivation. Of course there have been many changes in the past 200 years, but the artistry we saw at every turn must have been evident even then.
Historic Hotel - Courtyard Restaurant
Centuries-old churches dignify the cityscape, tolling their bells throughout the day so the Mexicans, few of whom have clocks or watches, know when it is time for work or prayer. Frightening faces are carved into the ancient, fifty-foot high doors to scare away evil spirits.
Bellas Artes, housed in a former hacienda, serves as the cultural center for the community offering classes, concerts, and art exhibits. Even walking the grounds is a treat because the central garden and fountain is a calm oasis in this bustling city.
Reading on the Portico of the Biblioteca
The Biblioteca Publica, a few blocks away from Bellas Artes, is maintained by the expatriate community and offers the largest collection of English books in Mexico. Not only the library graces this former hacienda, as there are also rooms for computer classes, an auditorium for lectures and films, a gift shop, and a delightful atrium snack shop. The Biblioteca serves two necessary functions in San Miguel: it serves as a resource for the expat community and also offers materials and tutoring to the Mexican children.
The heart of a city, though, lies in its people, and San Miguel de Allende is blessed with creative people. At every turn, whether it is a humble shop or a plant lovingly tended to produce its best, the artistry is apparent.
Even Sandwiches Are Beautifully Decorated in San Miguel!
We walked slowly today, taking photos every few steps. This enchanting place invites you to linger, and we were happy to oblige.
"the little lame balloon man whistles far and wee,,," - e.e. cummings
The Ignacio Allende Museum is on the jardin, just across from the Parroquia. The first floor contains historical information while the second level is furnished as it might have been in Allende's time. Admission is 37 pesos.