Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Inspiration in San Miguel de Allende
My family and I recently spent two weeks in San Miguel de Allende, a Spanish Colonial city in central Mexico, about 6500 feet above sea level. Every building was a glorious color and I loved that the chipping paint revealed a history of past colors that offered more contrast to delight my eyes. The main plaza had an incredible cathedral. Bouganvillea in an array of colors abounded on walls everywhere and open doors revealed inner corridors of multiple arches, beautiful gardens, fountains or narrow passageways with bouganvillea growing on either side. I'll have more photos to post soon, I just wanted to get a few up for you to enjoy.
I have traveled extensively throughout Mexico, visiting lots of beach towns, large and small, where many tourists frequent. I have also lived in bustling Mexico City. I have been to lots of small towns where the pace of life is considerably slower than the US, but most of these are in rural places- charming and picturesque indeed, but a much simpler lifestyle. In San Miguel I was struck by how many people, Mexican and foreigners alike call it home. It is richly steeped in history and culture, complete with narrow cobblestone streets, but has the modern conveniences I appreciate. Although it is relatively small (about 70,000 people), it is nestled high in the Eastern Sierra Madre Mountain Range, virtually alone, with the nearest larger cities at least an hour away from it. There is a lot of space around San Miguel, but that doesn't seem to make people spread out. It seems everyone enjoys living in very close proximity to one another, sharing common walls- there is a palpable energy and buzz and I attribute this to how happy the inhabitants are. San Miguel has a vibrant art scene, wonderful restaurants and shops that entice walkers with their colorful and artistic goods. How is it then, with so much energy that abounds, with so many Americans and Canadians that live there, with so many people living shoulder to shoulder, that it maintains that same pace of life typical of the pueblos that dot the Mexican landscape? I believe that people that choose to live in San Miguel find that this is its most precious gift and everyone actively pursues the art of living in the moment. From the moment we arrrived, my husband and I were immediately enveloped in the calm and serenity that is thick in the air. We 'unplugged' almost instantly. This is true of the many beach towns along the Mexican coast- give me some sand, a Corona and 90 degrees, and I 'unplug' pretty easily. What made this trip unique is that all my senses were engaged, I saw incredible art, amazing architecture, I smelled the fruits and vegetables of the Mercado, I met interesting people from all over the world, I put in many miles of walking daily and yet I was as relaxed and rejuvenated as any resort experience with the added bonus of feeling completely inspired to come home and infuse my artwork with what I had taken in. I guess you could say I had a really great time in San Miguel :) and it is high on my list of places to visit!
For some inspiration about San Miguel de Allende, please check out: