It is hard to believe that I have been in San Miguel de Allende for nine months. I have made some new friends, improved my Spanish (poco a poco) and have taken a lot of photographs with my iPhone.
This is a wonderful place. I slid into this world so much easier than I ever imagined. There are so many things to love in this magical town. Here are ten of my favorites.
1. The climate is pretty close to perfect. The weather is quite lovely from October - April. May is a bit warmer with highs about 88 degrees. June is the beginning of the rainy season, but I am finding out that on most days storms don't roll in until about 4:00 in the afternoon. And at 6400 feet the thunder/lightning storms are impressive.
2. Color - It's everywhere. It's on the buildings, in the decor, the art, the clothing, in the gardens. If you asked me for one word to describe San Miguel de Allende I would use the word "colorful."
3. The Light - The light is different here. I am not sure exactly how to describe it. Maybe it's because of the altitude... or maybe the latitude. All I know is that some days it takes my breath away.
4. Texture - San Miguel de Allende is a town of texture, from the cement walls, to the tile floors and embroidered textiles.
5. Architecture - The architecture in SMA is Spanish Colonial and it is gorgeous.
6. Coffee and Food - SMA is a "foodie's" delight. Some of the best chefs in Mexico have opened restaurants. Here is a link to some of the most popular.
7. Art - Ever since American Stirling Dickinson arrived in 1937, SMA has drawn artists to its schools and galleries from all over the world. One of my favorite galleries is Fabrica la Aurora, where there are also three restaurants and little shops.
8. Live Music is everywhere - in cafes, nightclubs and theaters. You can be walking down the street and suddenly a marching band will come around the corner. I recently saw Lila Downs in the new large outdoor venue at the edge of town. The crowd sang along to all the Mexican favorites. There was wine, beer, snacks and even fireworks.
9. Festivals and Fiestas - SMA is festival central. There are parades, saint day celebrations, wedding processions. The streets are decorated and are full of tradition, music, dancing, colorful costumes and food. Here is a calendar of the most popular.
10.People - People in SMA are very friendly. Locals have been helpful with my Spanish, kindly correcting my grammar and pronunciation. Like most large towns and cities, if you are looking for trouble you can find it. But, as one older gentleman told me, if you are not looking, it is unlikely to find you. I was careful about walking alone on empty streets at night, but I was careful about that in the U.S. as well.
There is a reason that Travel and Leisure just named San Miguel de Allende the number one city in the world to visit. It's a gem.