Just around la Esquina in San Miguel de Allende
That’s “Just around the Corner,” but since I’m utilizing my best Spanglish this week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I thought this would be an appropriate title.
I started planning this trip back in November. I found a fabulous Air bnb rental in la Callejon de los Chiquitos bursting with artistic flair and charm. Everywhere you look in this four story, one bedroom home there is a new creative detail to admire. I was very purposeful in my planning and search for a residence to stay in on this trip. I wanted something cerca del centro (near the center of town) as I wanted to be able to walk everywhere and not have to rent a car.
That’s one of the things I loved most about staying in San Miguel- the walkability. I walked everywhere. (Leave your heels at home though ladies, because the walking is on cobblestone streets and sidewalks. I wore my Teva sandals or tennis shoes the entire time.) There is no need for a rental car or even a taxi. I was also purposeful in my search for a place to stay to find an option with a killer view from a roof top patio. You can’t beat the views here.
So, while I was very detailed in my planning concerning where to stay, I pretty much left the week wide open to explore on a whim. This week is proving to me that sometimes the best plan is no plan, especially when you teach junior high and are on spring break in Mexico!
Well, I had a rough plan. Maybe what I should say is sometimes the best plan is a flexible plan. The day started out with a planned visit to a Spanish language school in San Miguel de Allende, Instituto Habla Hispana. Angelica, the owner allowed us to observe a beginner class. La profesora, Socorro, was friendly, energetic, and lead the three students in a very interactive lesson. One student, Carol, was also from Houston, one gentleman was from Canada, and the other student, Darcy was a college professor of music staying in residence at the school for five weeks while she is on sabbatical. The school comes highly recommended and reviewed, is very reasonably priced, and offers classes for a minimum of one week. Hopefully, I can convince my own kids to come with me for a week in the summer to study.
After my lesson, I wandered around town in search of a place for lunch. I attempted to find a salsa dancing school (with no success) which lead us to a part of the city we had not yet explored. We popped in and out of several boutique hotels that inundate this quaint and beautiful city. I also learned that breakfast (desayuno) officially ends at noon (media dia).
I stumbled upon Jesus street, also known as Calle de Jesus and figured this was a good sign. I mean, Jesus has never steered me wrong, so I took a left on Jesus street and landed at At Cafe de la Parroquia (Calle de Jesus 11 Centro). I settled on eggs with mole and tortillas and black beans and jugo de naranja. It was delicious, and even better, it was six dollars.
After brunch, I wandered down more narrow cobblestone streets and made my way to the luxurious Rosewood Hotel, where I took in the sights of the immaculately kept gardens bursting with colorful blossoms at every turn. If you’re in the market for a gardening job, I suggest you apply here. They must need an army of them to keep this place up to par.Across the street on my way out of the Rosewood, I spotted an incredibly gargantuan bougainvillea draped over a stone wall leading to the boutique hotel, Nena.
With only 6 guest rooms, a fantastic rooftop patio with a pool, an elegant yet chill ambiance, and Juan the bartender who made an excellent Margarita, I would say this would be on the top of my list of places to stay. For today however, the rooftop bar, open to the public, gave me a chance to experience this lovely hotel.
Now, the best part happened completely by accident. Leaving the hotel, I rounded a corner where I heard the sound of children playing. I realized this was the park, Parque Benito Juarez, that had been recommended to me for a morning run, right in front of me. If you do happen to be a runner, just know it’s no easy feat in downtown San Miguel. You are going to have to slow down a lot to get around people on the narrow sidewalks unless you hit those narrow streets early, so forget about keeping pace. I will say the drivers here are the most courteous I’ve ever seen about stopping and letting you cross a street. Also, you can get a great workout starting in the main town square by the church and just hoofing it straight uphill until you can’t breathe anymore from the steep climb! So, if you’re just wanting to get some distance in and not worry about running over anyone on the sidewalk, head to this park!
I followed the trails through this beautiful, public park and ended up exiting at what has been my favorite random find so far on this trip, the Santa Monica Hotel. It looked intriguing from the outside, but a few steps in, and the courtyard made me want to stay. If you have the opportunity to travel here, do not hesitate to wander into the boutique hotels that saturate this city just to take a look around. Most of them have terraces and restaurants open to the public, and I was never told no when I politely asked if I could take a look around. Anyway, the Santa Monica was beautiful, tranquil, and serene. It seemed like a perfect place for a quiet retreat from the world. If I hadn’t already snagged desayuno, this would have been a nice place to have a meal just to be able to hang out in that courtyard for awhile.
Leaving the Santa Monica, I followed another bougainvillea lined street and enjoyed the walk back into the center where I was staying. It was definitely time for a siesta. For a day of unplanned wandering around, I learned that especially in this city, you never know what magical discoveries may await you just around la esquina.
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