San Miguel de Allende: Home to the Pink Castle (El Castillo Rosado)

Market Place
Market Place

Part two of our Weekend Trip was the town of San Miguel de Allende. Only one hour by bus from Guanajuato, and in the same state, it spreads out over a hill-like area. Once we stepped foot into San Miguel, I was in love. Unlike Guanajuato, the vibes were all right here!

The town is certainly more touristy. And even though it has slightly less people living here than in Guanajuato, the streets are certainly busier. Tourists come alive in this place, and it is more populated thanks to people visiting mostly from America, Canada, and many more countries.

San Miguel was gorgeous during the evening hours when we arrived. After checking into our hostel, this time with more visitors in the lobby than in our other one, we set out to explore the town (by foot, of course). Our location was in the middle of the busy downtown area, so we strolled along, stopping here and there to compare restaurant prices. Not being satisfied with the first street, we turned corners and were facing a grand market area, which is probably where most of San Miguel’s action goes down, period. Among local ice cream carts, street musicians, and gift vendors, I finally found what I had missed out on in the week before: Mariachi! Albeit not totally local, since they stem from the state of Jalisco, a group of elderly men was performing in yellow costumes and having a lot of fun by singing as loud as they could.

Blurry picture of my first Mariachi
Blurry picture of my first Mariachi
Church close to the market
Church close to the market

Cobble-stoned streets, ugly masks in front of night clubs, drunk people tumbling around downtown – we were certainly ready for another party night. After having dinner and getting dressed back at our hostel we decided that 11 PM was a decent time to start off with a rooftop bar. And the bar was awesome except for the fact that they didn’t have enough room for 4 girlies… Say what? Instead, we went to a neighboring rooftop, less populated, with a DJ and an older crowd (think 40 years and up) and I became addicted to Micheladas after having my first one here. Well, one hour in, and we are starting to feel like dancing so we set off for a night club. El Grito had a hideous mask outside of the club (it translates into “The Scream”), but we got in in no time. And were among a crowd of mostly teenage early twens a ton of people! So many, actually, that my friend got annoyed with being pushed out of the way every three seconds by yet another disrespectful Mexican guy who just wanted to demonstrate his power. 30 minutes later, we were back on the streets and headed to the rooftop bar of our choice (yes, the same one that didn’t have room for us earlier). Here we met my friend’s cousin and her group. After a quick midnight meal (or early morning snack), we headed on to a less crowded night club. While we did pay a cover for our first one, this one was free. The DJ played Mexican hit songs, mostly Molotov rock. Overall, I have to say that Mexican club music resembles music you would hear all over the world plus some native tunes in between. At 5 AM we called it a night and finally went to sleep off our exhaustion.

Night View
Night View

Sunday, our last day of this lovely Weekend Trip: I parted from the other three girlies, who bought a lot of Tortas (Mexican sammiches, so great!) for breakfast, and I made the mistake to buy a bagel, which ended up tasting like cardboard (and being completely overpriced). While the others were probably wandering around on their own, I set off to go up and downhill, until I felt I was almost lost. The further away I went from the crazy busy market place, the more beautiful the town became. Unlike Guanajuato, the streets were totally walkable here and I didn’t have to worry of being run over by a mad cab driver. Passing the market place once more, a horse was being lead around for people to sit on and take pictures together with a Mexican dressed up as a Cowboy. Or as Karla put it: A typical Charro. Because Mexican cowboys look a teeny bit different than American ones, do.
And while we are at it: I also ran across lots of Cowboy errr Charro boots, since the state of Guanajuato is known for making the best shoes in Mexico. Indeed, over half of the shoes produced in Mexico are made in Léon, which is not too far from San Miguel.

El Charro with his horse....
El Charro with his horse….
... and some charro boots.
… and some charro boots.

Anyhow, when I almost got lost, I asked a girl where the pink castle was. You know, that Disney-like building, that is the landmark of the city. She didn’t know what I was talking about at all, and I am sure my foreign accent wasn’t that bad. But then Karla told me later that it is actually a church (she just likes to call it a castle). So to get this straight for any future visitors: The church looks like a castle, is in the middle of the market place and is actually called La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. It was built in the 17th Century and it looks quite stunning!

La Parroquia
La Parroquia

In the afternoon, our stay was already over. We took off, this time with a cab that was punctual, and soon were on our way back to Guadalajara. Two days spent in a different state = two days over way too soon.

[For more pictures, go to: This is Mexico: San Miguel de Allende]

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