After 2 years of Covid cancellations, and missing the 2022 season due to my retinal detachment emergency, I have made it to San Miguel this August for the annual Festival of Arts, with many classical chamber music concerts. I spent the first night of the trip stranded in Phoenix, courtesy of American Airlines, which somehow managed to not have a pilot for my short flight from Tucson to Phoenix, thus causing a number of us from Tucson to miss the daily flight from Phoenix to Mexico City. It really is a little beyond belief how poorly the airlines seem to be performing these last couple of years.
I spent a few days in Mexico City, staying again at the Hotel Catedral with its great restaurant and roof terrace views over the historic district. The ETN deluxe bus from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende was comfortable with just 3 seats across a double decker, most seats on the upper deck, the seats almost fully reclining. Though leaving on time, it did manage to run an hour behind schedule.
San Miguel has changed little in the last 20 years; when I first visited almost 50 years ago it was a considerably smaller town, but the historic center remains almost untouched (it is a protected World Heritage Site). Weekend traffic and crowds, though, have increased greatly, and the town is best during the week. Still, it presents a number of favorite restaurants and bars, and the main reason (or excuse) for coming in August is the annual music festival. I attended my 10th concert yesterday; concerts at 4 different venues have included the famous string quintet by Schubert, great violin sonatas including Bach’s Chaconne from the 2nd Partida, a number of great operatic arias and a chorus and organ in the Capilla de Tercer Orden (chapel) performing Renaissance and Baroque classical polyphonic music. One group played baroque violin sonatas – unfortunately the violinist, playing a period instrument, massacred Vivaldi’s La Folia.
Hank’s New Orleans café still has the best 2-4-1 drink deals every happy hour, plus great food. Tio Lucas still serves good steaks, and Hecho en Mexico is the all-around best restaurant in town for my tastes and wallet. I get breakfast included every morning on the rooftop terrace of my little boutique hotel, and most days climb the roughly thirty stories of steep steps and road from the Parque Juarez up to the Mirador (view point over the town). Hiking up and down the cobblestone streets keeps me in shape. For a time I considered buying a home here, but the weekend crowds and traffic allow me to be satisfied with my 3 to 4 week visits.
I return to Tucson next week, and the following week am off to Spain for 3 months. Later Dave