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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 12 Campeche - Mérida (305 kilometers)

Even though I had gotten quite comfortable there it was time to leave Campeche.  I had told myself that I would stay as long as it took to catch up on the blog so I stuck with the plan.

I decided to take a more inland route to Mérida as it passed though an area called Ruta Puuc (The Puuc Route, just 80 km south of Mérida.  Along this route there are Mayan archaeological sites, the caves of Loltún, haciendas , cenotes, Mayan villages, and larger Mayan city/towns).

I left Campeche around 7 am.  I was blocked in by a truck that had parked in the exit but the guy behind the desk (Miguel) tracked down the owner to move it.  Turns out the owner just gave him the keys to move the truck but Miguel didn't know how to drive it so I ended up having to move it.  Had not driven a 4-wheeled vehicle in a little while but there were no issues.

With that small problem out of the way I was off.  Along my proposed route I saw the exit for Edzna.  I was not planning on going there but I was not expected at my hostel in Mérida until 4 pm.  I actually had a reservation this time, Nomadas Hostel, as I decided to do some research ahead in Campeche as I was growing tired of riding into cities and wandering around at night trying to find a place to stay, I had gotten lucky twice in Cardenas and Campeche and did not want to push my luck.  Additionally, when I was layed up in the hotel the day before making sure Fricka and all my gear were in order I saw a tourist ad, directed at Mexican nationals, for Campeche that featured Edzna as a can't miss spot.  

So, since it was early and I had heard about the place I decided to make a small detour, and I am very glad I did.  It was only 32 pesos to get in and since I was there so early there were only 3 other people in the whole site.  It was pretty amazing.  It is one thing to see a Discovery or National Geographic special but these Mayan sites, in person, are astounding.  The size, scale, and proportion are..... well just look at the pictures:







With one site down I was looking forward to seeing more.  On top of that the road I decided to take was fantastic.  There was a lot of cloud cover so it was cool, there were very few people on the road, and their was lots of twists and turns.  Not to mention the beautiful surroundings of tropical flora and fauna.  I say fauna because during this whole ride (until just before Uxmal) I was bombarded by butterflies, there were swarms of them.  Unfortunately, I was not able to take a pick were they showed up at speed.  

Shortly after leaving Edzna and getting back on my planned route I crossed into the Yucatan state.  And not after more than a few kilometers into the state I saw a turn off for another site.  Why not?  off to Sayil I went.

Luckily, Sayil was extremely underpopulated as well.  I entered in with just one other couple and was able to lose them quickly, as the site is pretty spaced out and I do not think they planned on as much walking as there was.  So for the second time in a row I had a Mayan site pretty much all to myself!







It was now around 11-11:30 and I still had a little ways to Mérida so I was thinking that I had better get to Uxmal and then get to my Mérida, giving myself the time to get to the Hostel and change money if necessary.  

As I left Sayil and got back onto the road to Mérida I saw a sign for Kabah and it was really close but I had already decided that I wanted to hit Uxmal and go.  Surprisingly, unlike the other sites, Kabah is right along side the main road.  So all of a sudden I notice this huge site off to my right as I am riding.  I quickly slowed down, made a U-turn and went back to the site.  

Fricka was really feeling left out since she could not go into any of the archeological sites. And since I was planning on skipping Kabah anyways I decided not go in or take a pic of me there so this place could be all hers.



I was really happy that I was able to find something like that for her.  We were quickly off to Uxmal.  Uxmal is a bit more touristy and has a hotel and restaurants built all around it.  The price for admission reflects the touristiness of it as well, 115 pesos.  That being said, it was completely worth it.  Again, because I was going to all these sites on a Wednesday, at this time it was around noon, there were very few people here as well.  Again, the pictures say more than I can, I was just fascinated seeing these in person, there really is no substitute to truly understand the scope of this architecture.  







As much as I was enjoying the sites, after Uxmal I was ready to get to Mérida.  As I mentioned on of the astounding things about these sites are their size and the distances between the architecture.  With this comes the fact that you have to do a lot of walking.  Since I ride in full gear (helmet, gloves, jacket, pants, boots), and I don't have a lot of storage space on the motorcycle I usually could just lock up my helmet, and gloves.  That means I had to walk though all these sites in boots and pants and carry/wear my jacket.  I am not complaining (as I plan on doing this several more times, Chichén-Itza for example), I am just explaining why after walking around three sites in 32-38 degree weather why I was ready to get to the hotel.  Being able to have the wind flowing by you afterwards while riding between locations really helps though.  And as you can see from the images, it was more than worth it.

Uxmal is not that far from Mérida so I was their in an hour or so, I keep the speed down to save of gas, tires, and hopefully from dealing with police.  Mérida is constructed on a grid, but all of the streets are one way.  Thankfully, I had used google maps to plan my route though the city to the hostel ahead of time as I could see how quickly driving around here would have become very frustrating if I did not know which street went which direction.

When I was about a kilometer or so from the hostel I was stopped at a read light when the driver's side door of the taxi in front of me came swinging open and the driver came sprinting over towards me.  I popped the clutch into 1st and was getting ready to twist the trottle when I noticed this big smile on his face.  Turns out his name is José Antonio Garrido Romero and he is the president of the BMW Moto Club Yucatán.  He gave me his card and from what I could tell from his very fast paced Spanish was that I should give him a call if I needed anything and that there would be a meeting tomorrow around 8:30.

With that, the light turned green, he was off somewhere in his taxi and I was at my hostel.  I found this place though a guide someone had called Lonely Planet.  This place has great facitlities, people, and is really cheap.  Kind of made me wonder why I hadn't left Campeche sooner with a place like this available.  None the less, I was here now.  I will be here until the 9th when Miguel flies in and we head off to the village.

I am planning a few excursions in the meantime so there will be some action here unlike in Campeche.  Even thought, there is nothing really to do in Campeche as it is a sleepy city and really good for if you are just looking to chill out and relax, not needing any night life or heavy tourist attractions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Richard,
    What an amazing journey! Excellent job at blogging your trip, I love the details noted and the beautiful pictures! I see a book coming soon! Be safe…

    Respectfully,

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete