In our latest installment of places we've already written about, Little N made his first visit to Zapopan Centro. As before, we checked out the Cathedral, the Government Palace and the Arcos de Zapopan. It was scorching hot and the main plaza is severely lacking in shady spots, but we enjoyed our walk through the historical center and market.
Arcos de Zapopan
mural inside Government Palace
The Cathedral: Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Zapopan
Touring: Tourist Information- located in the main plaza directly opposite the church
San Miguel de Allende with a Baby- You will need a baby carrier for the cobblestone streets, otherwise the town is very accommodating for children.
Highlights- Of the landmarks in town we most enjoyed La Parroquia, Casa de Allende Museum, Instituto Allende, and Paseo El Charco (you must be fit to walk up to see the view, otherwise take a tour trolley or taxi). We would also recommend devoting several hours to the Jardin Botánico El Charco right outside of town.
Dining: Rincon de Don Tomas- good standard Mexican breakfast, located on the main plaza.
El Correo Restaurant- fabulous breakfast in a nice location, located on El Correo 23.
Cafeteria at Jardin Botánico El Charco- the best meal we had in San Miguel, they make their own fresh baked bread for the sandwiches.
Accommodations: Hotel Suites Dali- a new hotel located in the central part of town. It was very clean, had wifi and cable television. The rooms are basic but if you don't need "charm" this is a great value in the expensive town of San Miguel. 500 MXN/standard room. Homobono 23 "A", Zona Centro, C.P. 37700, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Tel/ Fax: 01152 (415) 154 5637 http://www.dalisuiteshotel.com
We began our last day in San Miguel with a wonderful breakfast. All in all, the culinary scene in San Miguel is nothing special. Just about every place is ok and adequate for gringo standards, but we didn't hear of anything that was extraordinary. So we were pleasantly surprised to happen upon some great food.
Full of energy, we devoted a little time to shopping for handicrafts. We checked out a few of the more refined shops and then headed to the Mercado Artisanal. True to it's name, there were lots of options. After surveying our options and making a few purchases, it was time to pack up our things and start heading out of town.
Our last stop in San Miguel proper was at the Instituto Allende, a fine arts school. We took a look around the adorned building and admired the view of the downtown from it's outdoor balcony. And we started clunking down the road for our final destination of the day.
inside the Instituto Allende
one last view back towards town
Just outside of town is the fabulous Jardin Botánico El Charco. It is actually a pretty big park with walking trails around a small lake and canyon, areas with endangered plants of Mexico, and a cute little restaurant. We could have spent several hours exploring the different cacti and viewpoints, but alas we needed to have a quick (and delicious) lunch and head back to Guadalajara.
Our first full day in San Miguel started with an early morning stroll through Mercado Ignacio Ramirez, a typical produce market. We enjoyed the empty streets as we got an overview of the historical center and ended up in El Jardín, the central plaza. We had a nice breakfast on the plaza and then armed with a tourist map, set off to explore the town, starting with the main cathedral La Parroquia.
in the main plaza garden
Our second stop was the Casa de Allende which houses the Museo Histórico de San Miguel de Allende. The first floor explained the history of the town, from a town in the silver mining region to an important stop in Mexico's revolution. The second story had replicated rooms of Ignacio Allende's home, one of the fathers of the revolution and eponym of the town that was originally called San Miguel el Grande. From there we zig-zaged through the streets seeing multiple churches and landmarks of various importance.
Templo del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri
Templo de San Francisco
We had a mid-morning snack of some over-rated churros in front of the Jardin de San Francisco, and then started making our way down the hill towards the Paseo El Chorro, a climb up a hill past the Casa Cultural to see a view of the downtown area.
typical street in the historic downtown
view of the historic downtown
Our last stop of the day was in Parque Juarez, the municipal park full of families on this warm Saturday afternoon. We ended the day with a late lunch/early dinner and retired to the hotel, where Little N retired after a long day and D & M enjoyed the outdoor courtyard and chilly evening breeze.
Last weekend we decided on a study/routine- break and went away to San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato. The drive from Guadalajara took about 5 hours (could have been 4 without long stops and traffic). Just in time for our one longer stop, we happened upon a Pemex (gas station) with a perfect little patch of grass for Little N to get out and play. All in all, it was a decent (yet expensive) toll road the whole way, and other than a couple missed turn offs due to late signs we made it without a hitch.
San Miguel de Allende is known for being a picturesque colonial town in central Mexico, home to many ex-patriot American and Canadian retirees. Our timing was a bit off with Friday night festivities closing off some of the one-way cobble stone streets. Without a map of the town it took us quite a while to navigate towards our hotel, but we made it! We couldn't go to bed without seeing something, so we had a late dinner keeping Little N up way past his bedtime. He was happy to entertain the local gringo residents that were out and about on the town and we were excited for the weekend to come.
On a totally random Tuesday, D took Little N on a little Centro exploration. We did a quick walk through the Jardin de la Reforma, with a plaque dedicated to the great reformers.
Since nobody had wanted to go to the museum with her on previous visits, Little N was happy to accompany his mommy. We visited the Regional Museum of Guadalajara (Museo Regional de Guadalajara) which included a short history of the region through the ages. It had paintings, various artifacts and the highlight was a mammoth display!
We then continued on the Palacio Municipal (City Hall) to see a few more murals by Gabriel Flores that depict the foundation of the city.
Our last stop was the small Templo de la Merced, with it's white facade and ornate gold interiors.
Before our trip was over, we met up with M for lunch at La Chata with its consistently good food and service. We're thinking it's time to branch out, but just can't miss the opportunity to re-visit this place.