December 22, 2014

Mexico: San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende was only an hour bus ride from Queretaro on ETN (I know, I splurged again but I am a sucker for those plush seats). By early afternoon I was at the San Miguel de Allende bus terminal following the hostel's directions on how to take a local bus to town. The local bus is always an adventure especially when you don't really speak Spanish, have never been to were you are going and have two backpacks and a duffel bag in tow. Luckily La Catrina had straight forward, easy to follow directions and I arrived only slightly exhausted from hauling my stuff across town. La Catrina was an excellent hostel, I wish I had stayed longer. There was  also a chalkboard wall where another Seattlelite tagged Seattle. I seconded (is that a word?) the Seattle by adding a x2 :). 

My expectations for San Miguel de Allende were all over the place since I heard it was pretty much a more colorful United States. Yes, there might have been American accents around every corner but in no way has San Miguel de Allende lost its culture. And the town was unbelievably beautiful, I have never walked down more picturesque streets. The houses were painted the color of a sunset - reds, oranges and yellows.


I met Laura from Luxembourg at La Catrina and the following day we ventured out of San Miguel de Allende by public bus to Sanctuary of Atotonilco which is a World Heritage Site. A lady selling charms outside of the church told us (by "us" I mean she told Laura and Laura translated for me) that every Sunday over 5,000 people come to worship at this church. Whoa! Part of me was so glad I wasn't visiting on a Sunday, that would have been a little overwhelming. On the day Laura and I visited we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It seemed like a sleepy little town in the middle of no where.

From Sanctuary of Atotonilco we walked down back streets to the thermal pools at La Gruta. The thermal pools were a highlight to my time in the north. I absolutely loved it! There was hardly anyone there besides a few other Americans (of course) and we spent several hours swimming in the pools, working our way from the medium temperature pool to the hotter pool and then swimming through the tunnel to the hottest pool. The hottest pool felt like a sauna since it was fully covered resembling a cave. If you are ever in the area please stop by the pools and a take a swim for me. 

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