Thanksgiving Reflections – 2017

My, what a crazy year this has been.

Thanksgiving is normally a time for introspection and reflection, for remembering everything that you have in your life, and for spending the day – or at least the afternoon – with friends and family.

I will be spending my Thanksgiving alone.

This is probably for the best.

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A Day Trip to Dolores Hidalgo

I recently blogged about my four-day trip to San Miguel de Allende, a small colonial city a few hours north of Mexico City. San Miguel, which for decades has attracted older Americans and Canadians – many of them retirees – instantly shot towards the top of my list of favorite places in all of Mexico.

Many foreigners own vacation homes in San Miguel, so the city is not cheap, in comparison with other highland cities and towns in Mexico. As such, many backpackers visit it as a day trip from either Querétaro or Guanajuato, larger cities that are just an hour away by bus. I recommend staying longer, not just because San Miguel casts an enchanting spell, but also because the city itself makes a great base for day trips to various points of interest.

I spent several hours day tripping from San Miguel to Dolores Hidalgo, a Pueblo Mágico (magic town) and the one-time residence of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a not-so-humble priest who lived here when he kick-started the Mexican Revolution (one of several revolutions in Mexico’s turbulent history, but, alas, the ultimate one) against Spanish rule. I suspect that most visitors hit up the Museo Casa de Hidalgo, the house-turned-history museum about Hidalgo’s life and times, and then leave. But while a far cry from being the most exciting Mexican town, Dolores Hidalgo is a pleasant place and deserves a bit more exploration than just the museum.

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Four Days in San Miguel de Allende

The colonial cities and towns of Mexico, with their leafy public squares, Baroque churches, vibrant markets, and colorful architecture are quite special. Oaxaca, Querétaro, Guanajuato, even much bigger Guadalajara…all are worth visiting. For years, the small city of San Miguel de Allende, acclaimed by countless travel writers as among the very best, alluded me. One planned visit was canceled after I caught the flu. Another was aborted following a schedule change at work. But this past March, I finally made it to San Miguel de Allende…

…and it was worth the wait.

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A Sunday in Tepotzotlán

As a teacher I was always discouraged from forming friendships with my students, and for all the right reasons. I see no reason, however, why I cannot pursue friendships, Facebook connections, and the like once I am no longer a teacher – and certainly once I no longer work for the language school that provides lessons to said student(s). So when Yolanda, a former student of mine, suggested that she would like for me to spend one weekend day to meet her family and spend some time speaking English with her children, I felt obliged to say “yes.”

We choose last Sunday as the date and Tepotzotlán as the place. Tepotzotlán is just north of Mexico City – a proper small town and another “Pueblo Mágico” in Mexico’s tourism crown. The “magical town” of roughly 39,000 people is famous for two things: barbacoa (barbecued lamb) and el Museo Nacional del Virreinato (the National Vice-Regal Museum).

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