Improve on my pilgrimage! We'll set up a tour.
Back to OUATIM: The Parroquía scene is easy to find in the movie AND in San Miguel. The "pistolero" scene was, I think, filmed in the plaza a couple doors up from Casa de Huéspedes, on Mesones. If you're coming FROM Parroquía, go right on Mesones to the plaza with a building on the far side topped by a weird scallop-shaped thingie. It is quite possible that the place where Agents Ramirez and Sands had lunch is that little outdoor cafe next to the tourist office (right next to Parroquía). I am not betting too much money on that, though. I DID find the Y-shaped street where Sands has his final showdown of the movie, but I found it at night, when I was looking for La Cucaracha (where Kerouac and Wm. S. Burroughs used to drink in the 50s), and I didn't pay enough attention...if you find it, send me the address. Finally, at the end of the "pistolero" sequence, that cactus town...don't know, but I think it might be off the road to Querétaro, just a little bit outside of San Miguel.
SAN MIGUEL de ALLENDE, MEXICO
"BEST of the COLONIAL TOWNS"
San Miguel de Allende is a colonial town rich in culture, heritage and history. It is well known as the home of heroes of the Mexican independence movement and as a center for the arts.
The town celebrated its 450th anniversary in 1992. In 1926, it was declared a National Monument, preserving the historical nature of the town. It is free of traffic lights, neon signs, fire hydrants and fast food establishments. With its cobblestone streets, 16th and 17th century architecture, pastel colored walls, and beautiful old churches; it is indeed one of Mexico’s prettiest colonial towns.
Another lure is the pleasant year-round spring like climate with warm, sunny days and cool nights. Located in the highlands of central Mexico in the State of Guanajuato, San Miguel sits at 6,400 ft. altitude. This keeps both the humidity and temperature down as well as keeping the air crisp and clear.
"WONDERFUL INTRODUCTION TO MEXICAN HISTORY"
I CONSIDER SAN MIGUEL A PERFECT PLACE FOR AMERICAN 'TOURISTS' TO SAMPLE SOME OF THE OLD FLAVOR AND STYLE OF MEXICO IN A COMFORTABLE SAFE ENVIRONMENT.
EVERYONE LAMENTS HOW MANY 'FOREIGNERS', MOSTLY FROM THE USA, HAVE MOVED HERE, BUT FOR MYSELF, LIVING IN A DESERT AREA OF MEXICO, IT IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE OF SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO, AND CHOICES OF HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS.
FOR MYSELF, I WAS THRILLED LAST TIME THERE TO FIND THAT AN ECLECTIC SRI LANKAN RESTAURANT HAS OPENED--See my TIP.*
Once upon a time, I went to Mexico
San Miguel...it's an hour away by bus. Lots of beautiful architecture. Lots of schools. Lots of culture. Lots of Americans. Once Upon a Time in Mexico was filmed there. Done! Yes, I went to San Miguel on a sacrilegious pilgrimage.
"And if you're not me, you would like these things:"
Yes, beautiful architecture. And San Miguel is very hilly. If you climb way up to the top, to the mirador, the view is lovely, especially at night with a slightly chilly breeze. There are shrines all over the place, but up by the mirador there's a fairly decent-sized one where you can sit, watch the city darken, and watch a blanket of lights where before you could see buildings and people moving.
San Miguel de Allende
"The city of arts..."
San Miguel de Allende is a colonial city situated at the heart of Mexico’s central plateau. At various key times in Mexico’s history, the city has been the scene of important events and developments with have gone to influence the shape of the Mexico we know today.
Evidence of pre-Hispanic civilization abounds in San Miguel. The majority of the archaeological remains maintained as monuments were constructed between 900 and 1100 AD. The ancient settlers of the region were forced to abandon them for numbers of reasons. From 1200 AD onwards, indigenous groups, primarily the Chichimecas, occupied the region. One important architectural site worth visiting is the “Cañada de la Virgen”, where you can see a range of well-preserved constructions, located on a beautiful spot near the Rio Lerma. In 1542, the Franciscan friar Juan de San Miguel set out from the Acambarro Convent to begin his evangelical work amongst the local, inhabitants of the region. On September 29, 1542, he founded the first settlement, which was called San Miguel de los Chichimecas, and the first Christian chapel, San Miguel Viejo, was build. Moving on to continue with his mission, Friar Juan de San Miguel left another Franciscan friar, Bernardo de Cossin, in charge of the settlement. However, due to the constant attacks from other indigenous groups, Cossin decided to move the settlement to a more secure site, relocating on a spot known as “El Chorro”, which also offered the benefits of having a huge natural spring.
In 1555, the settlement was officially founded as Villa de San Miguel, gaining great important thanks to its position between Zacatecas and Mexico City, as well as its thriving textile and livestock industries. And so, it became one of the richest and most prospected towns in the New Spain, being favoured by the major landowners of the region as their place of residence. From the 17th century onwards, magnificent houses and mansions were build showing a strong Andalusia influence, though it was not until the 18th century that the most religious edifices and grand mansions were constructed according to the architectonic style: baroque.
At the beginning of the last century, the seeds of Mexican Independence were sown in San Miguel. In 1810, the first insurgent army was formed under the command of Allende, Aldama. Lanzargota and others, marking the start of Mexico’s struggle for Independence. Nowadays, San Miguel de Allende is an important handicrafts centre, offering excellent services and never-ending array of tourist attractions.
In addition, San Miguel is home to numerous nationally and internationally renowned artists, who have chosen to settle in this paradisiacal location, full of galleries and prestigious art schools. At night, the town provides a more Bohemian atmosphere, with live music to suit all tastes in San Miguel’s bars and discos and at its restaurants, where you can enjoy the best national and international cuisine.
San Miguel de Allende is a city rich in traditions, with its colourful popular fiestas and important cultural festivals, which take place throughout the year and give its unique character. Particularly worth noting are the “Fiestas Patrias” in which Mexican celebrate their Independence in true Mexican style, with fireworks and never-ending list of artistic, cultural and popular events, such as the “pamplonada” or “running with the bulls”.
"Rincón de Don Tomas..."
It was early in the morning we arrived in San Miguel de Allende and the first thing we did was taking a good breakfast at Restaurant – Bar – Café “Rincón de Don Tomas” on the corner (Rincón means corner) of the Main Square. It is a nice place to sit in the morning and watch the people waking up or gathering the Main Square.
The Main garden (Jardin Principal) is San Miguel’s most popular gathering place. Beautiful buildings and archways dating back from the 18th century surround the plaza.
The Main square with Parroquia (Parish Church) de San Miguel Arcángel…
"Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel..."
This church was build on top of the old one (1689 – 1730), with a Baroque style. Back in 1880 the original towers were demolished and they start building the new tower by Seferino Quitierrez, who inspired in the great gothic European buildings, giving them that semi-gothic character.
"Templo de La Santa Escuela o San Rafael..."
The facade of the Temple to Saint Rafael…
Another view to the Temple to Saint Rafael…
"Presidencia Municipal (Mayor’s Office)..."
The City Hall, build in 1736 and the interior houses a painting depicting the creation of the first City Council of independent Mexico (September 17, 1810).
"Centro Cultural "El Nigromante"..."
The Necromantic Cultural Centre, now housed in what was the cloister of the former Convent of the Conception, an architectural wonder with its delightful interior patio. Nowadays it is a centre for teaching and promotion of the arts, in which teachers and students from around the world participate. The centre houses numerous works of arts.
"Templo de San Francisco..."
The Temple of Saint Francis (1779 – 1799) has a splendid churriguresque façade. The tower, attributed to Eduardo Tresguerras, is in the neoclassical style as is the interior. Important paintings from the Colonial period are housed here.
"Templo de la Tercera Orden..."
The Temple to Saint Francis and the Third Order is a Franciscan church; build in the early 18th century. The style is simple, austere and strong, as if from a different period.
This is the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, Mexican Independence hero. Now houses San Miguel’s Museum of History.
"Templo del Ortario de San Filipe Neri..."
The facade of this splendid church (1714) is in a beautiful baroque style, with remarkable engravings in rose coloured stone. The interior has a large number of paintings and charming ornamental sculptures have been conserved.
"Monumento a Ignacio Allende..."
This is the monument to Ignacio Allende on Civic Square. Formerly the “Plaza se Soledad (solitude)” and main square of San Miguel, as well as once being the site of a market; the current building was constructed to house the monument to General Ignacio Allende, Mexican Independence Hero.
"Templo de la Conceptión..."
The Temple of the Conception (18th century) is noteworthy for its beautiful dome, a replica that in the “Invalids” in Paris. Inside there is a splendid rococo altarpiece. It is a part of the Convent of the Conception (today, the Nigromante Centre).
"Fray Juan the San Miguel..."
The statue of friar Juan de San Miguel in front of the Parish de San Miguel de Arcángel, founder of the city in 1542, began the conversion of the region’s indigenous people.
Sorry for the bad pictures, but I make other ones the next time I am there.
"Celebrations and Festivals..."
General Ignacio Allende and Unzaga’s Birthday: On 21 of January, military and civic parades are held to commemorate the birthday of Insurgent hero General Ignacio de Allende.
Celtic week and St. Patrick’s Day: This Irish celebration is held on the 17th of March, with a parade through the city and features traditional Irish food and music (Gaelic).
Holly Week: This celebration is held in March or April and begins with the dedication of altars to the Virgen de Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) and culminates on Good Friday with a solemn procession of the Holly Burial.
Festival of San Antonio de Padua: This traditional and very popular festival is held on June 13th. It is characterized by the “Los Locos” (Crazy Ones) parade where people dress in costume and mask and dance through the streets of San Miguel. Live music and parade floats add to the joyous atmosphere.
Shorts Film Festival: This festival of Short Films is held in July and highlights both national and international works.
Chamber Music Festival: This cultural event is held each year (August 1 – 15) by the INBA (Institute of Fine Arts) and going on in the Angela Peralta Theatre.
Running of the Bulls: Held in the third Saturday of September in the Jardin Principal (Main darden) of San Miguel, bulls are let loose to run among the people brave enough to enter the Similar to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
Festival of the Archangel San Miguel: This festival is in honour of the Patron Saint of the City of San Miguel and is celebrated on September 29, every year. Cultural, social, artistic and sporting events are held throughout the city, along with bullfights.
National Brass and Wool Fair: national and international artisans display and sell their products the last two weeks of November.
International jazz Festival: The last week of November, the city hosts this festival with performances by national and international Jazz bands and artists.
Christmas festivities: Festivities begin on December 16 with the traditional posadas, pastoral plays, music, canticles and parades.
"Retirement on San Miguel de Allende..."
I notice from the beginning that many Americans were living in San Miguel de Allende. Thousands of Americans bring there old days (and vacation) in this city with their rich culture, slow pace, beauty, proximity to the States and, of course, weather. San Miguel de Allende is number eight in the top ten list for retirement in Latin-American places. Of course, many Americans (now, in 2002, more then 5,000 on a population about 80,000) bring also lots of US dollars, and prices going up like hell. Home prices have been on the rise. Who paid $160,000 for a 2,500-square-foot home nine years ago, figure it is worth $250,000 today. In addition, while American food products can run 50% more here, staples and eating out can be a bargain. Walked up to the market and buy a week's worth of oranges and a dozen eggs for less than $2. Who knows, maybe you find there also great-great-grandchild’s of Billy the Kid or Jesse James who living on the fortune of their great-great-grandfathers *lol*.