A Travellerspoint blog

Markets, Organic and Otherwise

January 25

We set off this morning to walk to the organic market. We took a slightly different route and walked for a couple of blocks on a cobblestone street. Boy, they are so hard to walk on. They actually have a special shoe here, called the San Miguel Cocktail Combat Sandal. A shoemaker designed them for his wife and now they are a huge business. If you are interested check out this link http://www.experience-san-miguel-de-allende.com/san-miguel-shoes.html
Cobblestone street

Cobblestone street


As we walked to the market, we passed several interesting shops. In one, a young woman was making things out of pop can pulls. She had purses, a vest, a skirt and top, change purses, etc. All kinds of things made out of them. And then she had things made out of the cans themselves - like airplanes, boats, cameras. Very inventive. See the work at http://bio-imaginarte.com/
We also stopped in at the Art and Design market, which was also on our way. There was mostly jewellery and clothing there and someone selling coke can hats. I can't imagine they are very comfortable!
Coke can hats

Coke can hats


Once we arrived at the organic market, we were pleasantly surprised by how large it was. Lots of vegies, handcrafts, herbal stuff, etc. And lots of vendors selling food for lunch. So of course, we had lunch there and then bought our vegies and headed for home. It was a fair walk but not too bad, we even stopped at the grocery down the street to pick up a few things that we couldn't get at the market.
Organic market

Organic market


Tonight we went to a small theatre near our place to see "Gunsmoke", the radio play. They had a small group of actors that read two episodes of the radio play in front of microphones - no costumes or acting, other than voices. It was pretty good, they even included the commercials for cigarettes!

Posted by katdill 19:14 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Friday Night Concert

January 24

We spent most of the day just hanging out around downtown. We checked with one travel company about doing a tour to see the Monarch butterflies. We left them our email in the hopes that enough other people sign up so the tour is not too expensive. Otherwise, we may try to do it on our own as we leave here.
We also bought tickets for the Mexican Baroque Orchestra, who are giving a concert tonight. Just finding these places is an adventure - reading the map - finding the street signs - usually posted on the corner of a building - seeing all the little shops along the way - checking out the restaurant menus while we're going by - lots of fun.
We passed this basket shop crammed full, the little old lady who was the clerk was sitting at the back fast asleep, so I didn't disturb her, just grabbed a quick shot.
Basket shop

Basket shop


We spent some time in the main square, just sitting in the sun, reading and listening to a jazz trio playing at one of the restaurants around the square. Very pleasant and relaxing.
We picked a restaurant for supper that was close to the theatre. As we were walking there, we came across these painters hard at work. The first picture shows his technique for getting more paint on his roller and the second one shows the painter at the top, hanging down to paint and the one on the scaffold reaching up. Being a painter here is a challenging job!!
Filling the roller

Filling the roller

Hard at work

Hard at work


We had supper at Bacco, an Italian restaurant at the Hotel Sautto. They have a nice courtyard there and a clay pizza oven in the courtyard. So, of course, Don had pizza which he said is just like the real Italian pizza.
The concert was at the Teatro Angela Peralta, an old charming small theatre. The Mexican Baroque Orchestra was great. They had 7 players who were the backbone of the group, 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 harpsichord, 1 cello, and 2 Mexican guitars of different kinds. Then they had other players who joined them for different pieces - 2 trumpets, 1 oboe, 1 violin - and the harpsichordist also played a couple of different recorders in different pieces. It was very enjoyable and they were impressive musicians. We had a Canadian woman from Victoria sit beside us and so we chatted with her before the concert and during the intermission. She's considering buying a place in San Miguel and said she knew someone who had bought a place after only spending 10 days here!!

Posted by katdill 06:43 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

Moving to San Miguel de Allende

January 23

We left Guanajuato this morning on the bus. The buses are so nice, clean, modern, video screens, foot rests - much more comfortable than an airplane. And you get to see the country you are traveling thru. Mind you it was pretty desolate country today. Cactus trees, very dry land, hard to believe people can make a living on it, but we did see horses, goats, cows and a few irrigated fields as we got close to San Miguel.
After we arrived, we took a taxi to the house we are renting and waited to meet the agent to let us in. Jonathon showed up and gave us the keys and the tour. This place is quite a bit nicer than our previous one and it's not costing us much more, so that's very good. It's 2 story with 2 bedrooms upstairs and we have the roof terrace as well.
Front of house

Front of house

Bedroom

Bedroom

Table set in kitchen

Table set in kitchen


After we got settled in a bit, we walked downtown (which is actually uphill all the way) to find a restaurant for lunch - mind you by the time we ate it was 3:00! We found a nice place with courtyard tables. Very pleasant and good food. It seems that most of the restaurants here are more expensive than they are in Guanajuato. We were standing on the street corner deciding which way we would walk home, when an elderly lady came up to us and offered assistance. She's lived here 20 years she said and she seemed quite a character. After we talked to her and she went on her way, another tourist stepped past us just to take a picture of the outfit she had on. It was pretty eccentric.
A back view - note her purse

A back view - note her purse


On our way back home, we shopped in the market just down the street from us and got some fruit and vegies, etc. We did a bit of exploring the neighbourhood to find where the shops are right close to us. We also met a couple who are neighbours, an American man and his Mexican wife. They were very friendly and full of helpful information.
We sat up on the roof in the waning sunshine and enjoyed a beer. Here is a view of the big church at the central square from our roof.View towards downtown

View towards downtown

Posted by katdill 19:22 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Museo Exhacienda San Gabriel de Barrera

January 22

Our adventure for today started with climbing on a city bus to go to Marfil, a suburb of the city. It's very cheap to ride the bus, only 5 pesos each. We passed thru some different neighbourhoods on our way, because the bus doesn't go straight there, like a taxi. We wanted to get off at the Museo Exhacienda San Gabriel de Barrera, but we missed the spot. The bus went down a different road than the taxi we had taken the other day. So we stayed on the bus and rode to the end of the line, which happens to be the bus depot we'll be going to tomorrow. Don told the bus driver where we wanted to go and on the way back he told us where to get off. (Should have done that when we got on, I guess, but then we wouldn't have seen the rest of Marfil.) So we got off and walked along the side of the busy road until we got to the Museo - maybe a km or so. Then we paid the entry fee and got to explore the lovely grounds and house. They have 17 different gardens there - from a very spare Japanese one, to a cactus one, a citrus one, one with Eucalyptus trees, etc. Quite a variety and all surrounded by these huge old stone walls with vines growing all over them. At one point they had these old light bulbs hanging from string. The bulbs were filled with some kind of fluid - we have no idea what they are for, so please let me know if anyone out there knows.
Old light bulbs with fluid in them??

Old light bulbs with fluid in them??

Philodendron vines

Philodendron vines

Cactus garden

Cactus garden


The house was very large - even had it's own chapel - I think I saw 4 or 5 bathrooms and maybe 6 or 7 bedrooms. Very interesting.
After we were finished there, we walked back out to the main road and further along it to a spot where we could catch a bus. Back on the bus and got off down by the Alhondiga, the big museum. We started looking for a place to have lunch, but for some reason today, the restaurants we tried all had fixed menus that I could not eat. After 2 or 3, we ended up back at Jardin de Union and had lunch on the patio right at the side of the square. It was nice to sit outside and watch all the people go by as we ate, but it was quite a bit pricier than we had wanted for a fixed menu meal.
After lunch, we just sat in the square in the sun and read, and people watched. There is always something going on. Before we left, the mariachi band started playing for a party in another restaurant and the group of people were singing along and even dancing a little. Quite a bit of fun.

Posted by katdill 17:43 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Walking to San Javier

January 21

We set out this morning to walk to San Javier, which is a suburb of Guanajuato that is up in the hills. The #1 restaurant on the Trip Advisor list, Los Mercedes, is up on a hill with a panoramic view of the city below. As we walked along we passed the narrowest alley in the city again, so I had to take Don't picture showing just how narrow it is.
Don's almost too wide!

Don's almost too wide!


We had no idea how long it was going to take, the map we have of the city is not to scale, and we knew we had some hill climbing to do. But it didn't take very long and we only had to ask directions a couple of times, so we got there about 12:30, but the restaurant doesn't open until 2:00. (Lunch is normally 2:00 to 4:00 here.) So we had a little look around the neighbourhood, actually saw a cow on the hillside, which shows how near the edge of town we were. Then we sat on the curb and waited. While we were waiting, a policeman came and asked what we were doing there. Maybe someone had called them because we were hanging around and it's a fairly pricy neighbourhood. Or maybe he thought we were in trouble and needed help. Don told him we were waiting for the restaurant to open, so that was OK. Along came a little red bird, who was very cooperative in getting his picture taken. I think it's a Vermilion Flycatcher, but Don has some doubts about it.
Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher


We had an excellent meal in the restaurant. I had black corn fungus soup and then a grilled salmon fillet with capers. It was delicious! This is definitely the classiest restaurant we have eaten in - maybe ever! and of course, the most expensive on this trip so far.
We found a shorter route to come back down the hill - steeper, but quicker. As we walked along the street I noticed some grinding stones inside an open doorway and pointed them out to Don. An elderly man came right up, shook Don's hand and started talking to us. He had some English and explained the machines in the room. The corn grinding machine, which is where the grinding stones go, the dough mixing machine, and the tortilla making machine. The tortilla machine takes a large lump of dough, cuts it up, rolls the tortilla, and cooks it, all in one machine. They come out all the same size, ready to package. Amazing!
Tortilla Baker

Tortilla Baker

Posted by katdill 17:27 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

(Entries 36 - 40 of 53) « Page .. 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 »