July 10, 2012
After visiting Museo Archeologico (in San Miguel Fuertes) in Campeche in the morning, we left it at noon, drove North on a wide new highway, still not a toll road for the woks were going on, and then turned towards Uxmal, passed it and reached Tikul. The first what we saw by the road were those Maya ruins:
With some sculptures and decorated walls, with a bunker type structure inside the walls:
And right there we saw this gallery and stopped to figure out what is it supposed to be. There were lots of seemingly old Maya statues and planks all over in the yard:
To tell the truth I was shocked- to steal the ancient artifacts from pyramids and to sell them so openly…But I was wrong. We met there the artist himself, his name is Lois Echeveverrio:
His calling is to copy as many of ancient Maya artifacts as possible and to make them look exactly as they look now in the museums. So all the sculptures in his yard are his work. And then inside the gallery there were shelve sand shelves of pots and plates and sculptures and even frescoes. He showed us a vase or a figurine in a book about Maya culture and then his creation – they looked exactly the same! Even the crevices or cracks in the pottery were in the same place and looked very old…it was amazing! Here is some of his art:
He said it takes him about two months to complete such and “ancient” vase and they are priced accordingly. The least expensive we saw there was $200, but I don’t consider it to be expensive having in mind their quality and the fact that collectors would not deprive some museums of their stuff, they can acquire the stuff at Louises gallery. He said that only him and his wife are making all those beautiful things.
Then we stopped for a little walk in Tikul’s center:
And here is the Town Hall and the main square, which are so similar in the small towns of Yucatan:
Because we still had some daylight, we drove some half and hour to Oxkutzkab where we found a very strange hotel…and slept there.
July 9, 2012
It is close to 70 km from Campeche to Edzna. We started late in the day, way after lunch and expected to reach the pyramids in an hour but it took a little more, the road is not so good. but what a bonus – we were in the whole pyramid complex ALONE! That is more one can expect. At first we thought maybe they are closed – only our car in the parking. So we stayed for the full 2 hours till they close at 5 pm. It was amazing! Here is a path from the parking that leads to the ancient city:
And here is what we saw once we got out of the forest, one after another ruins, pyramids, town squares started unfolding:
And again I mention -there was nobody except for one bird, a woodpecker, disturbing the silence.
The main pyramid is the most impressive. Though there was a sign telling not to climb the stairs, I have to confess – I couldn’t stop myself from this sin…On the other hand – there was nobody to see me climbing, except for Andrei. So I climbed, the stairs were not well restored, it was a little scary, but the most disturbing was the feeling that came from the very top of the pyramid, the temple. I guess I wasn’t worth yet to reach the top, the spirits who guard it didn’t want to let me in and I stopped:
This pic is done by Andrei from below, I am the little white dot on the stairs, close to the top, but not yet. And here are the views I saw from there:
Andrei is a little blue dot in the field or main square.
There were more pyramids to climb which was permitted, so I did some yoga on one of them, it was fantastic:
Some of the stones of these stairs have images, or glyphs:
A jaguar here. there is pretty ruined pyramid with some very elaborate sculpture work,but it is at the bottom of it. So you have to bend down very low to see the images of the gods of East and West:
Here is a new structure they are building, I mean – restoring. In makes me imagine how beautiful those pyramids looked freshly built, like a white city form a fairy tail.
In conclusion – the feeling is amazing, I already want to go back…
July 8, 2012
Campeche is on the other side of Yucatan peninsula, on the Gulf of Mexico coast, which i snot as attractive as the one in Florida. The color of the Gulf is grey there and you can see it best from the highway stretching by the water. The downtown is further from the sea and is not only enclosed in walls, but has forts on all four corners and several gates to enter the town as well as many orderly lined streets with orderly painted facades:
This street is #59 – no cars can park here: a photographer’s paradise!
We stayed for 2 nights in a perpendicular street Calle 12 ,close to this church and we could park in front of our hotel “Lopez” . A very nice hotel! As everywhere in Mexican cities – you don’t know what to expect before you enter the building and go deeper and deeper into it. So here are the inside spaces or lobbies of Hotel Lopez:
And here is the hotel pool where I didn’t swim…Till this time I feel I haven’t accomplished something in Campeche…
And here is another hotel where we didn’t stay. Our American friends pointed it to us to visit for some pictures – it is built over some old monastery ruins with appreciation to the past and incorporating them into its gardens and pools:
So one can swim in among the old rooms…Personally I don’t find it attractive – to me it seems like a flooded house, like misery. But they think it is wow! and therefore their prices are around $500 a night .This hotel is on Calle 59 at the very East side of it, by the city wall.
Campeche has many museums, enough for me to wander around for 2 days. One of them:
In the very central square, by the Cathedral:
there is a rich man’s house-museum: Casa Seis (facing the cathedral on Calle 57):
It is always nice to see how rich people lived or live
What was nice about the stay in Campeche – they have lots of music and dance concerts in the Man square. Also – the restaurants are good. There is a choice for different tastes. We even found a vegetarian cafe close by in the center, owned by a German yogi-woman. But she was much more interested in yoga than cooking. so it took as a while to catch when they are open and not lazy to cook and serve food .
Before leaving Campeche we drove on the very beautiful seaside highway south to Fuerte de San Miguel – a Fort still in the boundaries of Campeche. There a museum of ancient Maya art there, it pleased us to see how talented those people were:
Just to show how cute their glyphs are. The Stellas are brought from one of the archeological sites.
I am not sure if it is ethical to show a dead person in his burial attire…
They used to cover the mummies of their kings with a mask of blue jade.
The museum halls are in this fort around the inner garden.
After a good breakfast at Pickled Onion, where they they really pickle onions, we drove to Uxmal Archeological site. It is a big site, like Chichen Itza, but much more beautiful! So if you have limited time to visit Maya pyramids – this is the one I would highly advice to visit, never Chichen. Though it is not so close to Cancun, but it is pretty close to Merida. We never drove more than 230 km per day, and most of the days we drove less than 200km. So the distances and not long there. sometimes the roads are not perfect. though I have to say – they are rebuilding so many roads that in a year or two this who peninsula will look like a perfect traveling destination. When asked if we felt safe during the trip – what could I say seeing French people driving on bikes with their babies attached in bike-cradles through the wilderness of Yucatan…And we felt safe, only had to slow down at military check points, which are arranged evidently because of drug wars still going in the North of Mexico. Also – saw some police or army trucks fully loaded with armed solders. But other than that we saw or heard or felt nothing scary. So here is the first view of of the main pyramid of Uxmal:
Because the pyramid is of an interesting form, here is the side view:
Can you see how steep it is? It was not permitted to climb up, but at least we could walk close by (unlike at Chichen where every building is fenced ). Also – the location is not flat. so some structures are higher, some lower, which makes for a very cozy anchient city setting:
Their stadium is seen here – where ancient Mayas played some kind of game similar to football, but they couldn’t touch the ball with hands, only their bodies, shoulders and had to push it into a stone ring hanging on the side of the field wall. A very hard and brutal game as we understood.
This little pyramid was built for the Kings’ mother-in .law. The special about it- it was permitted to climb it!
Evidently, everything the discoverers found of ancient cities was in ruins and overgrown by jungle. So all the nicer buildings or parts of them are diligently restored, with so much work sill waiting.
This is the highest pyramid we could climb there. There was usually a temple on each pyramid where their priests held their rituals, some of them being very cruel. I hope little Mayas didn’t have to climb those stairs very often/ because as I noticed earlier – the steps are very high and narrow, and t is a little scary to climb it:
The views from above:
There were several courts or squares making that city and buildings surrounding them. They were decorated elaborately in their time and even what remained now pleased the eye:
There is a way to know more about each building besides reading before the trip- To hire a guide, of which many are waiting by the entrances to those sites, speaking different languages. The cost is something around $40 for the whole excursion, as long as it takes. So it is more feasible to be with a small group. On the other hand – I didn’t even want to know too many facts about Maya history, for some are gruesome, some maybe noble, but…most of them travel to that drawer in ones memory box that is never opened…I just wanted to enjoy the city planning, the architecture, the masonry, the sculpture and feel the atmosphere, maybe even the energy.
Sadly, but this two headed lion is not just for beauty. Girls to be sacrificed were on it -saw it in paintings in museums…
What a nice way to make stairs! Or maybe they were seats for sports spectators. The rhythm…
The main inhabitants of the abandoned cities – iguanas. They are everywhere, heating their bodies in the sun, eating plants and catching bugs, not afraid of us almost at all.
The last glimpse to the main pyramid from its back and we are off through the modern entrance-visitors center:
After looking through the pictures I am still amazed at their grandeur! While being there – it was so hot and humid (even in February), so the feelings for their beauty or energy are a little dulled. And you never stop marveling- who could build them? No, the theory that aliens helped ancient Mayas to build them is pure fiction. However our waiter said his grandpa met a tiny Jungle person at night – one of who were supposed to really help Mayas in their ordeal. Their version of Snow man, just very tiny. But when Mayas say tiny – he must be really tiny. But with strong stature and strong hands to carry stones. Who knows…
Santa Elena is a small town past Kabah and some 30 km before you reach Uxmal. Just a place to sleep. Actually, we didn’t even see the town, because the B&B – The Pickled Onion – was right on the road. Owned and run by a British lady it is charming. She bought an almost bare hilltop, brought a lot of soil and planted nice surroundings, while building several cottages in Maya style. They are supposed to be efficient in holding heat or cold depending on the time of year:
A beautiful doctor from France that I got acquainted in The Pickled Onion.
The good features about this B&B are -the pool, nice gardens, nice tastily built and furnished cottages, a good restaurant with waiters who speak English! There is also a labyrinth for meditation:
And the owner can offer a massage:
As usual in Mexico – the tile and stone work is attractive:
Only one shortcoming – being so remote the internet is with glitches. Though the owner got our e-mails, my high -tech husband couldn’t connect to the world. Therefore we couldn’t stay there longer than one night: