In the Garden
A short drive out of San Miguel took us to La Gruta Mineral Hot Springs. Three large pools, with additional smaller ones for children, are filled with natural hot springs water for a muscle relaxing, therapeutic soak under trees in the lush gardens of San Miguel. You can lounge by the pools, or for those more adventurous, swim through the tunnel into the circular cave to the warmest water in the complex. It was a great way to start the morning and ease the muscles after a couple of days of teetering on these heavily cobblestones streets.
It was a short drive to The Sanctuary of Jesus of Nazareth of Atotonilco, a Unesco World Heritage site church complex. It is known as the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico” because of its beautifully painted murals on the ceilings, main altar, and chapels. We were lucky to arrive at the church just in time to witness a wedding! The groom and his mother arrived first in a flower adorned, black carriage, pulled by black stallions, harnessed in festive silver. Next, the bride arrived under a lace parasol held by her father, in a white carriage pulled by two white horses. The sound of the church bells filled the air as they exited their carriages, bridesmaids fluffed the bridal gown, and all vanished into the historical church atop rose petals…such a romantic and beautiful site.
In the evenings, especially on the weekends, half the town seems to end up at Le Jardin (the garden), a square block plaza in the historic center of town, right beneath the shadows of the Parroquía San Miguel Arcángel church. Six different mariachi bands, completely decked out in their charro outfits, embellished with silver and metallic embroidery, we’re playing in their corners of the park, all playing different songs. Vendors were out in full force selling Mexican trinkets and flower halos, food vendors were hawking chili spiced roasted corn on the cob, donkey carts pulled ice cream carts. Tarot readers told your fortune. Wedding parties were celebrating beneath the church with more horse-drawn carriages and stretch limosines. Restaurants bordered the park on all sides, spilling tipsy tourists onto the scene. To say it was crazy and chaotic would definitely be an understatement! Now that’s how you spend a great evening in El Jardin.