Saturday, May 30, 2009

El Mirador

On all the maps of El Centro is a notation for "El Mirador", but no other info. Finally I came across a's an observation point, an overlook, of the city! So early Wed morning I decided to see the sunrise on San Miguel.

The streets were very quiet and the lights were still burning on the courtyard wall of La Temple de la Concepcion.

A closer shot of the dome.

To begin I followed our usual route across El Centro to Parque Juarez.

This is Calle Correr behind La Parroquia. I've never seen it empty!

Calle Jesus is very narrow, with tiny sidewalks. When I'm carry Pai in the backpack, most people will step into the street to let me pass, a benefit of being an 'abuela'.

So, past the Parque I stayed to the left and headed up the hill. The maps don't show all the small streets, the only way was up, so I wasn't too worried at this point.

In this general area is El Charro, a series of springs where women still come to wash their clothes. I see the springs, but will try again another day.

The sign says "Casa de la Cluture San Miguel de Allende". It looks to be in process of remodel.
But with very little parking and it's location in the middle of a very steep street, I wonder how many people will be visiting.

Casa de la Cluture's fountain. I'm really curious about this buidling, it's not in the guide books, hope I can learn more about it.

My many rest stops offered lots of opportunities for pics.

La Temple de Charro is at the end of Calle Chorro and the top of the little street I had just climbed. The retaining wall is really, really high, and the street is narrow, so looking up at the churh.
It was before the churh opened, but people were all ready coming by. This is the narrow courtyard in front.
And two of several rock archways.

OK, not on the map, but the next street in the right direction and heading up the hill in a residential neighborhood. Definately off the tourist route. A man was walking up the street banging on a piece of metal, sort of like a towncryer with one of those triangles used to call in the cowhands. It was some kind of signal to the locals, maybe a call to Mass. By this point, I was beginning to doubt I would ever see El Mirador!

Finally to the top! A wide walkway with telescopes and a gorgeous view of San Miguel. I love the sun on the yellow buildings!

On the westside of town is a reservior. It must be the water supply. I don't have enough Spanish to attempt to ask about it.

Calle Mirador is a main north/south street at the top of the city. It was very busy with cars, buses, trucks with their backs loaded with workers, and as always, people walking.

Between the downhill street were little alleys. Some even had names, so I'm guessing there are entrances to residences along the alley.

Here's one going up the hill, too many cars on street for a good shot.
Yay! Jugo for sale in a doorway. Fresh squeezed juice is everywhere.

My favorite corner....Cruz de la Pueblo! Aren't the colors wonderful?

A window with stairs.

Bells and cells.

And home just in time for breakfast and a movie!

Parque Juarez

Every couple days Maricruz and I take Pai up the Parque Juarez to the kids playground. It's a good walk, maybe a mile or so on the city streets. Pai rides in the backpack and often lays her head down on my back. I think maybe she is going to fall asleep but as we enter the park she perks up and says "There it is!". Lots of fun structures to climb, slide, and swing. After an hour or so we go out into the Parque to walk around while Pai cools down.

The gazebo is near the playground, there's a basketball court, and these wide sidewalks cross the Parque in several directions.

Pai's not much for posing for pictures, they are usually action shots, this one was a happy accident!

Here's the fountain. There are fountains in all the squares, plazas, and often on street corners. The water is always crystal clean and clear.

Another daily activity is watching the evening light. I moved the flowers from the dining room out onto the verranda to try to catch it.

The parrot is made of wood, but makes a nice garden ornament!

Temple de la San Francisco

If one plaza is too busy it's not a problem to find another pleasant place to enjoy the evening. El Jardin had a big political rally in progress (race for mayor of San Miguel), so we went around the corner to the Temple de la San Francisco. The plaza is smaller and quieter, not so many people, most were inside for evening Mass.

The carvings above the window above the doors above.

And the bell.

The kids here are really curious about this little blonde pixie.

A vendor set up his assortment of nuts to catch the people leaving Mass.

These looked tempting but she ended up with her favorite.....pistaschios.

Sharing with Renita.

The bells of the Temple de la Terchera Orden on the other side of the square. The sun is just beginning to set.

On another side of the square on Calle Rolox.

Almost sunset, again on Calle Relox. Renita went to a local shop for churros. They are a fried, pastry snack, sometimes made with potato dough, always yummy, sorry no pics!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

El Charro del Ingenio Bontanical Gardens

Sunday morning I got my 'nature' fix. Ruth invited me to go with her for a weekly hike through the Bontanical Gardens. The garden is at the top of the hill, maybe a mile and a half from El Centro. We took a taxi up and planned to walk back down.

In the distance we could see the Sierra de Guanajuato. We are all ready at 6000 feet so I'm guessing these mountains have some really high peaks.

The garden is 250 acres, including an ajoining Conservation Area. There are many, many beautiful, mature desert plants to see.

Paths edged in native stone lead through the garden to various special interest points. Today we went to the green house.

Inside is a collection of fascinating, unique and rare catus. I didn't take many pics so as not to slow Ruth down too much. The greenhouse itself was really interesting too.

Next to the Garden is a Conservation District which includes this silted in reservior that is now a wetland area for many wintering birds. Almost empty, it will be full shortly as the rainy season begins in June.

We happened across this bug along the trail. He was a good inch or more long!

The Colonias Dam was built close to 100 years ago to provide water and power for the Cotton Mill. We walked across the top of the dam and this section of spillway in the middle. It is a very beautifully designed dam. I was wishing for a wide angle lens.

By the way, the Cotton Mill is now the La Aurora Art and Design Center. That's on the list visit soon.

OK, back to the hike, we took the taxi up to the top, walked though the gardens, around the reservior, across the dam, and then on a trail along a very rugged canyon. Suddenly we were overlooking the city again and then through a gate into a neighborhood of gorgeous homes called La Balcones for the views. Continueing down the steep street I couldn't resist another shot of La Parroquia past the red roofs.

Breakfast was at Buenas Diaz Cafe. The best part for me was 'limeade' made from fresh limes,
carbonated water, a little sugar and lots of ice. The perfect end to a great hike.

Saturday Afternoon Fun

Before naptime we went out to find cookies at a bakery Ruth recommended. When we are on the streets, Pai is either carried, rides in the backpack, or is held tightly by the hand. In the plazas and squares she has a little more freedom, and here you can tell by her body language that this is a no-hands zone.

The cookies, cinnamon rolls, and coffee were great as promised, but the most fun was little bird that was singing his heart out for Pai and everyone else within a hundred yards.

Naptime is when Bernie or I go out on our own. This afternoon I headed for the Mercardo, an open air, but covered market. Often corners have brightly colored fountains, this one has a telephone too.

And as the "tourist police" was relaxing in the courtyard next door I took advantage of the opportunity to get a picture of his saddle. I just happened to think... I guess women don't get to be members of the tourist police in Mexico.

Wandering into a courtyard that appeared to be public (but not completely sure) I found this twig broom on the grass. Now, here is a group that allows women.....the street sweepers. Every morning they are out in force sweeping the streets with these twig brooms. I would love to get a picture of the process, but it seems disrespectful.

The vegetable/flower/meat market is open on the sides, but covered, and looks something like a big warehouse. This is one tiny section.

I made my way through the artians market and then headed home via this plaza on Calle Insurgentes. It's siesta time so very quiet, in a couple hours it will be full of people enjoying Saturday evening.