Hiding in a Lebanese Restaurant & Mick’s Next Car, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Driving into San Miguel de Allende is like something you’d see in the movies. Narrow picturesque cobblestone alleys. If anyone was walking along them, they’d have to duck into a doorway to let us pass. Looking back, I’m bummed we didn’t take a picture of these, as most of the streets in the center of town were wider. We checked into our hotel and they whisked our car off to some unknown assumedly safe location. Once again, we arrived hungry and knew we needed to make this meal a good one. The kids already had a bad experience with their last meal (see Relaxing and Adapting in San Luis Potosi). We walked around having done almost no research to find a place for dinner. During this time, Ken and I were a bit mesmerized with the sights of the city, but the kids constantly reminded us of our original goal – food!

Lots of families hanging out in the town center (aka Zocalo).

Lots of families hanging out in the town center (aka Zocalo).

Finally, we settled on an Argentinian restaurant that served pizza. We also order an orange water drink. These types of drinks are popular in Mexico and most restaurants offer some kind of special water – Rose Pomegranite, Lemon, Orange, etc. Remember, we’re all very hungry. Sadly, I was the only one to like the water drink. Then the pizza arrived…covered in green things. Tag was ok with the green things (rosemary) as long as I wiped it off each individual piece of pepperoni. Elle didn’t love them, but was adaptable. Taking them off her cheese slices would be near impossible. We finished off the evening with dessert at the hotel. We’d smelled the delicious chocolate cooking when we checked in. Sadly, it was a bust too. Thankfully we had Oreos in the hotel room!

Every parent's nightmare - green stuff on pizza!

Every parent's nightmare - green stuff on pizza!

Dessert in the cozy courtyard of the hotel steps from our hotel room.

Dessert in the cozy courtyard of the hotel steps from our hotel room.

We woke up and the kids went straight to the pool – of course! 

Small but 6 feet deep in the center. Tag swam across the pool 71 times!

Small but 6 feet deep in the center. Tag swam across the pool 71 times!

We also ate another simple breakfast in the room (bananas, protein bars) before exploring San Miguel. We first walked to Fabrica la Aurora, a beautiful art and design studio housed in a former textile building. This was all for Elle. She loves art and was enamored with all the different types of handmade art – furniture, paintings, sculptures, dishes, textiles and more. She liked playing the “if you could have one thing in this studio, what would it be?”game.  Tag and I soon found ourselves ordering lunch in the restaurant (chicken nuggets, fries, milkshake – Score!) and drawing animals while we waited.

Cacti on the grounds of Fabrica la Aurora, the Artists' Studio

Cacti on the grounds of Fabrica la Aurora, the Artists' Studio

As we leisurely walked to the town’s library, Tag and Elle explored the flowers and plants along the way. Ken and I loved the feel of the town and were happy to stroll slowly while peeping into doorways and shops. We noticed a market in one of the alleys and followed it for a while.

Pink doors and other bright furniture for sale everywhere.

Pink doors and other bright furniture for sale everywhere.

This market continued through at least 3 consecutive alleys. 

This market continued through at least 3 consecutive alleys. 

Tag loved this gold door (his favorite color) in the market. This is actually a closed stall.

Tag loved this gold door (his favorite color) in the market. This is actually a closed stall.

Eventually, we made it to the San Miguel biblioteca, the public library, with the second largest bilingual collection in Mexico. I was surprised to find the library was made up of a collection of rooms off the main entrance and surrounding an inviting square. There were several tables for reading and other for displaying children’s art. We found the childrens’ rooms and immediately the kids started pulling books to read. We found ourselves reading in the courtyard and stayed there at least an hour. The kids both claimed it was their favorite part of the day. Wow! That’s totally awesome.

Pursuing the English fiction section. The English mysteries were in another hallway. In order to checkout books, one must buy a membership to the library, which comes with free access to the library. For a nominal fee, one can check out up to 4 books for 15 days.The library is run by volunteers.

Pursuing the English fiction section. The English mysteries were in another hallway. In order to checkout books, one must buy a membership to the library, which comes with free access to the library. For a nominal fee, one can check out up to 4 books for 15 days.The library is run by volunteers.

This used to be one of our favorite books at home. Their version had a whole second half about the letters crawling back into the tree. Apparently we bought the cheap (and edited) version from the Scholastic book order!

This used to be one of our favorite books at home. Their version had a whole second half about the letters crawling back into the tree. Apparently we bought the cheap (and edited) version from the Scholastic book order!

Some of my happiest moments are reading to my kids. I love that Tag immediately cuddled up next to me and both kids are engrossed in the story.

Some of my happiest moments are reading to my kids. I love that Tag immediately cuddled up next to me and both kids are engrossed in the story.

No tocar! (No touching!) Clay sculptures made by children on display at the library. Notice the flower in Tag's hand. He picked it on the way to the library, kept dipping it in the fountain in the courtyard to revive it and finally agreed to "save" it between the pages of a book I was carrying. He's probably forgotten about it by now.

No tocar! (No touching!) Clay sculptures made by children on display at the library. Notice the flower in Tag's hand. He picked it on the way to the library, kept dipping it in the fountain in the courtyard to revive it and finally agreed to "save" it between the pages of a book I was carrying. He's probably forgotten about it by now.

Pit stop for gelato on the way to the park. We loved this swing and the window seat, and the gelato wasn't bad either.

Pit stop for gelato on the way to the park. We loved this swing and the window seat, and the gelato wasn't bad either.

We then went to Juarez Park, described as San Miguel's version of NYC's Central Park.  The park was busy with families playing, and the kids immediately swung, climbed and ran to their heart’s delight. Then came the cloudy weather and even some lightning. Taking our cues from the people around us, we didn’t immediately leave.

There's always something for sale on the streets and parks in Mexico!

There's always something for sale on the streets and parks in Mexico!

We were pleasantly surprised to find such nice playground equipment, similar to that in the States. Of course Mexico doesn't have the same safety regulations and much of this was on concrete tiles which is just fine with us.

We were pleasantly surprised to find such nice playground equipment, similar to that in the States. Of course Mexico doesn't have the same safety regulations and much of this was on concrete tiles which is just fine with us.

Pure joy...as long as you don't push him to high. If you do, it's pure panic.

Pure joy...as long as you don't push him to high. If you do, it's pure panic.

We loved the variety of the play equipment which included outdoor music equipment, toddler structures, and baby swings.

We loved the variety of the play equipment which included outdoor music equipment, toddler structures, and baby swings.

As we walked through the park, we found other structures for climbing and playing too. There was a big sand box under this one.

As we walked through the park, we found other structures for climbing and playing too. There was a big sand box under this one.

We continued to explore the park and neighborhood. Finally, we felt the temperature drop significantly and headed for the hotel. Unfortunately, we only made it half way before we felt rain drops and quickened our pace. But, hey, we’re from Seattle, and a little rain doesn’t bother us. Two minutes later we were waiting out a flash food in the eave of a Lebanese restaurant. Wow! No less than 30 minutes later, we attempted the rest of the journey back to the hotel. Tag would have none of it so he got carried. Yes, walking through a steady stream of water on slippery tiled sidewalks while carrying a 46 pound boy and jumping over the largest puddles wasn’t too easy. But it was fun, and we love San Miguel more for the memory.

The kids were nervous, but we just laughed and had fun with it. Notice the spouts pouring water that has collected on the roof.

The kids were nervous, but we just laughed and had fun with it. Notice the spouts pouring water that has collected on the roof.

Water is flowing quickly downhill. At it's highest, the street was completely covered and probably 6 inches deep at the high points.

Water is flowing quickly downhill. At it's highest, the street was completely covered and probably 6 inches deep at the high points.

 

Overall, this is one of our favorite stops. We’d love to come back, maybe to live a couple of months during our second year of travel. I’ve already determined our second car whether we need it or not.

These were common to see on the streets with the cars. We saw several with young kids on the back, and kids sitting in the back on someone's lap. This would work great for a family of 4.

These were common to see on the streets with the cars. We saw several with young kids on the back, and kids sitting in the back on someone's lap. This would work great for a family of 4.

Next up…Mexico City.