Need Clarity on Trip Decision to San Miguel

Mar 28th, 2005, 10:01 AM
  #1  
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Need Clarity on Trip Decision to San Miguel

I'm one of those types of travelers who randomly decides on a destination & then becomes absolutely obsessed with the topic...ordering every obscure book, checking every website, practically tackling people in a coffee shop if I happen to hear them mentioning the country....really to the point that I become confused as to why I originally even wanted to go there.

So I'm 10 days (and about $150) into my San Miguel de Allende obsession.

I have two children - 6 & 8 - who are taking spanish in school & seem to enjoy it. So I decided, hey, why not take them to this town San Miguel and enroll them into a spanish school for a week & then travel around (my poor husband is merely a pawn in all this...he knows enough to back off when I get into these travel moments).

Now I need clear minds to help me:

It's about a 3.5 plane trip from our place to Mexico City. Then we land there & it's another 3 hour bus trip to San Miguel. That's a long day for little kids...assuming that I probably won't just jump off the plane & walk onto the bus...we're sure to go through a couple of hours of confusion while getting our luggage, finding restrooms, finding the bus (trust me, I know my family). Other travelers with children: Does this feel doable? do you think we should stay overnight in mexico city first?

We'll probably rent a house for maybe $600 to $900 a week...but, boy, that's been confusing too...everytime I see a house we like, it's booked for that time period (late July) and I can't seem to figure out what part of town is best for us (we don't want a gated community, we don't want anything fancy, we don't mind an uphill walk - prefer it really - but we do want lots of natural light and ground floor house.

and then the Instituto Allende is proving to be a "who's on first" conversation....I write them and ask if there are any openings in late July and they write back and say, "yes, we teach children. go to our website." And then the website says, "email us about openings" and so forth....

anyway, I realize there aren't a lot of questions in this note...I guess I"m just asking you guys: Will my family like this trip?
Garvin222 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 10:08 AM
  #2  
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and I should note...I'm not saying that I"m going to leave the children in a language camp & then I'm going to travel around....I'm going to be in the camp with them & then we're all going to travel together.

by the way, where should we travel to?

Garvin222 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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We (3 adults) took 4 kids, 2 6 and 2 9 on a much harder first day - it was 20 hours from getting up to going to bed. They held out very well (although one of the 6 yos laid down in the immigration line and went to sleep). We just made sure we had lots of snacks and books for them.

My attitude is that once we're going, it's easier to keep going and that the effort of getting to a hotel, unpacking,packing again, and then having to face more travelling outweigh the shorter day.
Heather49 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Yes, I think you're right Heather. After all, they can sleep on the bus if they need to...and checking into a hotel might actually be harder.

(sounds like you've taken your children on some big trips!)
Garvin222 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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The travel: It would be a long day, but doable if you get an early start. As the previous poster said - lots of books and snacks. (And maybe a couple of those cool new PSP game things.) I also agree with not staying in Mexico City - it would just add two more cab rides in high stress traffic. Depending on where you are coming from and the fares involved, Continental also has non-stop flights from Houston to the Leon/Guanajuato airport which is closer to San Miguel.

Accomodations: Some of those hills are really steep -- I can walk up by myself, but not with a 6 year old on my back! But taxis are cheap, so you can always walk down and get a ride home. San Miguel is not that big a place, so I would not be so concerned about your location as long as you can walk at least one way to the main square in whatever time is acceptable to you - 10 minutes, 20 minutes? Don't overlook some of the inns and B&Bs that have suites with two bedrooms and a kitchen.

Will your family like it? That's hard to answer. My similar-aged nephews would have a wonderful time, but they would remember the dog they petted or the funny waiter or trying to speak Spanish to the cleaning lady -- the scenery and history would be pretty much lost on them. (If asked for their input they'll always pick somewhere with a pool or beach.) It all depends.
lovesprada is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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lovesprada, thanks for your insights. and good to hear about the taxis...I'm thinking the kids are going to like it...they're fairly adventerous (we did a great hiking trip through Quebec this past summer) and we're a low-tech family in that we don't have a TV (we're not amish or anything...it's a long story but we got rid of it intending to buy another (bigger) one but it's been 9 years so I'm guessing we're not going to be buying one) and don't need video games or whatever. They seem to like small moments like the ones you mentioned (talking to the housekeeper or petting a dog).

here's my main goal (and now I'm getting into the philosophical part of life) but I want my children to feel the thrill of adventure & feel comfortable with all cultures....but I'm not prepared (financially or time=wise) to try for a bigger Europe/asia trip...

thanks for the thoughts.
Garvin222 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 02:29 AM
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Continental flies directly to Queretaro (QRO), which is even closer to San Miguel than the Guanajuato/Leon airport (BJX). This may be easier on your crew, should airfares permit. I began my excursions to Mexico as a child, as well, (with my father), and my suggestion would be to skip the language classes altogether, and spend the trip soaking up the local culture---they will have many opportunities to practice their Spanish---and the people are so friendly----they appreciate and recognize that you are making an effort to communicate, and will patiently smile, nod, and help you along the way. There is no better language practice than to be immersed within the country itself---(multiple trips on my part, and years of formal training, as well, including majoring in espanol in college, as well as tutoring students on all levels). There will be so much to see and do once you're there-----and it will be a trip that you and your entire family will never forget!
talavera_timbre is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 02:49 AM
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No, I think that you should not dismiss the idea of language classes for your children. Otherwise, they will be speaking English the entire time. If they take classes, they wil be more exposed to the language. They will definitely will leave Mexico knowing more Spanish. Do it, you will have no regrets!
AggieRose is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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talavera, I love stories like yours because I'm interested in how children who are raised to be adventerous, turn out as adults.

aggie, point well-taken about the school.

I think we'll do a combo of what you both suggested...5 mornings of the school just to ground us...then travels about (we'll be there 14 days).

two more questions: is the air clean in San Miguel...my experience with air in Mexico is Mexico City...enough said....also, has sprawl spread out of the city? In other words, as we take the bus to San Miguel, will there be development the whole way?
Garvin222 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 08:00 AM
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mikemo???
talavera_timbre is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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no better exposure to the language than to be within the country itself----and I have yet to meet the artisan peddling their wares in a market who insists that the potential buyer speak only English.
talavera_timbre is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Yes, the air is clean in San Miguel. And there will not be development the entire bus ride. While I always fly into Leon (because AeroMexico has a direct flight from Los Angeles), my relatives flew into Mexico City for my wedding and they said they definitely passed through some very rural areas. The bus ride from Leon has some beautiful scenery.
joboe is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 06:18 PM
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Hola Garvin,
I returned this evening from SMdA and will be going back in late April "permanently".
The air is wonderful, but it gets hot in April and May.
There are many Spanish language schools and camps for kids - check the Atencion.
The MX first class bus service has seats better than most first class airline seats.
I'll be extremely busy these next three weeks, but you can e-mail [email protected] if you want specific info re: locations, etc.
M
mikemo is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 05:23 AM
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This sounds fine to me. Have been taking my kids to Mexico for more than 15 years starting younger than yours, including going to langauge school with them. The key is to find out if the classes they will be taking are really geared towards kids. I don't think the day will be too long. Get on a first class bus and everyone can sleep all the way if they want. An experience one of my kids had at age 8 in Mexico had such an effect on was the topic of their college application essay. This should be great for your kids.
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