Our Jubilant Return to San Miguel de Allende

After four years living on the road without a home base we have learned when to push ourselves, when to pull back, and how to recover from the vagaries and pressures of travel.   But sometimes other forces and circumstances take over and even experienced vagabonds like the Martins get caught up in schedules that are too tight.  Plane schedules (especially if you want to take advantage of mileage), vacation rental availabilities, family events and publishing schedules can smash into each other until even Tim, my planning genius, is forced to create an itinerary that would daunt people thirty years younger than we are. Then, of course, thanks to Murphy’s Law, other events can pile on and then the plans that were overly ambitious in the first place  become even more rigorous.

Boy, did we have a great time at the NYTimes Travel Show!
Boy, did we have a great time at the NYTimes Travel Show!

That just about describes our  experience in late January.  We went to New York City in late January to appear with Tom Hale, vice president at HomeAway.com, speaking about the joys of vacation rentals, how to chuck the hotel and really enjoy yourself.  It went very well and we had a chance to see local pals and have a few excellent meals, which is always one of our top priorities.  Then the blizzard chatter started and our plans changed abruptly.  Thanks to Tim’s quick work we were on the last plane out of JFK before the blizzard alert shut the airport on January 27. Sitting on the tarmac while they de-iced the plane,  knowing that if we didn’t get to California on time we’d miss our flight to Mexico made us pretty cranky.  Believe me, there was a collective sigh from the passengers and crew when that baby left the ground!

Boarding  the last plane out of JFK before the blizzard.  This kind of drama we can do without!
This was NOT such a good time!

Our quick turnaround in California allowed us just one day to switch wardrobes, kiss everyone goodbye for the second time in a week, and head for San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  We were exhausted, frazzled, rattled and I was certainly cross by the time we touched down at Leon airport. But the minute I stepped off the rickety portable stairway and inhaled the distinct fragrance, Mexican high desert air mixed with just a hint of jet fuel and a dash of Mexican cooking, I didn’t care how tough the week had been.  We were HOME!

On the last flight out before the blizzard.  Check out the gorgeous new TravelSmith luggage.  Great stuff!
This woman is on her way to Mexico with her gorgeous new luggage from TravelSmith. How dare she be grumpy.

Tim and I had worried about whether San Miguel  changed too much in our absence, if the people had become less genteel, if the town itself had deteriorated because of the vagaries of governments, economy and criminal influences.  We wondered if we’d still feel safe, relaxed and happy there.  Every fear dissipated in the first hours of our arrival.  San Miguel is still one of the most pleasurable spots on earth to us. The fresh mountain air, the warmth of its people, the luscious Mexican palette – terra cotta, ochre, brilliant blue, vibrant yellows all punctuated with bougainvillea and geraniums, lime and banana leaf trees, with the ripple of a thousand fountains that calm and refresh, had not changed at all.`

The gorgeous city with La Parroquia, a gothic-style church right in the middle next to the jardin, had changed very little, at least on the surface.

We were floored when we reached our house.  We knew from the HomeAway.com listing that the house would be lovely and the neighborhood quiet, but we really weren’t prepared for the lovely garden and the two convenient work spaces.  Tim and I each have a place to write without chatting (yes, after all this time we still have a lot to say!) and interrupting each other.  The furnishings are wonderfully comfortable and attractive, and best of all, Judith Sosa works for the owner and comes almost every day. She is a sunny person who is a pleasure to know and she is a heavenly cook.  I told her the other day that I didn’t care whether or not the house was clean as long as she made some more soups and chillies nogada for us.  We gratefully consume her enchiladas, chillies rellenos, salsa, and guacamole and I promise to share recipes I pry out of her.

Here is a video of part of our house which I hope you’ll enjoy.  We’ll show you the garden another time.  If you’re not too bored by the time you finish that you may like to see the photos that follow.

  • Our house was even more wonderful than we had hoped!
  • Our wonderful kitchen!
  • My favorite spot. Curling up in this chair is like heaven.
  • The pool is too coo to dip into, but it looks wonderful and has a waterfall at the end!
  • The blue structure is the pool house, where I love to work. It's warm there, too.
  • Tim and Judith Sosa, our terrific housekeeper taste her fish and veggies wrapped in banana leaves. Divine!
  • Here is the sitting room attached to the bedroom. It's full of light in the morning. So cheerful!

After just a few days we managed to see several dear friends, consume an enormous amount of excellent food, and find our way back to favorite spots around town. We  also fell into the Mexican rhythm we love so well.  Our sense of urgency is at a low, low level, and our sense of fun is ratcheted to high.  This is just as it should be when you say “yes” to everything and practice the “postpone nothing” philosophy.

Here are a few photos of our wanderings around this lovely place.  We hope you’ll come visit it soon.

  • The jardin, the heart of San Miguel. If you're lonely you can walk down to the garden and in five minutes you'll be chatting away with someone.
  • The gorgeous city with La Parroquia, a gothic-style church right in the middle next to the jardin.
  • Hair color happens everywhere. I got very lucky and a friend found Miriam for me. She did a great job!
  • Tim waiting for his lunch at Hank's, a New Orleans themed bar and restaurant.
  • Yummy fish tacos at Cafe Lavanda.
  • More of Hank's. This is the scene of many a happy afternoon and evening!
  • Luscious Vietnamese vegetable rolls at Chamonix.
  • Our darling friend Bian Care. We have an adventure planned for next week with him that you will LOVE! It involves fish and feet. Stay tuned.
  • Look at all these colorful things we want to take home, but can't!

I apologize for such a lengthy absence from this site and promise to send you many more stories and photos from this magical place!  Hasta pronto!

 

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  1. Lynne

    Hi Diane,

    Thanks so much for your comment. We treasure hearing from people who enjoy our story!

    Postpone nothing!

  2. Lynne

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks so much for your kind response. We loved it there but had to leave very early because of a health issue. All is well now and we will be returning as soon as we can. Keep on traveling!

  3. Lynne

    I adore you, Brian Care! You are the very, very best friend ever! Missing you always.

  4. Lynne

    Hi Jude,

    Please forgive me for not answering sooner. Life got in the way for a few weeks.
    I love your story and am so happy that you are having such a wonderful time.
    Keep in touch!

  5. Lynne

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. Yes, I think Gangs of San Miguel is hilarious, although some of the locals are NOT amused. I’ll have a look at hour friend’s book.

    Thanks so much for writing!

  6. Lynne

    Hi Kalu,

    Sorry it’s taken so long for me to respond. I’m so grateful to know that you enjoy the things I write. That’s what keeps writers writing! Guanajuato is outstanding, too. It reminds us of Europe – a very sur-prising and lovely town. Hope you get to go.

  7. Lynne

    Hi Ilene,

    Thanks so much for writing. I’m sorry I was so tardy in responding. All is well now and I’ll be posting a new blog i the next few days. Let’s do try to catch one another sometime!

  8. Lynne

    HI Dagmar,

    Sorry it took me so long to respond, but we had to leave SMA quickly due to a health problem. All is well now and we’re very grateful. We ADORED Berlin, and in fact, my book will soon be published in Germany by Soristo, a new publisher in that country. I’m thrilled. Do try to visit San Miguel one day!

  9. Lynne

    Hi,

    So sorry it took me so long to respond. I know you will have a glorious time in our precious SMA!

    Ole!

  10. Lynne

    Hi,
    I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. We had to leave SMA because of a health issue, which is now resolved. Hope you are having a wonderful time. Thank you for being in touch!!

  11. Steve Berg

    I am writing this sitting in the same house you lived in when you were last in San Miguel. What connects us is I tore my Achilles in December and we had rented this house for January and February but cancelled and rebooked for April and May.

    Love the house, location and since we drove from NC with our dogs love the close proximity to the Campo near by.

    We follow your adventures and live some of our dreams through your travels.

    Happy Trails to you

  12. MerCyn

    San Miguel sounds like such a wonderful place. Hub and I will be visiting for 3 weeks this spring, renting a place. Our first time. Our Spanish, however, is VERY rusty!

  13. Dagmar Hoettges

    Great to hear from you again, Lynne. Thank you for the video and pictures, what a beautiful house you have! I hope we can be on this trip sometime and see beautiful San Miguel de Allende. Enjoy and keep us all posted. Can’t wait for you next post.
    PS: We are from Germany, live in Atlanta, Ga., how did you like Berlin?

  14. Ilene Modica

    Lynne & Tim,
    Love reading your posts. Hope Gary & I catch up with you both one day. Would be a blast!

  15. Kalu

    Lynne, it’s great you’re blogging again. I’ve been following you guys since the WJ article and always enjoy your posts as well as your book which I re-read from time to time. Enjoy the beautiful house and stay in SMA. I’m considering Guanajuato City for a couple of months beginning in December. I hear it’s also lovely.

  16. Mike

    In case anyone has interest, John Scherber, an expat who lives in SMA, published this book about 6 months ago. It’s an easy read and covers the good, bad and ugly about SMA. He addresses just about every topic for those interested in moving there.

    http://www.amazon.com/Living-San-Miguel-Heart-Matter-ebook/dp/B00ML5PVHE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424030250&sr=8-1&keywords=john+scherber+living+in+san+miguel

    Here’s a funny blog about expats living in SMA…Gangs of San Miguel…it’s about expats and rugs, not drugs. Enjoy!

    https://richland.wordpress.com

  17. Jude Lane Sanchez

    Hola Lynn & Tim,

    I love your travel diaries and tips. I met my Mexican husband in Cancun Christmas ’03. He is MUCH younger than I (I only admit to 40+pesos). He is 36 now (baby by my standards). My friends in VA thought I had “lost it completely” when we got serious. I have met my young Prince Charming in several cities in Mexico that I would never have ventured into without him. We bought a beachfront studio condo in Cancun in ’04, we lived there (we need SO LITTLE really) until he arrived in the US in May ’06. This year we will celebrate 10 years of being “drunk in love” (much like you guys) and married. He is the best person I have ever known. We are selling our condo next week (after 10 yrs.) when we go down. We are going to spend that money traveling before something dire happens to me (at my “mature” age) & I won’t be able to go. Your slogan “never postpone anything” resonated with me so much I had to tell you, old or young , new adventures and dreams are what life is made of. I so enjoy your news. We will eventually make it to San Miguel. If you have the opportunity go to Merida, “The White City”. It is so clean and beautiful. Lot’s of expats there as well. Happy Trails from our little “casita by the Caribe” to you guys not far away!!

  18. Brian Care

    As much as you are glad to be here, we are glad to have you here. I am honored to be one of your San Miguel friends you are finding time to squeeze into your busy writing days and when you come down from your tranquil aerie in Atascadero to the bustle of El Centro. It is great to see that you are both just the same in spite of all the craziness that has happened to you since you became celebrities. Time passes never so quickly as it does when spending it with you. I look forward to more of those times before you flock off to your next destination. Are you important and busy enough now to require a personal assistant? If so, consider this an application.

  19. Nancy

    Tim & Lynn,

    Congrats to your return. Enjoyed the video of the magnificent home. I have followed you guys since your travel beginning and have experimented with travel in the US. look forward to expanding outside. Thank you and have fun.

  20. Diane C.

    I don’t need to see anymore… I want to go there right now!! That house is so lovely, really enjoy your posts Lynn!

  21. karen cpario flynn

    Thank you so much for the great video!! I have been following you since the beginning when I first read an article about you in Bottom Line about 2 plus years ago!! I think we need to put this place San Miguel on our list to visit! Our daughter lives in Dublin and we are frequently travelling there and various places in Europe. But this intrigues me!! Thanks so much!!

  22. Jeannie Spinelli

    That house is beautiful!! I have been wanting to go there since I read about it in your book. Thanks for sharing…Enjoy!!

  23. Steve Vicencio

    Just wonderful! I could easily stay in this home. Keep us posted on where to go and what to do there.

  24. Eriberto Agosti

    You both are an inspiration for us!We are planning our first dream trip to San Miguel this year.Still researching .Found apt and flight but had a few quick questions?We follow your blogs and love tohear about your adventures.Cathy and Eriberto Agosti,Fort Lauderdale,Florida

  25. Annita

    Oh you lucky dogs! I’m so jealous! Will you ever leave? That places heaven! I saw a second bedroom for is, didn’t I? Enjoy and keep a record of this one- we may want to steal it from you!
    Xxoo

  26. David Lane

    Tell us more about renting a place like this. Is it for a week?, month? 3 months? Are all utilities covered in the rent? deposit? other fees. How do you get around? walk, taxi or do you have a vehicle at your disposal. What about healthcare if you should need it, medication refills and anything else you think might be helpful for people thinking of doing something similar in that area. Do you plan to spend all of your time there or will you travel and rent other places in Mexico?

  27. Michael and Virginia Z

    February 14, 2015

    Have a fun time in sunny and warm San Miguel de Allende
    especially celebrating Valentine’s Day.

    Are margaritas on the menu?

    Michael and Virginia Z
    Bangkok, Thailand

  28. Mary Lou Sartoris

    Lynne and Tim– We know you guys are happy to be in San Miguel de Allende…and what a beautiful house with great work spaces for each of you! You deserve the new luggage, the great rental space, the warm climate, and the peaceful setting! Hope you ‘re both being renewed for your next adventure. When do you return to CA? Hope to talk with you soon. Miss you both!! Much Love, N&ML

  29. Mike

    Peggy, good news is that the town is very easy to navigate without speaking Spanish. San Miguel is located in the State of Guanajuato, which is one of the wealthiest and most educated states in Mexico and is part of the macro-region called The Bajio. There are about 10,000 full-time expats living in San Miguel and most of the people in the service industry speak good English. Even if they don’t, it’s not a problem. The people of San Miguel are very friendly and are willing to help out foreigners. Just greet them with a smile, like anywhere else. Critics of San Miguel call it the Disneyland of Mexico for expats. I’ll admit that it does have an ‘unreal’ quality to it but in my opinion that’s a good thing. Having lived near the Mexican border for most of my life (border towns don’t represent the ‘real’ Mexico), the crime, drugs, etc. are really nonexistent in The Bajio. Think of a colonial town the same elevation as the Lake Tahoe Basin only much further south where every day is like spring. Not kidding. You will not be disappointed if you visit. Most flights have stopovers in either Dallas or Houston. Cheers!

  30. Peggy

    Do you speak Spanish? Would it be hard to navigate here without speaking Spanish? It looks like a very charming city, enjoy!

  31. Mike

    We head out to San Miguel next week. Indeed, it is a lovely place and one of two ‘happy spots’ for us in Mexico, the other being Todos Santos in Baja CA Sur.

  32. Dan O'Brien

    Dear Martin’s, you are an inspiration. Good luck with your books. Hope to catch up with you someday. Dan and Susan

  33. Terry Miller

    Hi Lynne – Glad to hear you’re back on the road. Kris and I have not visited Mexico – It sounds like we should add San Miguel de Allende to our list. I am now fully retired, and we are already planning our summer trip to Europe. We’re calling it our National Holiday vacation – leaving the US on Memorial Day, and returning July 4. At the risk of repeating what Kris may have already told you, we’re planning stops in London, Edinburgh, Paris, Normandy, Vienna, and Munich. We’re trying to book a week in each – with some exceptions. We would love to meet you and Tim for lunch in Paris again – or anywhere else. Please let us know if you will be in any of these places.
    All the best…..
    Terry Miller

  34. Ellen LaVaccare

    Love the video…what a beautiful space!

  35. Ellen LaVaccare

    Love the video! What a beautiful space.

  36. Ellen LaVaccare

    Love the video!! What a beautiful place!

  37. Babs

    When you have some free time, let’s get together. This week has been SO full with the Writers’ Conference and everything else.

    I was wondering, until I read this post, if the tight schedules ever get to you. GLAD to know you’re human, ha……