First of all, to all my English-speaking readers, I want to clarify the pronunciation of the title, which in Spanish sounds like “Mehico Mahico”. I’m sure you’ll agree it sounds so much better in Spanish, doesn’t it? And the meaning is beautiful too because yes, as you’re probably guessing, it does in fact mean “magical Mexico”.
Now, even more beautiful than the sound and meaning of those two words is the fact that it is absolutely true that Mexico is indeed magical. It is so full of history, culture, traditions, architecture, idiosyncrasies, heritage, warm and welcoming people…it’s just impossible not to fall in love with it all. And I did, I fell in love with Mexico all over again in this past trip. Traveling to this magical places, I felt so lucky, so grateful to be there, to be a part of it, to have it be a a part of me. Not trying to get too corny, but there’s no other way to describe the feeling of awe you get when you find yourself surrounded by so much beauty and history.
Not only was this post’s title inspired by the fact that all these places I got to visit are truly magical, but also by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism’s program called “Pueblos Magicos” (“Magical towns/villages”). This program has been promoting these places for tourism by awarding them the title “Pueblo Magico”. According to this Secretariat, a “Magical Village” is a place with symbolism, legends, history, important events, day-to-day life – in other words, “magic” in its social and cultural manifestations, with great opportunities for tourism. So far 83 towns all across Mexico have been awarded this title, and I got to visit a small number of these on my trip.
Here’s the funny thing, the photos I bring you today are from San Miguel de Allende, one of the most magical towns in Mexico, but ironically one that was removed from the list of “Pueblos Magicos” a few years ago due to its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. I guess the Secretariat of Tourism figured UNESCO’s title was enough to promote San Miguel de Allende and they didn’t need to keep it on their own list, but whatever…you get the point, this place is an absolute must-see if you are ever in Mexico. And if you think these photos turned out half way decent, let me tell you they got nothing on the real thing, on the beauty of actually standing there looking at these sites. The Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, the town’s iconic parish church is by far one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. With its Neo-gothic façade, the gorgeous pink-ish color of the cantera, and the wonderful lighting they set up at night highlighting it all perfectly, you won’t believe your eyes. I’m telling you, I’ve been to many places in Europe in the past: Italy, France, Spain, England, and you could put San Miguel’s beauty to par with any of those places any day.
On top of that, when I was there, I got to witness some of the annual celebrations for the town’s religious patron, San Miguel (Saint Michael). The celebrations last 9 days, and I was there only for a weekend, but there’s always something going on at the main plaza during all of the 9 days, whether it’s music, dancing, fireworks, special presentations, food, and usually a combination of all of the above. The whole thing just added to the feeling of magic in the air.
Anyway, I don’t know why I bother trying to describe the indescribable, the bottom line is you just have to go and experience it for yourself, you just have to! And until then, here are my photos, enjoy!