Pueblos Mágicos have been mentioned in quite a few posts. It seems that I overlooked explaining what that really means. There are 111 current pueblos (villages or towns) that have been deemed worthy of recognition and the title by the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico, in conjunction with various government agencies. These places have cultural, historical or natural treasures that are very special, and Ky & I have made it a point to try to go to as many of them as we can.
Today we drove to the lovely Pueblo Magico of Dolores Hidalgo, called the Cradle of the Revolution. It was where Father Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo uttered his famous cry for Independence from Spain in 1810. It is also the site of another beautiful cathedral.
Just a short distance from there, we went to another small town, Atotonilco, which has been given the honor of being named a Unesco World Heritage site as has San Miguel de Allende (SMA).
To be included on the World Heritage list, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one of ten criteria. According to the Unesco website “The Sanctuary of Atotonilco is an outstanding example of a specific religious settlement, containing exceptional decoration that makes it a masterpiece of Mexican Baroque.”
The mural work has led the complex to be dubbed the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico.”
We’ve been fortunate to see so many of the beautiful colonial churches, surrealist gardens, amazing beaches and mountaintop shrines at Pueblo Magicos. They offer a very different experience from the mainstream popular tourist destinations. We have fallen more in love with Mexico and the culture of the country through visiting these places.
Like any country that is not your own, there are differences which are difficult to understand simply due to lack of knowledge. We just don’t know what we don’t know. Ky and I have a long way to go before being fluent in Spanish, so certainly there is going to be more that we don’t understand than if we could easily ask all the questions we are eager to have answered. The rough Spanish that we do have though, has been patiently endured and greeted with enthusiasm and compliments. It gives us a desire to do better, to learn more, to understand more.
If you’ve ever desired to learn another language and just thought there was one reason or another not to, I would love to encourage you to go for it! Our neighbors to the South of the U.S. are definitely worth getting to know. It’s easy to start with something like the Duolingo.com or the app duolingo. There is an abundance of resourses these days including apps such as Tandem which allows you to find someone to speak with in your desired language and they get to practice English with you.
These days because so many people in the world want to learn English, it might seem unnecesary to learn a foreign language for traveling. While it may not be completely necessary, it certainly makes people in other countries happier to work with you or just to chat with you. I love it when people here want to practice their English with me. It’s an exchange that leaves both sides smiling. And to top it all off, learning a new language is supposed to be one of the best ways to keep the brain supple and working well – that’s a benefit that everyone can use!
To top off an already great day, we had the good fortune tonight to visit with wonderful friends who happened to be visiting SMA with a group of their friends. Such an awesome coincidence. The more the merrier – come on down and practice your Spanish with us!
Trish, Ky, Steve, Bonnie