Food is a big part of any culture. Food is also fuel, a necessity when one spends a couple of hours hiking the sometimes hilly cobblestone streets of an historic Mexican city situated at an altitude of 6,000-plus feet.
That makes a food tour led by a knowledgeable local an ideal way to get a handle on San Miguel de Allende, the north-central Mexican city known for its sunny, temperate climate, artsy vibe and gorgeous streetscapes.
San Miguel is a city made for walking, as long as one steps carefully. Sidewalks are narrow and sometimes uneven. Streets are narrow as well, and paved with irregular rounded stones that make every taxi ride akin to a spin on one of those coin-operated massage beds featured in cheap motels of yesteryear.
But just pause in your stroll, look up and … oh my! Those narrow streets are lined by solid walls of 19th century stucco housefronts, some lovingly restored and a few still waiting for love, some with the greenery of rooftop terraces peeking out, almost all painted in an earth-tone rainbow of ochre and magenta and sunflower yellow, all set against what is usually (in winter) a clear brilliant blue sky, with the domes and spires of the city’s main churches reaching heavenward in the distance.