The Soul of San Miguel de Allende

Words and Photography by Pete Heck / Poetry by Judith Jenya

I run through the cobblestone streets, up and down the countless hills, around locals queuing up for their morning breakfast before continuing on to work. Abuelos line park benches talking amongst each other, smiling, laughing, enjoying life and the morning sun which was starting to peek around the Parroquia’s steeple.

La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Parque Centrale

The abrazo among men,
a kiss on the cheek with the women;
family and friends greet each other,
exchange small gifts, share love.
The air is cold.
Warmth is internal, the feeling of family, community.
All these mingle to become
the aroma in San Miguel.

There’s a certain magic to San Miguel de Allende that appeals to many. Some liken it to Mexican Disneyland, but it is also known as El Pueblo Magico (The Magic Town). Two years ago we made a brief stop, and were convinced to return for a bit more time.

La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Dusk

La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Tilted
La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Last Light
La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Famous Shot

San Miguel beckons; its hillsides are covered with casitas and mansions,
spires of churches, roads snaking up mountains,
and even from a distance, you see Colour, the signature of this town.
Colours of the sunset ricochet off the Parroquia,
golden clouds reflect the dying sunlight in streets and hillsides.

I continue down an alleyway that I strolled along the night before; it’s lined with flags hung out for celebrations. I lose my focus, distracted by the colourful pallet of buildings and I stumble on the uneven cobblestone. I thankfully catch myself, and I am reminded that I have to keep attention to stay upright.

La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Through the Arch

Stones worn smooth through centuries of feet, hooves, wheels.
Stones glistening with water after rain.
Stones of San Miguel, silent sentinels of stories.

My run has slowed to a climbing pace, my heart is racing from the ascent. Reaching the top I’m exhausted and completely out of breath. La Parroquia, the flagship landmark of the city, stares at me. She’s always watching over her town.

Mirador - San Miguel de Allende
La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Flowers
La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende Mirador

The aroma of love pervades bedclothes thrown on the floor.
Can you see moonlight dancing on the tiles?
Light and shadow flee across the Parroquia.
A bird cries out.

There’s really no spot in the city where I can’t see her. She’s San Miguel de Allende’s icon. A beacon to remind you of where you are. She stands tall amongst a city deep in history that has opened her door to many locals and foreigners. She’s the soul of San Miguel.

La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Night Street Scene

La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Sunset

La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Rosewood Patio
La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Close Up
La Parroquia San Miguel de Allende - Rosewood Lounge
13 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • February 29 2016

    Wow Dalene – I can see why they call this “Magic Town”. Your first image drew me in. The colours and the architecture are amazing. Your last few posts are certainly sparking my interest in Mexico and beyond. Looking forward to your next post.
    Tracy recently posted..Rainy Days and Sick Bays

    • March 22 2016

      This country is very enchanting. It is going to be hard to leave soon!

  • March 1 2016

    Tears in my eyes! I love San Miguel so much and it has almost been one year since my first visit there last spring with 2 of my girlfriends, road trippin” through central Mexico. The photographs are delightful invoke strong memories, thank you!
    Emily recently posted..Curing Your Northwest Winter Blues

  • March 1 2016

    I absolutely love this! What a magical place. Your poetry and photographs stole my heart

  • March 2 2016

    I’ve read about San Miguel and thought it sounded beautiful. Now I’ve seen your photographs and I’m hooked.
    budget jan recently posted..Budget Eating at Ortigia Market Siracusa

  • March 2 2016

    Wow Pete! You captured her, in all her glory, the church, the town. So many people try to capture and transmit the magic and soul of this very special placw. You did it. San Miguel is a world of magic and yes, the Parroquia is her soul and her beacon. I am one of the lucky ones. I live here. Thank you for expressing why so many of us love her so.
    Donna Meyer recently posted..Are These the Best Chocolate Truffles in Oregon? In the Country?

    • March 22 2016

      Thank you so much Donna for your kind words! So glad that this post resonated, we do our very best to try and represent each location we visit.

  • Susie
    March 7 2016

    San Miguel de Allende is such a special place. The food, the people, the art, culture, the beautiful buildings and landscaping, the music! I could go on and on. Each street is cobblestone, you can walk and walk and not even realize how far you have been.
    there is so much to see and experience. If you are considering a trip anywhere, San Miguel is a must! These photos are beautiful, but no where as close to how beautiful when seen with your own eyes!

  • Teo
    March 11 2016

    There is another town known El Pueblo Magico in Mexico: Comala(situated in Colima).A magical place indeed.
    After seeing your previous photos from San Miguel we decided to visit that part of Mexico but we ended in Colima. We had a real Mexican experience too.Hope next time we won’t miss San Miguel!

    • March 22 2016

      Now I have to look up Colima! I was surprised the other day when I did some research and there are actually over 80 Pueblo Magicos! I want to see them all. 🙂

  • March 13 2016

    Beyond lovely! The night photos are stunning.

  • April 26 2016

    WOW – this looks amazing – your pictures are absolutely stunning. We are house sitting in San Miguel twice later this year and will be re-launching the House Sitting Magazine from here so it will be featured in the second issue. Would love to include a link to your website and this article. Email me if interested 🙂

  • Hodo T
    May 10 2016

    I can see from your photos and poetry that you love this place a lot! and I can see what. Such a charming place with a magnificent landmark that seemingly stands watch over it.

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