18th of August, 2015
Going to Chichen Itza means preparing yourself for a long (and hot) day. Especially, when going by local bus. My stay in Merida was extended with two weeks, so I thought I had all the time of the world for more sightseeing around Merida, though my plans changed. Since the homeowners of my “housesit” arrived back and I was able to rent “my” casita for another two weeks, I suddenly got the freedom to travel even further than the surroundings of Merida. My son, who just came back from a trip to Central America, advised me to go and see also Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas. According to him it was well worth it. While investigating the map, I noticed how far those places were situated from Merida. I gave myself some time to consider the pros and cons, but finally the “adventurous part” of my brain told me to go. That meant, I had to start organizing my trip very quickly and I also couldn’t delay seeing one of the Seven Marvels Of The Modern World, Chichen Itza.
So on Tuesday, the 18th, I went early downtown and walked to the CAME bus station to hop on a first class bus to Chichen Itza. No luck, as the bus was fully booked. There was another chance to go 45 min. later, at 9.15, with a minibus for 120 pesos (7 US$). For the way back I only could go with a local bus (80 pesos, not even 5US$). Well, there was no other choice. While waiting in the first class bus station, which is around the corner from the second class bus station, I thought I better get some information about the bus trip to Palenque and San Cristobal, as those buses are also first class. A very nice and helpful lady took plenty of time to check with me the possibilities and connections from one place to the other, as my schedule had to be thoroughly planned. She wrote everything down, as I needed some time to think about it. It was time for boarding and the drive to Chichen Itza went pretty quick, via the same boring road, as when I went to Izamal. After around 1 hour and 45 min. we arrived at the entrance of Chichen Itza.
What a tremendous busy place! So many people and so many vendors. After paying the 220 pesos entrance fee, you have to follow the crowd along an alley of vendors and it never ends. They are everywhere. What a pity, that such a beautiful site, with so many impressive temples, pyramids, platforms and columns, is partly destroyed by the screaming colours of all the articles for sale.
Mind you, I love many Mexican products (and even bought quite a few) and I also understand that in a place like this you get a lot of customers; only there should be a limitation in vendor stalls and places. Dzibilchaltun is way less impressive than this old Mayan city, but walking there all on my own, with only the sound of birds, was more enjoyable for me. Still, I managed to escape now and then the hundreds of tourists and walk on my own in between the pyramids and platforms, with their variety of architectural styles, which finds its origin in the diversity of the population.
Chichen Itza was a pre-Columbian city. It was also one of the largest Mayan cities. Apart from the monuments, there are also two large natural sinkholes (cenotes). What I really loved about Chichen Itza is the variety of details on the monuments. I could take pictures forever; so beautiful!
Besides the ruins, I observed this beautiful bird: the blue crowned motmot. I also saw a very small owl, on a low branch and it was looking me straight in the face. I just focused my camera and at that moment a group of Italian tourists passed by and then it turned its back on me!
I had to take the local bus back at 3.20 p.m. and it finally arrived at 3.45 and then a very long drive back started. It took about 3 hours to go back to Merida, as the bus stopped in every village along the way. The only good thing was that vendors with food hopped on the bus to sell their goodies and they were dropped off in the next village. We even got a guitar player on the bus, who was singing the most beautiful love songs with an even more beautiful voice!!! Also he got off in the next village, but first he cashed quite some money, as the Mexicans are very giving……..
It was a long and hot day again, but well worth it.