Edit Blog Post
Published: February 20th 2020
Week five and its Merida a busy bustling colonial city. This is the culture part of the trip and we chose Merida as it gives access to two big Mayan sites, Chitzen Itza and Uxmal. After much research I decided that the latter was the better option, mainly because Chitzen Itza is in easy reach of holiday heaven Cancun and the cruise ship crowds.
The temperatures in Merida were 10 °more than Nayarit but because of the buildings in the city it was still high 30 in the evenings. It definitely slowed us down but thank heavens for air conditioning and the pool. Our first day was all about getting our bearings but the city was laid out in a simple block system, even numbers north to South and odd numbers East to west. Thankfully we were 5 blocks from the main tourist hub as once there it was constant hassle.
We went to a local hostel to book a trip and agreed a price for a private tour to Uxmal for the next day. Once done Chris wanted a shave so we went first to the cathedral and then crossed to the other side , the south where
the locals hang out. He wasn't too impressed!! We had the pool to ourselves and it was the only time we used it as it got busier and busier as the week went on.
In the evening we walked a few blocks to one of my favourite places of the trip, Nacion Brava. A funky craft beer place with friendly staff and great beer. I had a flight of four different ones, including a stout that was like liquid chocolate. We then went to a veggie restaurant, in a nice setting but pretty average food.
Our trip to Uxmal set off at 7.45am with our guide Sammy. The site was fabulous with stunning architecture and not too busy. We chose a private tour to get away early as it was 35 degrees by 10am. Sammy was an okay guide but when we got to the site we had to pay a huge entrance fee which I was sure was included in the price. At the end we spoke to the office and basically my word against theirs. It leaves a sour taste when you know you have been scammed !
Lunch was included and I was sceptical
after the problems earlier but it was delicious. Local food a chicken soup called, sopa de lima and pork cooked underground, beautifully smoky. It was in an old hacienda which had been part of the Yucatan sisal trade and it reminded me of the sugar cane factories in Cuba. Built and run by slaves from around the world with the proceeds going to rich Mexicans and Europeans. We decided making a fuss about the price would get us nowhere but I will put something on lonely planet and trip advisor when I get back to Spain.
In the evening we had a snack called marquesitas they are like a crispy ice cream cone flavour but the size of a pancake with cheese on. Nacion Brava was very busy as Thursday is cheap beer night. The vegan tacos were good too.
After the Mayan ruins came the Yucatan cooking. I booked through Airbnb and the company was set up through Intrepid travel. They provide the support to get local people into work. It was led by a guy called Edgar and there were only two other people Martina and Lukas a young couple from Slovakia but living in Prague.
It was a great day Edgar did a quick round up of Merida history. We went to the market to get all of the ingredients, tried out some chilli, some spirits and ate yummy pork tortas. Next we got the local bus to Edgar's aunt's house where we spent several hours cooking and then sat together and ate it. We made sopa de lima, panuchos,mayan onions, salbutes all good things to try at home. Certainly an excellent day with local people.
Saturday was our last day in Merida so we had left the museums for today. The main museum was closed for maintenance so went to Casa Montejo after wandering for ages looking for a postbox. There was a fabulous old house in a small square and which is now a hotel, the central courtyard was beautiful. They also had the best English tea of the trip so we stopped for one. A delicious veggie lunch rounded off the day.
In the evening where else but Nacion Brava for our last craft beer. My vegan burger was yummy.
Sunday we headed off after breakfast to the bus station in a taxi. ADO run the long range buses in this area and it was very efficient. Comfortable bus station, coffee place,clean toilets and we set off on time! Nearly 2 hours later we were in Campeche the last stop of the trip. You may remember we swopped this instead of a week lying on a beach in touristy Isla Mujeres.
Campeche is the provincial capital and a coastal town with a walled Centro historico which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Our hotel Francis Drake has huge rooms, with a separated lounge area with fridge and microwave. After a rest and a shower we wandered onto the Malecon. What a difference an evening sea breeze made. In Merida it never seemed to cool down, still 30 at 7pm. There is one pedestrian street with lots of restaurants and we had meat, two types of pork dishes and for a nice change, white wine.
Monday was our sort out day, we got organised with a car , went to one of the museums in the city walls and got our bearings. We picked the car up at 5 and headed to Pasaje Cocteleros, which are fish cocktails to eat. As we pulled in waiters from the restaurants jumped out in front of the car to try and het us to their place and we were ready just to forget when one guy just guided us to a parking space. I had two mediocre margaritas and Chris a very expensive beer.
After 5 weeks of nachos, tacos, tortillas, panuchos etc. etc. we wanted something different. There was a Chinese in town but it was manky and I found another one outside the city walls. It was nothing flash but the food looked nice and a local Mexican woman and her young daughter were eating and she said it was good. It was a good buffet selection and very tasty, in fact the sweet and sour pork was great, no MSG or food colouring. The owners were Chinese and the wife decided to chat when I said I had been to China. I didn't have the heart to tell her I didn't like it. She was from the north west province that borders Russia and she shoed me lots of photos of home.
After dinner we knocked on the door of a camper of sorts . It was a converted army vehicle with UK plates and the owners were retired and had been travelling in it for at least 10 years . It was huge outside but inside was less roomy than our old motorhome. It was nice to chat to them but not something I would want to do. It did make Chris think we should have kept Henry!
I am leaving the rest of the trip till next time. Happy reading.
Tot: 0.106s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 11; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0126s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb