Post from Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. 2/3/2120
“Hope, friendship, freedom and perseverance…” Kshitij Rawat. (referring to Shawshank Redemption)
After a year of limited travel because. like almost everyone, we have beenmostly isolated and quarantined. So, we planned an escape. Promising to remain masked and distanced we were ready. We locked the door behind us, boarded the dog and headed south, 432 miles to Alamos, Sonora, MX. The gates at the border opened at 8 AM and we drove through, stopping at the Banjercito at 21km to pick up our visas and car permit. We have been to Mexico many times in the past, love the culture, the values and the people, and we’re still trying to learn Spanish. A tutor is on the horizon!
The main highways are much-improved, with toll roads bypassing many cities, towns and villages, making car travel uncomplicated. We have stories from the past about taking a wrong turn, getting lost and needing help to get back on the route. This time, from Point A to B, required only two stops, one for immigration and one for gas. We made it in 8 hours including the two stops. The toll collectors appeared to be on some kind of strike so with the exception of two tolls, the rest were gratis.
Some years ago, ten or more, we visited Alamos for a day because we heard that it is one of the colonial towns with a lot of preserved and restored architecture. One of our other favorite places we have visited numerous times is San Miguel Allende. In 2005, Alamos was given the title of “Pueblo Magico” as a recognition of its history and preservation. While tourism has been encouraged and is an important source of income, Alamos did not develop into a large-scale tourist center like many other places. The population is around 27,000. San Miguel Allende is over 100,000. http://visitsonora.mx/en/destinations/magical-towns/alamos/
Alamos was founded in 1685 and the discovery of silver brought great wealth to many people. That wealth, besides building many great houses, also financed Juan de Batista Anza’s expedition that started in Alamos and passed within a quarter mile of our house in AZ. That 300 day trek ended with the establishment of the Presidio San Francisco and Monterey.
When the silver mines closed in the early 1900’s, a serious economic decline followed. It wasn’t until 1946 that people saw the potential and began preserving and restoring many of the homes and buildings that are now prevalent around town. There appears to be a great economic divide between different groups of people, especially natives and ex-pats. The cost of living for ex-pats from the US and Canada is much less here than north of the border.
We booked our stay at Hacienda de los Santos, a well-regarded hotel with extensive grounds, beautiful gardens, two restaurants, three cats and a spa. There are five separate areas with pools and fountains and a total of 34 rooms, each with an adjoining portal and wonderful views. A chapel was completed this past October as the owners, Jim and Nancy Swickard, and their daughter, Jamie, the General Manager, have improved the properties and maintained them to high standards over the past 24 years.
We have not ventured out much, content to relax in a different environment, read, write, answer a few emails and have conversations about what next. We are the adventurous kind, relishing new and different places, revisiting some favorite ones, and would like to look forward to more travel in the near future. Given the continuing Covid crisis, the “near future” doesn’t seem to hold a lot of hope. We are glad and grateful to be here for now and will make more plans soon. We hope you are making plans too in the spirit of “Hope, friendship, freedom and perseverance…”