Friday, February 27, 2015

A road trip to our favourite places

In centro Izamal Yucatan, Mexico
I wonder if Sylvia knows where we are?” I joked as we turned down yet another tiny, unmarked street in the colonial town of Izamal. 

I was referring to John's IPhone GPS. We were looking for the route back to highway #185, and Valladolid.

Franciscan monastery in Izamal
About a three-hour drive from Cancun, Izamal is one of our favourite places in the Yucatan peninsula to take visitors. Settled in the 1540’s by the Spanish, the city and the Franciscan monastery were built directly on top of an old Mayan temple. The monastery and many of the buildings in centro have traditionally been painted a mellow egg-yolk gold. Even though the reason for the monochromatic hue has been lost over the decades the golden colour gives a lively, vibrant look to photographs.
Our favourite - Kinich Restaurante
Lawrie and I typically travel with maps but since we have been to Izamal a few times in past years we thought we knew where we were going, and he normally has a fined-tuned sense of direction. However, when driving on roads that wind through cramped, narrow streets on flat featureless land – the topography looks the same, all the time. Full from a spectacular lunch at our favourite eatery in Izamal, the Kinich Restaurante, we were a bit drowsy and probably missed the rare and sun-faded directional signs. So, John and his Iphone came to our rescue!
Stained glass window - Izamal
When asked, Sylvia the IPhone politely informed us we were headed in the wrong direction. She then dispensed step-by-step instructions for multiple turns onto tiny one-way roads, including exactly how many meters before our next turn onto yet another dust-covered alley wending our way to the intersection for the highway. I take back every sarcastic comment I have ever made about people relying on GPS! Sylvia the Iphone is a very knowledgeable lady.


Valladolid in the evening
Getting into the centre of Valladolid was easy; we have been there many times and we had good instructions – the pen and paper kind – for finding our hotel. The Casa Tia Micha is a tiny B&B a few steps off the square. With a total of three guest rooms available is probably the tiniest hotel that we have ever booked. The front entrance is quite plain, with a black metal gate opening up to a delightful entrance and courtyard. The B&B is beautifully decorated with great attention to detail; comfy beds, good showers, a complimentary bottle of wine and two nice wine glasses. Just perfect!
Our room at Casa Tia Miche - Valladolid
In the morning co-owner Rosanelly Ayora Sosa treated us to a tasty three-course breakfast of regional dishes, a great start for our day of roaming the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. Settled in around 600, and abandoned in the late 1500's, Chichén Itzá was re-discovered by European explorers in 1842. The entire complex was buried under an accumulation of trees, vines, and other assorted vegetation that had grown unchecked. By 1923 the Mexican government was interested in excavating the main parts of the city. Excavation projects are on going at the site as more structures have been located, some buried underground, some deep in the jungle.
Our travel partners - Maia and John at Chichén Itzá
We arrived at the complex around 9:30 in the morning. We had three hours of relative peace - to take photos, read information plaques, cruise past the hundreds of vendors and leave before the dozens of tour buses from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Mérida disgorged their sun-baked passengers.


Taberna de los Frailes - Valladolid
Turning back to Valladolid we headed to our other favourite restaurant the Taberna de los Frailes for a late lunch. Serving tasty regional specialties the Taberna is a great place to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. The eatery is located in a sub-district of Valladolid called Sisal, beside the Convento of San Bernardino de Siena. The Convento (monastery) was built during 1552 to 1560 by the Franciscan monks and was in use until 1755 when it was abandoned. A self-guided tour of the property is a good way to walk off a few lunch calories.


San Bernardino de Siena
Early the following morning we enjoyed our last tasty breakfast before setting off on our return trip to Isla Mujeres. We decided to drive the “libre” road, the toll-free slower route, and more interesting than a four-lane, dead-straight, nothing-to-see route.




TriciTaxis - Leona Vicario

We bumped our way over the topes (speed bumps) of each small village, passing plant nurseries, handicraft stands and small restaurants. In Leona Vicario we were surprised to see motor-cycle based TriciTaxis, buzzing around, carrying students to and from school, shoppers, supplies – anything. Cool idea!


Casa Tia Miche - Valladolid

And then finally we were headed home on the car ferry, content, tired, and ready to chill out for a few days in our island paradise.
Love road trips! And really love getting back to our home.
Hasta Luego

Lynda and Lawrie






Back home to Isla Mujeres

6 comments:

Kristin Busse said...

I am quickly becoming a fan of your blog... lovely post!

Lynda Lock said...

Thank you Kristin! Always happy to have new readers .... Cheers Lynda

Anonymous said...

Lynda, I love your colorful photos and the detailed descriptions of people and activities. Easy to imagine being there too! Rose (in Texas, USA) ... fun to see the warm photos since it is snowing here today.

Lynda Lock said...

Good morning Rose: We always enjoy the Izamal - Valladolid area, so interesting and so beautiful. Are you on Isla now? Next door at PP? Cheers L

Life's a Beach! said...

Wow! Beautiful pics and reference for a sensational roadtrip! And -- ta da -- I booked our upcoming flights yesterday!!!

Lynda Lock said...

Great!!! Send me info on email address ..... do you have it? L