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I can't resist showing you: yet another side of San Miguel

semi-overcast 23 °C

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This is the road up to the botanical garden - the El Charco del Ingenio jardin botánico. Our place is already a good hike up from the main square, but the city climbs up very precipitously after that - the streets get narrower and the road surface more challenging. A sharp turn and then another - the one-way signs ignored as vehicles jockeyed for space. Just when we thought we must be at the top, there would be yet another near-vertical climb. My heart was in my throat the whole time, but we made it up. I tried to forget that we would be taking the same road down.

El Charco is set on 220 acres of nature preserve that includes a spring-fed pool in a canyon, and an old reservoir with a dam from the 19th century. The botanical garden is spread out over the reserve, with a huge conservatory of Mexican plants, wetlands frequented by local and migratory birds, watermill ruins, and in 2004, was named a Peace Zone by the Dalai Lama. It has beautiful paths winding throughout the preserve, and has a large central ceremonial space called the Plaza of the Four Winds. Tonight at 7:00 pm, they held a celebration of the full moon. El Charco has a number of initiatives that include environmental education programs, and ongoing activities.

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We walked through this gate, and were simply gobsmacked by what we saw - everything just on the verge. We are about two weeks too soon to see the full effect of the flowering cacti and succulents.

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This photo will give you an idea - the flower stalk is probably 30 feet high, and will be a sight to behold in full flower.

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This one, on a slightly more modest scale, (possibly 20 feet high), resembles an asparagus spear.

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Yuccas, agaves - from adorable one-foot plants to these man-eaters.

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The preserve is an absolute joy to explore. We spent about three hours following the paths, which lead from the main gate, with many benches and shady spots along the way. The area around the reservoir was especially tranquil. We spotted a number of birds - don't ask - they were red birds, birds with black heads and toffee-coloured bellies, hummingbirds. Lots of ducks. Next time, we'll come early in the morning, with binoculars and a guide.

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The conservatory holds an exceptional display of cacti, succulents, water plants and native fish. The landscaping around the conservatory was just as exceptional.

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The old dam of the 19th century reservoir was very interesting to us, as it was tied to the Fabrica la Aurora, the old textile mill. This is where they generated electricity by passing the water through an old iron pipe. (That's me on the dam)

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Further down from the dam, we ran into this sign and the ruins from the water mill.

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Continuing on the path, we headed for the viewpoint of San Miguel...

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...and looked out over the city. If you look to the right of the reservoir, you will see an old grey building that is an unfinished hotel. Our street is just down from that.

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An image of Mexico we really like (that has nothing to do with the botanical garden). Stephen snapped this today on our street as we were heading out for breakfast.

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We walked around the jardin tonight after dinner for one last glimpse of Mexico. The mariachi bands were out in full force, and we think we witnessed a marriage proposal. Man and woman in full embrace, surrounded by mariachi band, and a number of nervous looking friends, two of whom were taking videos. Every so often the woman would lift her head from her (fiancé's?) shoulder, then dissolve in fresh tears and fold back into his shoulders. At each sighting, the friends would clap encouragingly, and the band would play a little more enthusiastically. We're hoping she said yes.

As for noise, we spoke too soon. We had been commenting on how there were few fireworks, and with the exception of a few dogs, almost no noise. Well - we are being sent out in style. A party is raging on the next terrace, music cranked, and by golly, the fireworks have started!

Posted by millerburr 21:12 Archived in Mexico

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Comments

I think one of my fav posts. Your pictures are spectacular and I felt your car climbing up the narrow road way. What are the purpe blooms dotting the overview pic? Your final shot of Mexican and Donkey is a keeper.

by nanc

Agree with Nanc. You are getting better all the
time Gin!!
by K & K

by Kay & Keith Miller

Thank you so much for sharing your Mexican adventure.

by Ron Davis

I think maybe Jacaranda? I was blown away by that picture and the purple as well and that is the tree that came to mind.

by Jean

They are jacaranda trees - they're unbelievable, so fragrant and rich in colour - I wish we had them back home. I asked our waiter last night how long they stay in bloom, and he just shrugged. Googled them and I'm still no further ahead - they are spring flowers, so I'm guessing they last a few weeks.

Jean, you and Nanc are both such photographers - I can't imagine the photos either of you would take.

by millerburr

I agree with Nanc that the jacaranda trees are stunning. So pleased that you were there at the right time of the year to appreciate them. Also loved Stephen's photo of the donkeys ... reminds me of a different time and place.

by Heather

Our photos are a mix of both Stephen's and mine. I snap away constantly - he is more judicious, so we end up using fewer of his. Steve also took the shot of the city above the reservoir, and the one of the flowering cactus, as well as a couple of others. (His are usually clearer and have better focus).

by millerburr

Mexico is beautiful- you are capturing the wonderful "off the beaten path" charm- thanks for sharing and Carry On! Nattalle

by nattalle tessier

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