One of the tourist books I had on Mexico commented that while the selection of pottery in San Miguel would be great, the prices and selection would be even better in Dolores Hidalgo (where there are quite a few pottery makers). Since it was less than an hour’s drive, it sounded like a great little day trip, and it was!
While Guanajuato and San Miguel were both significant in Mexican Independence movement, the smaller town of Dolores halfway between them was where it all started. On September 15, 1810, the three leaders of the Independence (Hidalgo, Allende, and Aldamo) learned that Spanish authorities had discovered their plot to launch a revolt later that month. Father Miguel Hidalgo as the local parish priest, convinced his compatriots that the time to start the revolution was now. Early on the morning of September 16th, Hidalgo rang the church bell to gather his congregation and provoked them to join the revolt with his impassioned “Grito de Dolores” (Cry of Dolores). Today, it is customary for Mexico’s President to begin the Independence Day celebration the evening before by reciting that same Grito.
As San Miguel had done for its most famous citizen, Allende, the town of Dolores renamed itself Dolores Hidalgo to honor its famous priest. A large bronze statue of Father Hidalgo is now the centerpiece of the town’s square and provides a perfect focal point for the parish church behind it.
A number of arched walkways grace the buildings surrounding the square. I just love to photograph arches!
Unfortunately, the rest of the town is not nearly as photogenic as Guanajuato or San Miguel. Dolores Hidalgo is a working town, and pottery/ceramics are their main trade—dozens of shops line the streets selling all kinds of Talavera pottery.
I happened to mention my planned trip to Barbara from BabsBlog (who has lived in San Miguel a number of years and is quite familiar with the area) and she highly suggested I drive a bit further to the little town of Santa Rosa if I wanted some even better stuff, so I took her advice and programmed the GPS to take me over the very curvy mountain road to get there!
No photography is allowed inside Mayólica Santa Rosa but their website link (and this quicky photo below) give a good idea of what you can find there. Absolutely fabulous stuff that is all hand-crafted right there in the small town. Thanks again, Barbara, for recommending a stop here!
With the Tracker now loaded up with ceramic souvenirs for the family, I made my way back to Hotel San Ramon to begin getting my rig cleaned and packed for the long journey back to the U.S.
One of the park “regulars” made a trip into town one day to pick up his friend, Jaime, who specializes in Auto and RV washing. Jaime did a fantastic job shining up the Winnie and only wanted to charge me 250 pesos (US$ 19). So I gave him a substantial tip to let my conscious rest a little easier. Sure wish RV washes in the US were this good!
I ended up extending my stay a few more days at Hotel San Ramon to soak up a few more pleasant 80-degree sunny days and enjoy more happy hours with the neighbors. While the terrace sites were very close together, the neighbors were friendly and the grounds were peaceful to walk around.
Millie enjoyed walking the long cobblestone driveway and stairs up to the grassy terrace, but she was sad to see the pool drained of water! It turns out that the pool is filled with water from a natural hot spring every weekend. We will need to plan our visit better next time!
One evening, some of the RVers invited their friends in town who run a cheese shop to come bring us a sampling of their products with some wine. I skipped the cheese, but enjoyed the wine with my festive new friends!
My next door neighbor from Maine, Ruth, decided one day that the shady grass in front of our rigs would make a perfect spot for happy hour, so she gathered some tables and chairs, put up a sign, and indeed, at 5:00pm all the other RVers came out to socialize!
Ruth’s dog, Shorty, is a rescue mutt from San Miguel, and liked to serve as our happy hour mascot and guard dog. What a cutie!
On my last evening in San Miguel, Millie and I drove back up to the overlook for a final shot of the city at dusk. What a relaxing and enjoyable first visit this had been…San Miguel -- I’ll be back!