Monday, March 1, 2010

Mexico, Part 2: The Yucatan

We spent the last days of our vacation on a little adventure into the heart of the Yucatan. With the rest of the family off to the airport, the three (I mean, four) of us loaded the rental car and headed out for a trip to the inland highlands. We chose the colonial town of Valladolid as a base of operations, and checked in to a beautiful old hotel on the town square.
The next morning we were up bright and early for a visit to the famed Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. As previously noted, this was Jude's 18 month birthday, and he was in rare toddler form. We arrived shortly after 8am to beat the crowds and the heat, but our boy was mostly interested in throwing rocks and picking up sticks. We did catch this rare self portrait in front of the great pyramid. I regret to say that without a guide to interpret the old ruins and rocks, our visit did not give us much insight into the ancient Mayans or their parenting styles. One man did offer us a one hour tour, but we were working on more of a 2 minute attention span.

The family quickly fell into a pattern of morning adventures and afternoon naps. We returned to the hotel and swam in the pool, took walks around the square, and generally enjoyed the end of our vacation. Jude took a liking to spanish cartoons, and we shamelessly picked up meals of Domino's Pizza.

Our final day of adventuring led us to a set up Mayan ruins off the beaten track. The complex of Ek Balaam was a short drive from Valladolid, and it outperformed our expectations. Again, there was very little interpretation of the overall site, so I'm not much better informed about the age, makeup, or general characteristics of the people who once lived there. On the other hand, we had the place to ourselves and the structures were fantastic! We were able to climb all over them, look inside the buildings, and even scramble to the top of the largest pyramid! This was a real highlight for me, and Jude didn't have a bad time either!

Overall, our stay in Valladolid was restful and pleasant. Our room had this large veranda on the fourth floor, and we sat outside each evening reading books, listening to the birds, and watching the action around the square. I had many worries about our ability to enjoy ourselves as a family in a foreign city. I worried about our health, and sleep, and diet, and patience. It turned out that all my anxieties were just the ravings of an overprotective father!
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1 comment:

Natalie said...

Great vacation! Glad it was such a success.