Christmas in San Miguel de Allende

We had arrived at the glamping site near San Miguel de Allende as the sun had begun to set for Christmas Eve. Everyone else was already there, along with another camper we had not met before and some other people who were friends of Clem and Emilie.

We were quite a big group, the table was already laid and stretched out across a large decked area with an outdoor kitchen. From being stuck by ourselves with no real plan to celebrate Christmas, to suddenly be surrounded by people was a nice shock. We met some new people, and soon had a drink in our hands. The day had been a bit of a whirlwind, I couldn’t quite believe we had made it. Half of me just wanted to sleep, but Christmas festivities were in full swing and a nice meal was in the making. It was very nice to turn up and find everything had already been done, we were in no mood to stop off for shopping on the way.

Kikki had made a chocolate cake for desert, while the starter consisted of salmon and avocado mousse. Other people tucked into some enormous hunks of meat along with their vegetables, while we had some barbecued fish. After we had eaten, we rolled the barbecue next to the table and used it as an inside fire pit, it was pretty windy and a chilly one at that. Still, nothing a few beers and a nice bottle of tequila couldn’t sort. After a very long day, but with a happy ending, we crawled into Ruby and enjoyed falling asleep in the countryside rather than a busy city again.

People emerged from their campers in various states the following morning. It seemed like the best cure was about to arrive though. Clem and Emilie had ordered some hot water which was going to be used to fill up the small pools onsite. After some jiggling around of cars to let the water truck in, we left them to fill the pools while we had breakfast. This had been ordered in locally, and some local ladies took over the kitchen and cooked us quesadillas of our choosing, not your normal Christmas morning breakfast, but very good nonetheless. I didn’t get as far as eating any of the animal stomach soup though, despite it being recommended as an excellent hangover cure. Then, the pools were full and we got changed and hurriedly got into the hot water, it was pretty chilly outside despite the sun. By mid-morning we all sat in the hot water enjoying the sun and sipping a nice cold beer. This seemed like a pretty great way to spend Christmas.

We let the reality of it all sink in. It was a good feeling and I hoped it would last, it’s certainly not something I could have predicted if you asked me a year ago. We vaguely discussed plans for the next day as we lounged in the pools that were now a kind of human soup. The campsite was indeed nice and peaceful, as well as having some really great showers, but it was a bit expensive at 500 pesos a night. We didn’t mind to have an enjoyable Christmas, but it was soon time to move on.

The following morning, our convoy moved out towards the town. We had yet to see it and the others needed to pick up some post. It was only a short drive away, and we soon parked up. Lee, Jaro and I set off to explore. We walked across the town to check out an art gallery that was housed in a prevous textile factory, that Kikki had recommended.

Inside Fabrica de Aurora

The town itself is indeed pretty, parts of it had a definite Spanish feeling to their architecture and from the higher side it is possible to see some great views out across the city.

We spent a couple of hours in the town, walking back through El Chorro park as our car parking was about to expire.

Even in big towns here, the presence of Covid is not overwhelming. There’s the usual requirments to were a mask, and some things are shut. But on the whole you can go about your day to day life, as long as you don’t mind walking through a wet inflatable arch that ‘disenfects’ you as you enter the central area of town.

We had wanted to park on the street outside where Bruno had managed to blag a space, but there was no other room. Hoping we could move here, as this would be our free camping for the night we drove around. There was no space, so we headed out a little way to try a microbrewery Lee had obviously found. True to form, this was closed down so after a pointless 20 minute drive we returned to scout the parking. This time there was space for one car, with a guy sitting in his car next to the space. We asked him if he planned on leaving soon as there would then be space for both of us. He told us 15 minutes, so we sat down to wait. The guy had nerves of steel. We sat on the pavement opposite him watching and waiting for a full 45 minutes before he finally left. Then, with a little juggling we managed to fit all three campers in. Clem and Emilie parked around the corner. Having sorted our sleeping spot for the night we decided to was time to sample a bar. We headed to the Irish pub we had passed earlier, supposed to serve some great beers. Looking over the bar it there was one fridge that had two different beers in it, with the usual selection of Mexican stuff on tap. Nothing particular impressive, especially when Lee asked for on the beers out of the fridge and was told that he could have it but that the fridge was off so it was warm. No matter, we got our drinks and headed over to sit by the window. Starting to get a bit peckish we looked at the menu. Fish and chips seemed like an apt choice, so we flagged down the waiter. We asked to order some food.

“Sure!” He said. “What would you like?”

“Three fish and chips please”

“We don’t have that”

“Oh… ok can we have some of the cheese sticks?”

“No. We don’t have that.”

“What do you have then?”

“Just tacos.”

“Right. Three beers please.”

These at least didn’t disappoint, and we had a truly huge glass of Indio before we set out to find some food.

We had spied a cool looking underground bar earlier, but it didn’t seem like it did food. We walked to the place on the corner but was told they only had hamburgers. Then we found a place via the Happy Cow app and headed there. Paprika, was an awesome little restaurant, we walked through into an ancient looking courtyard with round stone towers adorned with plants.

The menu looked pretty exciting too, lots of options for us. The only downer was that we were told we couldn’t had anything alcoholic drinks because it was after 8pm, by two minutes, and this was Covid policy. We ordered some ginger tea instead to go with our meals. Then we saw the other table order a huge tray of beer, we asked the waiter how that worked. Then the owner came over and explained that they had ordered before the cut off, she said if we wanted something though we could have it as long as we got it now. We got a bottle of wine to share between the three of us, she nodded as she took her order. “Silly me, my watch must have been wrong!” She said as she returned with our wine.

They brought us some bread with a fresh herb dip while we waited. When our food arrived it was great. They brought us three extra baskets of bread and dips for free too. It was really great good and fantastic customer service; I couldn’t recommend it enough. Feeling full and happy we decided we needed a nice tequila to cap the night off. We headed back to the underground bar. We ordered some mezcal, which was not only very expensive but not very nice. As I sat on my fake dead cow rug chair I got the impression this was a trendy student bar where you come to sink rows of shots rather than enjoy a single nice tequila. We left shortly after.

Lee had decided at some point in the night that he wanted a nice Irish whiskey, no doubt from being in close contact with the Irish pub. He didn’t have much luck in finding one, everywhere either having no idea what it was or being shut. He was left to head back to the van, vowing to buy cream and whiskey and make one himself tomorrow.

The morning came and the group split. Hanno and Kikki were waiting for post still and Clem and Emilie were happy to chill with them. We wanted to see Guanajato, where they had already been. So we set off with Jaro to check out this city, supposedly a little more ‘Mexican’ than San Miguel de Allende that definitely gave off an American residential vibe. Only an hour drive away, we set off mid-morning. We planned to re-unite in Tamasopo for New Year’s Eve, now four days away after exploring the new city.

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