Courtesy of the Mexico Tourism BoardWaking up in the morning was always a pleasure. My bedroom contained a simple wood-framed, king-sized bed that I had moved out onto the flat roof adjoining my suite. No roof, no walls, just simplicity and wow, what a view! My bedroom faced west partially shaded by a huge tree growing in the courtyard below. It was also in the shadow of the massive rock that the rental house was built into. I usually poked my head out from under the covers to watch the pre-dawn colors unfold and eventually give way to the white light of the rising sun. My clock was in the diminishing shadows of the morning sun before it rose over the rock and spun off into the morning sky.

The daily wake-up symphony was delivered every morning on cue from the calls of the neighbor’s fighting cocks. Theirs were the first notes to the musical score. The smell of the wood-fired stoves and the swishing of the brooms in the courtyard let me know the housekeepers were up and that soon the church bells were going to ring.

The first to ring came from the city’s main cathedral, “La Paroquia.” Its tall steeple is the architectural crown and focal point of the central square in San Miguel. The view from my hilltop retreat was unobstructed and allowed me to hear, as well as see, what played out each morning in the city below me. La Paroquia, although having multiple bells, started out each morning by only ringing a single small bell located by the market. Another church answered back with a ring of its own.

La Paroquia then proceeded to ring another single bell to a second church, then a third, a fourth and so on, in an established order. During which time the churches continued to clang back, each with its distinctive timbre, to La Paroquia. This carried on until all seventeen churches in the parish were summarily awakened from the previous night’s sleep and the city was filled in sound. Once done, the mighty Cathedral let loose with her multiple bells signaling the finale. Then, all the churches ringing forth and back, with the multiple tones and timbres from all their bells, brought most of the city out of their beds and to their prayerful knees.

I, on the other hand, brushed the tiny flowers out of my hair, which had fallen there the night before from the flowering canopy tree, and savored the softness and delicate warmth of my girlfriend beside me. I decided to hold on to those moments for a minute or two longer.

Go to San Miguel. Rent a house and take in the charm of this lovely Mexican colonial city preserved in the highlands in an eternal spring climate, filled with artists from around the world.