Definitely not in Kansas… and this sweet pup is not Toto, but he sure was interested in what I was doing on the street below.

But before we get to the pup, I guess it would be best to go back to the start of our great circle route: San Miguel de Allende to Dolores Hidalgo to Santa Rosa. This was going to be our first visit to San Miguel, though we know many folks who regularly visit here and rave about the town. It has quite a large expat population and there is deep history and gorgeous art. Bob and I were both wondering if we would be so taken with the town that we would feel differently about our beloved Guanajuato. We even had prepared a list of places to check out as potential winter lodgings in the coming year.

We were more than halfway to San Miguel when we started seeing lines of people walking up the road. This was pretty much in the middle of nowhere as there were no actual towns in sight. The lines went on for kilometer after kilometer; hundreds of people. We knew we were seeing something unique and special.  But what??

 

At one point religious flags and a large group singing and saying prayers aloud passed in front of us.

 

This group carried a reliquary, a glass box with their patron saint’s image inside. By now we are confident that we are witnessing a religious ritual or pilgrimage of some short. We figured that it would be impolite to call out a question to the marchers, but we planned to definitely ask about all of this when we arrived in town.

 

Overview of San Miguel. You can identify El Centro by the predominance of church spires.

 

First thing we did was find our hotel. This is the lovely inner courtyard. Our room was right across from the fountain.

 

Mural of Frida Kahlo in the hotel lobby. No information on the processional, but we did get a good recommendation for lunch – so off we go.

 

An example of the rooftop greenery that is everywhere in the city. Behind those pots is likely a lovely rooftop garden and/or seating area.

 

The houses we pass come right to the sidewalk and we see unique door ornaments and alcoves with art in them.

 

Priest behind bars?!?

 

After lunch we walk around the area to see the various offerings in the shops. We then head toward the plaza to check out one of the nine large churches/cathedrals within the main section of town. I liked the contrast of beautiful stone work and the signs of age on this one.

 

Inside there were five magnificent chandeliers.

 

And the bell tower was home to a number of pigeons.

 

Back in the car: we drove about town to check out those VRBO sites we had identified. Lots of stone-paved roads, narrow streets, construction (both of homes and of infrastructure), and market areas. Overall, we found it interesting enough, but nothing seemed to draw us like Guanajuato does. I am sure there are things we may have missed or overlooked. I would love to hear from my friends who come to San Miguel and truly enjoy it. Our minds are still open on this…

Oh – the good news is we found information about the procession. We went to a happy hour (mojitos and margaritas down the street from our hotel) and asked our server what the occasion might have been.  Between his understanding of my spoken Spanish and my interpretation of his spoken English we determined that we were seeing a sanctification of the saints by Saint Mary. Again – if someone else has anything to add to this – comment away, please.

 

Next morning we head to Dolores Hidalgo, “the cradle of independence”. It was here that Father Hidalgo first issued a cry for Mexico’s freedom from Spanish rule. As you can see by the sign, this area is famous for colorful ceramics.

 

Monument to the Heroes of Independence. The sculpture is 25 meters in height, carved from pink stone and boasts the colossal figures of Hidalgo, Morelos, Allende and Aldama.

 

Beautifully laid out streets with landscaped medians. These palms seem carved to resemble pineapples.

 

From Dolores Hidalgo we travel over a very, very windy and steep road to Santa Rosa. At this point we are just shy of 9000 feet. It’s not quite the vista we had in Norway this past June, but it is still quite breathtaking.

 

Getting close to a cactus patch.

 

We passed a forest firefighters camp and tower along the way. Hard to imagine fighting fires in this elevation and using these roads.

 

Here is our reason for including Santa Rosa on our outing.  All items are made on site, and they employ 30 painters who do all of the decorating by hand.

 

‘Story panel tiles” on the gate front of the house next to the ceramics store.

 

Another beautiful panel. And it is from the roof of this building that the dear pup peeped out his head to see what I was doing.

 

House with Mayolica adornments.

 

As we were getting in our car to leave we noticed that school was letting out. No school buses in this town of 1,085 residents. Interestingly, most every group of students had a adult who had come to walk them home. Guess that rather than the “Kiss and Ride” lanes at many American schools this would be a “Kiss and Walk”. I like it.