Category Archives: 2016 San MIguel, Mexico

Travel Report on San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Aug. 18, 2016

Hello all.  I am just nearing the end of a month stay in the central highlands of Mexico.  I last wrote reporting on Yellowstone, while still on the road in the US in my small RV trailer – that trip ended in June after a long detour to Kansas City to visit my brother, who lives there, and sister, who traveled up from Florida.  From Kansas I spent three days on the long drive back down to Tucson.  After a month in Tucson, I realized once again how little I enjoyed the really hot summer temperature, and so decided to spend a month in the highlands of central Mexico.

On July 21 I flew to Mexico City, where I spent a week just wandering around the central historic area.  I have been traveling there for decades, and so had visited most sites many times before. I stayed again in the Hotel Catedral, spending late afternoons on the terraces overlooking the Mexico City Cathedral from the North.

I did visit for the first time the relatively new Diego Rivera Museum to see the famous Alameda Park mural, moved after the great 1985 earthquake leveled the original building around it without touching the mural.  I also spent time visiting friends, two graduate archaeology students (at University of Arizona), working on their PhDs researching ancient humans.  Ismael and Kayla both were spending the summer in the INAH (Mexico’s Agency over all archaeological sites) labs where were deposited the gomphothere (form of extinct ice age elephant) bones they had excavated along with human stone tools in Northern Mexico over the last 2 years.  They are preparing for making a presentation at a seminar this next week.

I had one very unfortunate experience traveling on the Mexico City subway system while there; on my way to visit the National Anthropology Museum, a group of young men physically “jammed” my body while I was trying to enter a crowded subway car.  This lasted all of about 1 second, long enough for one of them to get my wallet from behind (even though I carry it in a front pocket).  This form of physical robbery is exactly the same that was used on me in Thessaloniki Greece last fall.  Anyway, once again I found myself wasting over a day trying to cancel, then get replacement, credit/dedit cards (I always carry multiple cards, and split them so I carry half and leave half in my hotel room, thus only losing and dealing with two cards upon a theft).

From Mexico City three weeks ago I traveled by bus to San Miguel de Allende.  San Miguel is a World Heritage Site, with most of its central heart made up of 18th century historic buildings.  It was part of the cradle of the independence movement from Spain.  The town sits at well over 6,000 feet in elevation in the central highlands, and has a year-round spring climate.  July-August is the rainy season, when everything is very green and fresh; it rains most days, but usually just for an hour or so, with brilliant blue skies much of the rest of the time.  Very lovely.  I probably have been to San Miguel about 10 times previously – originally in the mid-1970s when it was a small pueblo, and then when I spent months originally learning Spanish in 2002.

This is the time of year in San MIguel for the annual International Chamber Music Festival – every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday a different concert is presented by a world renowned chamber group in the historic Peralta Theater.  I will attend my 8th concert this Friday, presented by the famous Parker String Quartet.  I already have attended a number of concerts by the Hermitage Piano Trio, formed by three extraordinary young Russian immigrants to the US, each individually a world class concert soloist, performing as the trio.  They are heavy on Russian composers, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, but also performed Beethoven, Brahms and Dvorak.

Every evening I enjoy my wine and smoking my pipe while reading up on the terrace, viewing the magnificent church tops over town.  I have 5 favorite nearby restaurants I alternate for dinner, including one Indian restaurant.  After dinner (and some mornings) I usually have been glued to the TV watching the summer Olympics in Rio.

I plan on returning to Mexico City this Saturday, and then flying back to Tucson on Monday, to put up with what still will be very hot weather for the next month or so.  I already am researching my next trip, considering three months of bird photography in Colombia.  Later.  Dave