One of the problems with travel blogs and articles is that they only focus on the best aspects of travel - carefully composing photos to crop out the ugly bits, and never mentioning the traffic or the pollution. We’re guilty of this too!
We were excited to see Guanajuato after seeing so many great photos of the colourful houses on the hillside, especially after we learnt that it was the inspiration for the land of the dead in Coco.
The reality was slightly different. While the town looked lovely from afar, it was a little gritty and grimy up close, with lots of traffic choking the narrow streets. Our apartment had a killer view of the town - but the only place you could appreciate it was while standing at the window of the bedroom. The rest of the apartment was pretty dingy and tired - but one of the benefits of travelling with kids is that they couldn't care less about any of that, and they were perfectly happy playing cushion-houses in the gloomy living-room.
We had a good time overall - but it was a timely reminder of the subtle lie that travel articles and blogs contain. Bearing that in mind, here are some photos showing the best aspects of Guanajuato!
San Miguel hosts a hugely fun annual parade called Desfile de los Locos, where everyone dresses up as a crazy person (usually in a hand-made costume and often featuring a papier-maché head) and parades down the street hurling candies at the audience.
The air is full of children screaming ¡DULCES! and up-turned umbrellas positioned to catch the sweets, then there's a mad scramble to pick them up before everyone else.
Glo made us all up as skeletons from Coco, with Clementine as Dante the dog.
In the local Mexican schools, the tradition is for the birthday kid to take a cake and piñata to school, and everyone gathers to sing Cumpleaños Feliz.
Then the birthday girl has to take a big bite of the cake (hands-free) before smashing the piñata and dispersing the dulces to everyone.
We also had a small gathering back at our place with our new Mexican friends, with more cake and piñata.
After the hustle and bustle of Mexico City, we headed a few hours away to San Miguel de Allende, which is a 500-year-old town filled with cobbled streets, 2-storey houses and beautiful churches.
We enrolled the girls into another school, and Nelly even got her first school uniform! Life has settled into a simple routine now with school in the mornings, siestas in the afternoons and visits to the town square most evenings (along with the rest of the town) once the heat dies down.
The only annoyance is the Mexicans' love of fiestas and fireworks - the novelty definitely wears off at 6am on a Sunday!