If you want to get ahead, get a hat; plenty here to choose from!

TheEye had visited San Miguel on her first trip to Mexico – aeons ago – and remembered it as an attractive, sleepy, very hilly colonial town with cobbled street and an attractive ‘heart’ – a square with shops and cafes and male locals wearing Sombreros, smoking, drinking either coffee or mescal or both, passing the day in a leisurely fashion, whilst their woman cleaned, cooked, looked after the children and probably had a job or two on the side. I am not sure this  has changed, but San Miguel is now a busy, thriving place, much loved by tourists both Mexican and from overseas.

Our main purpose for returning to San Miguel was to visit friends who live there for several months a year preferring the light and warmth and vibrance of Mexico in the winter to the grey and cold of the U.K. People are strange!

Photo courtesy Tom Lighton

It was one of the most pleasurable highlights of our visit. Their house is glorious, very contemporary and also comfortable and inviting. It’s also memorable because we enjoyed a lively and interesting dinner party which is probably the last we will be attending for a very long time. Lots of animated conversation, good food and excellent wine. Oh, happy days!


Photo courtesy of Tom Lighton

Photo courtesy of Tom Lighton

Halfway through dinner, there was the most spectacular thunder and lightning storm with lightening none of us had ever witnessed before. The dining room was flooded with light as if giant light bulbs had exploded.  Literally a ‘lighthouse’. Was it an omen in the Biblical sense – a prediction of what was to come? Was anger being vented from on high – a storm to hit us before we fully understood the enormity of what was about to follow that would change our lives forever?

Photo courtesy of Tom Lighton

Photo courtesy of Tom Lighton

Our friends commissioned the distinguished Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta, who died about four years ago and, a close friend of Luis Barragan to design the house. Legorreta was a prolific designer of private homes, public buildings and hotels including the Camino Real Hotel, which remains one of the most iconic buildings in Mexico City.

The house is meticulous in every detail. Blink and you might miss an artwork nestling in a corner or the variety of gorgeous materials – every bathroom sink, floors, stairs.      Many locally sourced.

Our friends, renowned for their generous hospitality, added a special personal element to our time in San Miguel. Thank you!

The happy groom being held high

But there were one or two other surprises, like a traditional Indian wedding – who would have expected that?

Traditional musicians from…err…Mexico City?

Love their saris

Mexican donkey wondering what all the fuss is about!

After three relaxing days (sitting by a glorious pool) it was time to move on and an eight-and-a-half-hour car journey to one of TheEye‘s favourite Mexican cities – OAXACA


TheEye thought long and hard before posting this series of blogs of her happy, action-packed recent holiday in Mexico in the midst of all the misery everyone is now experiencing. She wondered if maybe it would be considered ‘insensitive’ to be sharing happy times with pictures full of colour and life.

However, the response has been so encouraging and positive with a unanimous ‘Carry on posting’.

That is what I intend on doing. There are two more ‘days’  left in Mexico before we had to beat a hasty exit or risk being stranded under a cactus tree drinking the dregs of a bottle of mescal for many months.

After Mexico TheEye will be going back over the past five years of blogging and re-visiting some of the trips that have been the most fun and interesting – India, China, Vietnam, Israel, Japan, giving the highlights and (of course being who she is!!) her OPINIONS.    No, you can’t escape those so easily. You might prefer sitting under the cactus tree?

It seems most probable that TheEye will not be returning to those countries ever again, which is sad, but the memories will be forever imprinted in her mind. Sharing these memorable experiences will, I hope, give all of you pleasure too, and if any of you are fortunate to travel to them, one day ( it seems like ‘over the rainbow’ and let’s hope there is a rainbow), there will be tips still possible to follow.

My other memories are the things I bought along the way – the cheap cotton saris from India I bought in the market and had the market tailor cut up and make into napkins which I and friends still use. The spices I bought in Israel, the wonderful photograph I bought in Beijing and oh, all those bangles and ribbons, the hand made paper in Japan that cost an arm and a leg. Yes, I was considered crazy. ‘Why are you buying all that STUFF’ was the exasperated question, which of course, I ignored. Well, I knew then and I certainly know now…looking at all the ‘stuff’ is bringing back such vivid memories, where I bought it and how I haggled, many of those I will be sharing with all of you, and I hope it will make you smile as much as I am just writing those words.

Thank you for your lovely emails, but please put your comments in the comment box below.

A little serenade to thank you for following TheEye x

I hope you will continue to read TheEye and do share your comments in the comments box rather than in an email.

Have a happy Easter Sunday x


  1. Gosh yes – please keep posting… we must assume that this won’t last forever and that we will be fortunate enough to travel, I am now dreaming of a trip to Mexico totally inspired by your colourful and creative blog! thank you xx

  2. Clare M Ferguson April 18, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Well another world certainly Jan. And what glorious memories even if you never return. We now all realise how precarious life is. I so enjoyed the posts- to remind us of what lives – and luck we had before Covid – and may again. Let us hope that colour and joy will return. Thank you

    • Janice Blackburn April 19, 2020 at 6:37 am

      How are you feeling Clare? Are you still totally locked in or can you go for a walk now? Yes, all this makes us realize how fortunate we were, and still are compared to most. I hope you will enjoy the posts which I am starting next week to re-do of our travels from 2014 – India, China, Israel and so on. Precious memories of happy, interesting trips. Will send you an email replying to your request. Keep well.

  3. Greetings from Cape Cod! I loved all the photos from your fab Mexican trip but particularly the one of the Mexican donkey juxtaposed with the Indian festivities. Two technicolor cultures. I envy your trips to Pueblo and Oaxaca. I first visited Mexico in the mid-60’s and remember being floored by the Museo National de Antrolopogia.
    Your photos are such a reminder of the vividness of the culture. I have also felt such courtesy every time I have visited.
    Stay safe and well in London.

    • Janice Blackburn April 16, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      How absolutely great to hear from you. I have been thinking of you and was intending to write (Good intentions??). Pleased to hear you and Joe are safe and happy in the Cape. Must be a heavenly place to self isolate and I am sure Joe is writing hard.
      we nearly got stuck in Mexico City and really did have to beat a hasty exit.
      will you be staying in the Cape…until…who knows when…until might be?
      I will definitely write properly but wanted to acknowledge your comment. Love to Joe and I just hope we see each other soon in the new world. As for your President…no words are bad enough. xx From us both.

  4. Thank you for such an exciting blog, and great pictures. I hope one day to go, lets just hope.

    Your blogs are such fun and very inspiring , just what we all need – thank you.

    • Janice Blackburn April 14, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you Suzie. I can’t wait to go back – but who knows? Just so happy it was our last trip….before… the colours will fill me with joy for a long time and also the delicious freshly made tostados for breakfast. I’m dreaming. Speak soon and I will pass your comments to Tricia which are all true.

  5. Victoria Blackburn April 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Have so loved reading all 3 Mexico blogs – where is Frieda now – we need her!!!!!
    So looking forward to reading all the oldies – can’t wait!
    Victoria xx

    • Janice Blackburn April 13, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      Have you seen my Passover plate? It’s missing. I should have bought a back up at the ceramic gallery in Pueblo.

  6. Thank you so much for bringing us a little joy and spectacle! take care x

  7. It’s official. I want your life. Love K

  8. Claire Katzenellenbogen April 13, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Absolutely loving being transported by your vivid writing and colourful photographs to lands even further away than ever (can’t remember last seeing an airplane overhead!). Thank you for the treat. Cxx

    • Amazing to be transported back to San Miguel de Allende, a place we’ve come to know and love over 20 years and 7 stays there. We have so many incredible memories of weddings celebrations with their huge papeer mache puppets in parque Juarez, vibrant festivities in the town centre, inspirational art classes, the fabulous colours , light, bustling organic market ! Thank you for the reminder From what feels like very far away in self isolation in London !!

  9. Seems a long time ago and in a parallel world that we were sipping drinks at the top of the Rosewood with you both. Have loved reliving our holiday through your wonderful blogs – think it will be a long time before we will be allowed to have similar adventures again.
    hope you and David are well

    • Janice Blackburn April 13, 2020 at 8:12 am

      Lovely to hear from you Amanda —it seems a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? I have to pinch myself that we are now in this terrible situation. Do you remember our conversation about taking loo paper and Paracetamol back for your mother?
      Seems unreal. We loved OAXACA – Wednesday or Thursday’s post. Hope you and Paul are managing in this grim lockdown.x

    • Please keep posting! You are our virtual travel, design and art guide -so what we need at the moment. The perfect lockdown tonic.

  10. Felicity Osborne April 13, 2020 at 6:58 am

    I’m sure you’ll be out there again soon – you can’t keep a true traveller locked up forever. Thanks for latest pics – from the uber elegance of Legoretto to the festive donkey, so much life & gorgeous colour!

  11. What a treat jan during these grim days… all the color and joy and freedom! Please let us go OUTHERE again.. thanks for your exciting pictures ..and your adventurous spiritxxx

    • Janice Blackburn April 13, 2020 at 6:29 am

      Thank you Lucy. we miss you – Oaxca tomorrow and you would love it there – all the amazing crafts. Just up ‘your alley’.

  12. So so lovely! Jan you MUST keep traveling – at some time in the future. Love your humor! The last of the mescal under a cactus tree! I don’t think so! Thanks for writing this wonderful post!

    • Loving your beautiful, colourful and insightful posts from Mexico, which are providing the perfect escape right now. Looking forward to seeing more. In the coming days. M xx

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