Sunday, May 19, 2013

Visitando San Miguel de Allende

After our late night of salsa dancing, I was very reluctant to get out of bed at 7:30am. However, I coaxed myself and got ready in time to head out to the university (UAQ) to meet the group by 9am. Along with some of the host students (Mini, Eduardo, and Alex) and Nanci, the group piled into a van and headed over to San Miguel de Allende for the day. The drive took about an hour and of course I fell asleep along the way!

When we arrived, the first thing we did after we got dropped off was go to Starbucks :) I ordered a tall iced white chocolate mocha and I was just about in heaven. Not only was it what I needed after a sleep-deprived night, but it was STARBUCKS, which I love! I also finally spotted a real bagel since leaving the U.S. almost two weeks ago and promptly ordered it with copious amounts of cream cheese. I've actually been REALLY craving a bagel since I got here and I have NO idea why. The last place I went to that served breakfast had something that hinted at a bagel but I wasn't sure and I was sorely disappointed when a straight up biscuit accompanied by jam and cream cheese sat in front of me on the place. So, thus, I ordered and snatched up that bagel in a hot second, sharing it with Katie who also shared the love and great need for a traditional American bagel. 

After sipping our Starbucks for a while, we found a trolley tour and discovered that they had a bilingual tour available in about 15 minutes. We hopped on the trolley along with some middle-aged couples and spent the next hour and a half driving through the beautiful city. We got out to check out the old lavandería, which is a large gathering place of about 15 stone wash basins that women used to go to in order to wash clothes. The water came from a river (now called El Río de Los Perros - The River of Dogs) that legend says had been discovered by thirsty dogs accompanying native Mexicans about 500 years ago. There was a channel that collected the river water and women would scoop up using a device in order to put it in the wash basin. During this stop we also walked through a park that had been renovated in 2004 and featured local artist work being sold by the fountains. We also made a stop at the highest point of the city that overlooks all of the downtown and surrounding area. It was so beautiful! I tried capturing the view on my camera with a panoramic but it just doesn't do the depth and breathtaking view that can be seen in-person justice. We also were able to sample tumbagones, which are a traditional candy specific to San Miguel de Allende. They come in different flavors and are rolled and very fragile. I tried vanilla and it tasted like a less-crunch version of a waffle cone. It was pretty good! 

We returned to the beginning point of the tour and proceeded to hunt for a restaurant that Mary had eaten at in the past called The Bugambilia. While we never did find the original restaurant that she had actually been to, we were directed to another restaurant with the same name on the other side of the main square. I ordered sopa azteca (tomato-based broth soup with tortilla chip strips, queso, avocado, and dried chiles), which I LOVED. I was worried about not getting enough soup since it was half the cost of the entrees, but I couldn't even finish all of it - the bowl was huge! 

We had about an hour and a half to shop around for a while so all of the nursing students and Ryan and I poked around stores together. Along the way, we witnessed at least two weddings - one actually taking place in the church and the other getting their photos taken. Nanci and Mary had mentioned that we would probably see at least a few weddings since San Miguel de Allende is a very popular spot to get married and the weekends fill up. They were right! We met the rest of the group at the garden near the main square and got back in the van for the ride back. We were all so exhausted that the majority of us fell asleep on the way back to UAQ. 

Mary and I walked back home after getting dropped back off at UAQ after the long day and just took things slowly. Changing clothes, starting a load of laundry, catching up on blogging, and folding the previous set of laundry is what my afternoon/evening consisted of. Around 8pm, Mary and I decided to venture out downtown, where we went to the most delicious ice cream shop and got chocolate (for me) and strawberry (for Mary) malts. I've noticed a trend in having cinnamon be incorporated into anything with chocolate here and I finally figured out today that this is the flavor of Mexican chocolate. I really like it and how the cinnamon subtly adds a little something different to the chocolate flavor. We slurped as we walked and headed over to Fin de Siglo, which is the restaurant where we'll have our final group dinner with the host families and people from UAQ who have helped us. I helped Mary speak with the manager and make a reservation for the 27th, which is only 8 days away. 

Time is moving too fast! I can't believe we've been here for nearly two weeks and leave in just about one - I don't want it to end just yet! I'm having so much fun!

Hasta la próximo post :) 

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