The magic hour - San Miguel de Allende
January 1, 1970
Leaving the city behind
It was 2:00pm, my class had finished and I was ready to discover one of the most beautiful “Magic Towns” that we have in this lovely country that is México. With only 3 hours away from the city by car, San Miguel de Allende is definitively the best choice for the weekend.
As soon as you get there you automatically travel in time, I would say back to the 60´s. The house facades, the cobbled streets, the cathedral, the plaza and specially the Mariachis, all of these elements among others make San Miguel one of the prettiest colonial towns in México.
Once I arrived it took me only about 10 minutes to find the place I was looking for, this small nice apartment I had booked earlier in the morning through airbnb. One of the best things about San Miguel is that everything is pretty much walking distance, since most of the streets are one way only and very narrow a car is not the option, is actually not easy to park on the streets, you would have to look for a parking lot and is not that cheap. Since I had driven from México City I had to find a parking garage which luckily was in front of the place I was staying and I ended up paying around $35 USD for 24hrs, so it wasn’t that bad.
It was 6:30pm when I started walking around the town, first I went to the plaza which is in front of the cathedral and everybody gathers there, I would consider it as the place to be at all times, kids playing, people dancing and singing along with the Mariachis, you even get to see several weddings taking place and one of the things you cant miss are the “Mojigangas”, people dressed in a tall and typical Mexican custom that are dancing around the streets. I sat there probably for a an hour just observing all the different scenarios.
The Magic begins
As soon as the sky started changing colours I knew it was time for the magic hour of the day, the sunset. Luckily I found this viewpoint uphill which was only 10-15 minutes walking from the plaza and I stood there to admire the amazing view, its impressive how you can be only 3 hours away from home but for some reason the sky seems different, the sun looks brighter, the moon looks bigger and closer, I guess those are the “little” things that makes traveling my hobby.
After I took several pictures I started heading back to the plaza, I walked down this street called “Volateros” which was one of the narrows streets I have ever seen, it was so narrow that I even memorized the name.
I sat down in one of the benches of the plaza while I was looking online for a place to have dinner, I was looking for something different, it was a wonderful night and I wanted something outdoor so after several minutes of searching I found Lunas Rooftop Tapas Bar which ended up being the best place to end my Saturday night. The best thing about this restaurant is without a doubt the spectacular view, the food and drinks are amazing too but the view is breath-taking. The place is a bit pricy but the quality of the food makes it totally worth it, I ordered some ceviche and a gin & tonic which by the way was one of the specialties of the house. After my second drink the night started getting colder and the place was about to close, it was around 11:00pm so I paid my bill and left.
I thought the night was over but when I started walking back I heard the sound of the Mariachis and surprisingly the plaza was still alive, people were having a good time, eating, dancing, singing and who wouldn’t? the night was beautiful. Around midnight I finally went back to the apartment
The next morning I was looking for a place to enjoy my breakfast, I wasn’t looking for anything fancy just something simple but unique and what I ran into was much better than that, small place, nothing special, I actually thought of leaving when I first saw it but I decided to give it a try. The menu didn’t have many options so I decided to get the usual, some regular eggs with some beans and of course my coffee. The coffee came first of course but the food didn’t take long to arrive. I was surprised, the food was amazing, the way they had prepared the eggs was really unique, the plate was replaced by a skillet which made the breakfast tastier, Café Oso Azul is definitively the place to be on a Sunday morning.
I had 4 more hours to enjoy San Miguel before I had to head back to the city so I decided to walk around, I skipped the plaza this time and ran into a small market where I found very nice crafts, food and even typical handmade clothes.
I probably walked for more than an hour, I strongly believe the best way to discover a place is by having actual contact with the environment, eating the typical food, hanging around with the locals and most important visiting the non-tourists points.
To end my day in San Miguel I picked an outdoor restaurant where I could enjoy a small meal, a good drink and of course a beautiful view. This terrace served one of the best Gin & Tonic I had ever tried, they mixed it with rose petals and cucumber, delicious!
The day was coming to an end, it was time to head back to reality but my favourite time of the day was almost there, the Magic hour! that time when the sky starts turning orange and you just sit there and watch so that is what I did, I sat in a small bench at the park and watched the sunset.
So if you are looking for a place near the city where you can enjoy the Mexican culture to the fullest, San Miguel de Allende is the right choice.