Edit Blog Post
Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 20.6355, -87.0702
Having agreed with Helen & Steve, who join us on February 9th, by e-mail, that instead of spending all our joint Mexican time in Playa del Carmen as planned we would return to Akumal we set off for the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula to the city of Merida, calling in en-route at the Mayan ruins at Coba and the Spanish town built on top of Mayan ruins at Izamal. The parts of Coba that have been explored are quite spread out but thre are bikes to rent to ease the passage from one to anothder. There were also taxi bikes - one local guy pedalling and one or two passengers in a strange cage affair in front. Seemed OK when the two passengers looked a bit ancient and wobbly, but on several occassions the passenger was a strapping and evidently lazy young man on his own! It's mostly a no-climbing site until you get to the main pyramid, the tallest in the Yucatan at 42 metres up which Peter promptly scrambled, and inched his way back down - these Mayan steps are steep and narrow and a slip would se you tumble to the bottom.
The monastery at
Izamal is built on top of a huge platform that once supported a Mayan pyramid. It's painted a startling shade of ochre yellow, and much of the town follows suit.
And so to Merida, which dates back to 1542. Our satnav got the location of our hotel wrong, right street but street number all wrong so we quickly learnt how logical a street layout can be, odd numbers (Calle 25) east-west, even numbers North-South and all one way, alternately. Given the state of some London roads we could use some of that logic, though street number 25 isn't very apealing as a name. Anyway it was a nice hotel, though again the swimming pool was just a bit too chilly! Peter bought himself a Mexican Panama hat (having thought they all came from Ecuador) nd we ate Mayan and Italian.
Day trips took us to another magnificent Mayan site at Uxmal with the massive Magicians Pyramid and wonderful decorations, lots of that being carvings of Chac masks - the rain god. Another day we went to another site, Dzibilchaltun - very important in Mayan times apparently but not much there now. But a good museum and a cenote- these are 'sink holes',
deep holes full of water which interconnect at the bottom in underground rivers. Plotted on a map they form a clear arc across the peninsula and they say they were formed by the meteorite which landed in the Gulf of Mexico and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs etc. And on to lagoons on the North coast looking for pink flamingos, but nothing near enough for a good view.
Monday 9th we had to be at Cancun airport at 3o'clock - ish to meet Helen and Stephen off their flight from Gatwick. That gave us time to visit Chichen Itza, probably the most visited Mayan site of them all and it was packed with tourists, most of whom had arrived on a fleet of buses from the resorts at and around Cancun. So many tourists attracted an almost equal number of Mexican tradespeople selling their knick-knacks and souvenirs, to the extent that many paths were lined both sides with stalls, all selling pretty much the same stuff. Chichen Itza is said to be the best preserved site but the crowds of people and the don't touch, don't even get too close rules made it a bit souless.
The road across the peninsula
is very un -Mexican, a dual carraigeway straight as an arrow with no speed bumps (but with some vicious toll charges) so we were at the airport in good time and on to our resort in Playa del Carmen for two nights. A huge golf course surrounded by houses and hotels, ponds crawling with waterfowl and terrapins. Quite attractive.
Tot: 0.039s; Tpl: 0.022s; cc: 9; qc: 23; dbt: 0.0079s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb