Travel Diary 1
Hello friends, book goblins, and wanderlusters!
Today’s post will not be about books but about my recent trip to México. Unlike my previous trips to the motherland my trip to the pueblito of San Migeul de Allende was for a poetry conference sponsored through my Uni. The way this program was set up was through a a study abroad program but unlike a lot of study abroad trips this particular one was for a week rather than a full semester. Which I liked because I don’t think I could be away from Apollo for that long 😊. During my trip I got to participate in a poetry workshop with other U.S poets who have experience writing poetry and publishing poetry. In workshop we would collectively get together and read each other’s poems and express what was working and what was clear within our poetry. It was super awesome! I learned a lot about what I should look out for in my poetry and how to make my images stronger. I wrote a handful of poems during this trip which of course I’ll share on the blog after editing them.
Now if I were to describe San Miguel de Allende in three words these would be it. Flower crowns, Frida Kahlo, and color. Lots and lots of color.
San Miguel is one of the most visited cities in world and has been nicknamed the Venice, Italy of México. Instead of smooth concrete the roads this pueblito’s roads are made from cobblestone which looks aesthetically pleasing but let me tell you these streets were not kind to my shoes. Since I arrived right after Christmas and during the week when Los Tres Reyes de Magos were set to make their grand appearance the town was still decorated with lights, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes, which made me feel like I was still home as my family does not begin to store the Christmas décor until after we have cut the rosca de reyes.
For a such a small town there was so much to see in San Miguel. Although the pueblo is known for la parroquia de san Miguel, named after the archangel Michael (you know the one that put Satan in hell) there were a lot of other churches named after various saints within walking distance.
At night in the jardín there were often mariachi men singing and playing instruments. There were also some people dressed in colonial style clothing, wigs and fake swords, giving history lessons and of course let’s not forget the stray dogs. There was one dog in particular that I continued to see throughout my trip here, a yellow colored lab who although looked a little dusty looked well fed. Anyways every time this dog saw my group of friends, he wagged his tail at us. On one of my early morning walks into town I found this dog trying to wife up another stray dog, this one was white and had brown spots. I think the two formed a pack but I’m not sure.
Now for the food! If I’m being honest, I was not very impressed with a lot of the restaurant food as a lot of it was either American or Italian cuisine. And when I ordered typical dishes from México such as quesadillas and enchiladas I was not impressed. Perhaps I have been spoiled by my mother’s cooking for too long or the restaurants have changed their menu in order to better serve the tourists and the local American retirees. However, the American and Italian dishes weren’t bad but I wanted to experience the taste of México. Luckily, restaurants are not all that this small pueblo has to offer there were various carts selling snacks such as elotes, chicharones, tortas, fruita, and tostilocos, all over the jardín. But the one cart that had me drooling the most was the one for ice cream. In case you didn’t know Mexican ice cream is whole different experience because it is made through a different process to be honest I don’t know how exactly it comes to be, but it’s really good. Like knock me into the next galaxy good. And it’s only 20 pesos, around 1 dollar. Not to mention there are some crazy flavors such as fresa con crema, elote, and horchata. I got to sample the chocolate and devour the elote ice cream. The chocolate ice cream tasted just like abuelita chocolate while the elote ice cream tasted like tamale de elote, if you ever had the pleasure to try those I highly recommend.
As for shopping there were a lot of stores to get souvenirs from. However, for the things that I wanted to buy coin purses, and handcrafted sculptures I found them to be a little expensive in the town square. However, after entering the huge Mercado in which they sell food, dvds, clothing, etc and following it down a few streets I eventually found the alley of artisanos where people sold a lot of handcrafted trinkets which is what I was looking for. If you are going on a souvenir hunt and want to get something with Frida Kahol on it, you won’t have any problems here.
On one of my last days in Guanajuato my class and I visited a pyramid just outside of town. And upon entering the small lobby of the arachnological site there was the cutest doggy walking around and seeking sunshine for her morning tan. Her feet were a little muddy too as if she had taken a dip in a river earlier.
The pyramid itself was super cool and unlike a lot of pyramids built in México this one faced the sun so that it was the first thing pilgrims who came to this religious site saw once they climbed it. Another interesting thing about this particular site was that not to far from the pyramid the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared on a disc. And so as a result this area was named after la virgin. It’s truly fascinating that religious site has a way of remaining religious forever.
On our last day the professor took my class to the local hot springs where we proceeded to play marco polo in the warm pool. Of course, the hot spring had more to offer than just warm pools there was also a man-made cave that you could walk through in order to get to their hottest pool which they called the grotto. This cave had a small waterfall that poured hot water into the pool and guests got in line in order to stand under it. Free back massage! I visited the hot springs with a slight cold so my time in that steamy room just cleared up all my sinuses.
And that concluded my trip to San Miguel de Allende. It was a lot of fun and if given the opportunity I would definitely go again.