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Historical San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Researching book scenes in a splendid colonial town

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico (May 21-24, 2010) -- I arrived in the central Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende, partly to research scenes for an upcoming thriller. San Miguel de Allende was founded in 1542 by the Franciscan friar Juan de San Miguel and remains one of the most well preserved examples of Mexico’s colonial past. In its prime centuries ago, the town was an important stopover on the Antiguo Camino Real, part of the silver route from Zacatecas. And it has a unique local vibe, different from other towns in the region, while it also hosts a growing U.S./Canadian expat community that creates its own community dynamic. And the well preserved historic center of town, with its splendid colonial architecture, offers many interesting venues to blend into a novel.

Photo above: Walking along the old cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende.

The two most impressive sites in town are La Parroquia (the Parish Church) and the Templo de San Rafael. Another important site is El Jardin, the main town square facing the church. In 2008, San Miguel was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, adding to its already well known historical significance.

Photo above: The main parish church, La Parroquia, in the center of town, across from the main square commonly known as El Jardin.



San Miguel de Allende is also one of the key sites in the Mexican Independence movement that began in 1810. In particular, it is the birthday of Ignacio de Allende, a captain in the Spanish colonial army who became one of the founders of the revolution. He fought along with Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in the first stages of the struggle, eventually succeeding him in leadership of the rebellion. Following an ambush by Spanish authorities at the Wells of Baján (Norias de Baján) Allende, Hidalgo, and several other commanders were captured. Allende was tried and then executed by firing squad on June 26, 1811, before his dream of independence became reality. Today, the house where he was born, located at the Plaza Mayor, is a museum.


In addition to looking at the historical sites around town, I attended a bullfight in the Plaza del Toros Oriente. This was my first time witnessing this brutal entertainment.


---- Travel Essentials Summary (and ratings) ----
Hotels: Quinta Recreo*** (7)
Restaurants: Mama Mia (7); Restaurant del Jardin (5); Cafe Iberico (8); Restaurant in Hotel El Mesón (9);
Bars/Night Clubs: Mama Mia (8)

All photos and text Copyright © 2010 A.C. Frieden. No reproduction permitted without prior written approval by A.C. Frieden. For reproduction rights and higher resolution images, send email to afrieden[at]avendiapublishing.com.

Posted by AC Frieden 22:23 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Mexican Sunshine, Tequila and a "Sinful" Story

The making of a short story for the upcoming anthology SIN

View Mexico 2008 on AC Frieden's travel map.

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (Mar. 8, 2008) -- With a deadline looming for my contribution to a new anthology called SEX (the sequel anthology to SIN, also by Avendia Publishing), I needed two important things: time to write and a story worth reading. Authors sometimes need tranquil places to think, to spark one's literary synapses, and to get away from all the urban distractions that make it so difficult to write. So, the chance came up to go to Playa del Carmen and Tulum for inspiration. I came back with more than I expected -- I conceived a clever, short satire called Adios Verdad ("Goodbye Truth") and it rocks! Set in a steamy massage parlor on Playa del Carmen's La Quinta Avenida, the story of a married couple experimenting with risky affairs while emotionally torn about their deeds will hopefully leave readers tingling with rage, shock and laughter. SIN is due out in September and includes short stories from fourteen other Chicago-based popular fiction authors. For more information of the book, visit http://www.avendiapublishing.com.

(above) At my waterfront suite at the Playacar resort, a few hours before the massage that will shape my short story Adios Verdad.

(above) At the coastal Mayan ruins of Tulum.

(above) Heading south of Tulum through the Sian Ka'an wildlife reserve.

(above) The virgin beaches near Boca Paila, some 25 km south of Tulum, on the way to the fishing village of Punta Allen.

--- Travel Summary (and Ratings) ---
Hotels: Playacar Palace (8.5)
Restaurants: ___________(__); ___________(__); ___________(__); ___________(__);
Bars/Night Clubs: ___________(__); ___________(__);

All photos and text Copyright © 2008 A.C. Frieden. No reproduction permitted without prior written approval by A.C. Frieden. For reproduction rights and higher resolution images, send email to afrieden[at]avendiapublishing.com.

Posted by AC Frieden 16:21 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Mexico City's Hot Spots

Exploring one of the Western Hemisphere's largest cities for scenes to use in the sequel to Canvas Sunsets Never Fade, my first novel.

View Mexico 2007 on AC Frieden's travel map.

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Jun. 10, 2007) -- After a week in Acapulco, I arrived here in the Mexican capital for my first real chance to visit the city. I'm staying at the new W hotel in Polanco, the hip area on the northern edge of Chapultepec park. The wide boulevards and quaint streets and the sheer size of the city are just some of the things that hit you upon arrival.

(above) View of north-central Mexico City, including Chapultepec park.

(above) View of Metro line crossing Avenida 24 de Abril as plane lines up for final.

(above) Avenida Francisco I Madero in downtown Mexico City.

(above) The Metropolitan Cathedral facing the Zocalo.

(above) Julio Verne street in Polanco has quaint shops and restaurants.

(above) View from my room at the W Hotel in Polanco

The city offers an amazing urban assortment of sites for my sequel, and perhaps for one or more other books in the pipeline. I also visited the archeological museum and went to the artsy market at San Angel.

(above) Artwork for sale in San Angel's market square.

All photos and text Copyright © 2007 A.C. Frieden. No reproduction permitted without prior written approval by A.C. Frieden. For reproduction rights and higher resolution images, send email to afrieden[at]avendiapublishing.com.

Posted by AC Frieden 15:55 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Return to Acapulco on the Trail of My First Novel

A Journey to relive parts of my first novel, Canvas Sunsets Never Fade, and plan its sequel.

View Mexico 2006 on AC Frieden's travel map.

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Jun. 14, 2006) -- I'm here again in Acapulco, Mexico, at the Las Brisas resort, which is the spectacular setting for several scenes in my debut novel, Canvas Sunsets Never Fade (Avendia Publishing, 2004), now in its third U.S. printing. Using the resort as his base of operations, the story’s main character, Richard Nash, tracks down the elusive Lina Mundhir, a wealthy woman and sister of the FBI’s lead suspect wanted in connection with the murder of the Saudi Ambassador’s wife. But Nash’s success in finding Lina is short-lived, as both of them suddenly find themselves pursued by killers who will stop at nothing to silence them. They barely escape from Acapulco and head inland in a desperate attempt to stay alive.

(above) I am holding a copy of my first novel on the deck of my casita, in front of one Mexico's most striking panoramas.
(below) Not only are the private casitas and pools at Las Brisas a perfect place to write novels, they are also great spots to include in stories, as was the case for my first novel.


This was my sixth trip to Acapulco (each time at the Las Brisas resort) but my first since Canvas Sunsets Never Fade was published in 2004. I had the pleasure of again meeting several members of the resort’s management and donating copies of his book. I'm also planning to a sequel, which for nostalgic reasons will include scenes from Acapulco.


For details, read the press release.

Posted by AC Frieden 15:50 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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