Last week, a friend and I went to Mexico City for the weekend, and added on extra time and one night in the town of Valle de Bravo. I had been curious to visit this place for many years, as I had heard it is cool, forested, higher elevation, and has a large population of equestrians and horses.

I was delighted to find that many Mexican tourists of 20 -something age were enjoying the arts and crafts market and the plaza area. I did not hear one word of English from anyone on the street, nor in shops. Living in San Miguel de Allende, I hear English constantly. If I don’t hear it from foreigners on the streets, then many of the Mexican business folk are learning English, and they may insist on practicing. It was delightful to enjoy walking about Valle de Bravo, and feeling like I was the odd species of gringa tourist who speaks Spanish and is over 50.

I had drinks at a floating restaurant on Lake Avandaro at sunset, watching the boats come to shore, and the skiers, sailors, and paragliders float into the gently lapping waters of land. The mountains evanesced in the distance, and finally bowed in reverence to half moon night.

The streets in Valle de Bravo are cobblestoned, with beautiful and simple balconies over houses, tiled roofs, flowers and vines, and much  artistic use of wood from the mountain’s bounty. There are beautiful views everywhere, and a very large Buddhist stupa just outside of town, monarch butterfly preserve, and other surprising sites.

We stayed in a wonderful B and B called Meson de Leyendas (Inn of Legends). It had a primitive and lush garden, massage and temazcal on premises. Beautiful ceramic sinks nested in wood platforms in the bathroom, and embroideries of glyphs and animals hung on the walls. The very cool night air was refreshing and brisk, and each room has a fireplace of fuel heater. Breakfast was outstanding!

Valle de Bravo is approximately a two hour drive southwest of Mexico City.