Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our San Miguel de Allende Adventure

This was a tangent we'd both been very looking forward to ~ our trip to San Miguel de Allende! We had reservations for two evenings at Ruth Hyba's "La Mansion del Bosque" just down Calle Aldama from the main square. Our drive there was another gallant attempt at following the GPS with varied results. My favorite was in southern Guadalajara when we were being led to the main Highway 15. Our "girlfriend" on the GPS took us down some industrial neighborhood streets and on her map, said turn right after the underpass to enter the highway. Little did our "girsfriend" know that we were faced with green, extensive scaffolding filling up the entire passage under the overpass. And we turned around, madly searching for an alternate "recalculation".

Aside from those tales of lost wandering, we arrive in San Miguel (as we learned the locals call it) around 3:30pm. Ruth's charming adobe structures have warm sienna/coral colors (depending upon the light of the day) and intriguing pockets at every turn swarming with lush blossoming plants. Shadows were already growing long and many streets were exhibiting stricking shadows and color contrasts. As soon as we could get registered and in our room, we put on our tennies and hit the lovely cobble-stoned streets.

The lodging arrangement furnished breakfast and lunch in group style if you choose. So we took a brief trek thru the winding ways. We toured the central plaza with it's elegant pink cathedral functioning as the hub of the city. With unorganized (at least American organization) streets moving out from the tree-ed square we discovered cozy doorways leading into quaint, richly decored restaurants or coffee houses. In the main plaza we checked out a gallery, the owner of which we met who was from Missouri and very kind, offering many suggestions for this town he loved. The artwork he had was eclectic, my favorite . . . t'was difficult to pick between 1) these small villages, carved, stamped out and then painted to represent various Mexican villages, then mounted and framed - or - 2) the large format exquisite figurative work (done by 3 generations of one classical painting family, the newest generation now moving a bit toward looseness and expression).

We arrived back just in time for dinner being served at the "La Mansion del Bosque". Around the family-style table we enjoyed Ruth, of course (who had come from Pittsburg, PA - I think - to take an art class, fell in love with her Mexican husband and lived out the rest of her life in San Miguel), her daughter, Elena and son, and then, an intriguing couple from Sedona. For thirteen years they have been bringing their retreat groups for vision, dreams and process work to this very place. Eduardo and Kim filled the room with laughter and serendipitious stories that had transpired over the San Miguel years. I was fasciniated - and most of you know my love affair with Sedona and the Southwest. Following a tasteful dinner of light salad, delicately prepared Talapia, a squash (which we thought was cacti and were in heaven), then, pumpkin pie for dessert, we waddled out into the cold evening for Cody's walk.

Next day was our full day in fascinating San Miguel. I made my request to finally have a chance to sketch in my journal and just "be", which "my boys" agreed to, knowing they'd follow, then, take off on their own. I found myself stopping nearlly each block appreciating the small sculptures either nested in their concave shelves or braving it on the rooftop cornices. The scene I'd envisioned painting didn't work - as I learned, in the sun I was scalded and in the shade, frozen. After much wandering, I landed in the Centro Square, sketching this sundrenced wall with local silhouettes (I was relocating continually along the edge of the sun). We treked up and down many streets later, discovering the lovely library of San Miguel that winds it's book shelved walls thru a cafe, then into this courtyard with murals above the shelves. I wanted to move into the library!! Eventually, we wind our way back to our room as the sun began to cast glowing bounced light against shadowed walls. Roland had researched the restaurants in town who served the best "Chile en Nagades", hoping to replicate his meal in Tlaquepaque (see previous post).

The three of us cozy into a big room at "Bugambillia" where they light the big open fireplace just next to us. The patio room we could see off to our right glowed warm crimson as animated families chattered. How romantic! There's like an excitement as we wait for the delivery of our special meals . . . then, tah-da . . . well, it didn't live up to the advertisements nor the drum roll. In fact, Roland didn't like his "Chile en Nagades" wondering even if there was something bad in the mixture . Disappointed, we still, enjoyed the holiday feeling dancing in the streets and we wandered, peering in windows active with diners or tourists in shops. Then, we nest into our room (after Roland takes an 'alka-seltzer'), resting up for our departure the next morn.

I'd hoped to see our Sedona friends once more before we left, but said our early g'byes and headed homeward. Our plans were to travel just west to Guanajuato, which we'd even programmed into our GPS, but, seems the GPS didn't like the road between San Miguel and Guanajuato, and took us way south again. From that route we'd have to again travel a distance north and decided just to aim homeward to Lake Chapala.

But, do you think that trips discoveries are over . . . tune in for a brief stop in Tonola.

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