Who among us has never fantasized about time travel?
The frenetic pace of contemporary life has many of us longing for a simpler, less complicated era when time sufficed to appreciate the wonders of the world and the richness of relationships. If this describes you, I have some very exciting news. As one of the few *academicians on earth to fully grasp the intricacies of Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity (or is it General Theory of Relativity), I am able to exend you an exclusive offer of time travel to an idyllic and forgotten past.
* For those cynics out there who may be dubious regarding my claim to be an academician, I simply point you to my advanced degree in golf ball technology earned at my local Sports Authority.
It has been my unmerited privilege the past twenty-five years to circumnavigate this mystical orb we all share as our temporal home. On one such excursion, I discovered one of the most magical spots anywhere on the globe. It is practically in our own backyard (if you live in Texas as I do, at any rate), easy to get to, enjoys an idyllic climate, is eminently safe and secure, is highly affordable and chock-full of mysteries and wonders.
Even the name is alluring: San Miguel de Allende. By way of a quick history lesson, the city was founded in 1542 by a Franciscan monk named San Miguel El Grande . . apparently he consumed a few too many poblano peppers . . .and the town originally was simply called San Miguel. It was renamed San Miguel de Allende after Ignacio Allende, a hero of the independence movement which was centered in San Miguel and the surrounding towns of Dolores Hidalgo and Querétaro. I trust by this point you are duly impressed by my mastery of mathematics, Mexican history and, not to be sneezed at, golf ball spin ratios and launch angles. Ah yes, a true Renaissance man.
But I digress. Let me elaborate on a few of the qualities mentioned above. I said it is easy to get to and so it is. From all over the US you can connect on American through DFW or United through Houston’s IAH airport to daily non-stop flights to Querétaro, which is a very easy and pleasant one hour’s drive from San Miguel on an excellent highway. Another feature I mentioned is the climate. After the heat waves scorching the nation this summer, how does year-round highs in the low eighties and lows in the lower sixties sound?
As to security (see my previous post called Mexico Maligned), it is perhaps one of the safest cities anywhere. Approximately 12 percent of the population are ex-pats, mostly Americans with some Canadians and Europeans, who have moved there to enjoy San Miguel’s wonders year round. The city is currently pursuing an international designation as a “Secure City” based on its stellar record of security.
San Miguel is renowned for its artist’s colonies and language schools. It was designated in July of 2008 a World Heritage Site which in part explains one of San Miguel’s most endearing qualities. There is a consistently mandated effort to maintain the integrity of all building exteriors. Thus, when you walk along the narrow, cobblestone streets (comfortable walking shoes are a must, by the way), you will constantly encounter weather-beaten old doors that you would assume hide some dilapidated home or abandoned shop. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Behind many of those gnarly, battered doors are amazingly beautiful restaurants, hotels and tiendas (shops). But you don’t have to take my word for that. I took lots of pictures of San Miguel and Querétaro on my recent trip and you can peruse them at your leisure at a special photo site I created called The Magical Heart of San Miguel.
Above and beyond all the architectural, archaeological, historical and gastronomical treasures San Miguel has to offer, it is first and foremost a place to relax, to reflect and to renew. I promise that when you return from your visit to San Miguel you will leave a piece of your heart there but San Miguel will more than reciprocate the loss by sending you home with a new sense of calm and perspective.