So after a great few days on Isla Mujeres I got the ferry back to Cancun to catch a bus to Merida where I checked in to Nomadas hostal- into the 20 person female dorm! Sounds horrendous but actually was one of the nicer dorms I`ve stayed in, really 2 very big rooms connected by some bathrooms, and the big pool out back more than made up for it! They also had free salsa lessons & live music every night and yoga lessons every morning (which I never managed to make it to).
Whilst there I meet a group of 5 medical students, including 1 girl from Northern Ireland. So as it was Saturday night we hit the town together, starting in one of the many beautiful plazas in this colonial city for beers and drinking games. We were on the hunt for a club called Dolorean or something , which we evntually found, only to discover in Mexico you need to have ID to get in to any club, which only half of us had. So we reverted to plan B which was a rooftop bar nearby with some fairly good tunes. Next day I befriended 2 German girls and we went exploring together. Sunday is a great day in Merida when the plaza is filled with stalls, some selling tourist tat, but also lots of food stalls selling fruit juices to tacos and they have entertainment all day. This included local dancing which looked to me like dancing around a maypole but with maybe 15-20 people holding ribbons from the pole making beautiful patterns while they danced. We also visited the cathedral & the Palacio de Gobierno which had a fantastic collection of murals painted by local artist Fernando Castro Pacheco, depicting traditional Mayan life and the conquest- well worth a look! On our travels we came across 2-3 local men who stopped just to have a chat and make sure we were not missing out on any of the day´s activities. Already I had got a really good vibe from Merida.
That night we went to the nearby ´Mayan Pub´ where we met another lovely local guy who gave us a pretty extensive history lesson on the Mayans (we had no choice in this) but he did give us some good tips of places to visit the next day. So off we set- now just Anna & I to cenote de Ignazco which had crystal clear water but was pretty small as was the adjecent ´swimming pool´ (aka 1 meter paddling pool). To console ourselves Anna and I went to Walmart (my 1st experience) to treat ourselves to some wine and cooked up a storm for dinner- including my 1st ever attempt at guacamole. Not exactly a difficuly dish but pretty damn amazing, even if I do say so myself!
Anyway next day we wet to Uxmal another very impressive Mayan site. This one is much more decorative than Chitzen Itza and I would actually say one of my favourite sites to date. We just went ourselves but managed to use our combined language skills to listen in to the various tour groups´guides so got a lot more out of the trip.
It also seems that our hostal is a Mecca for people from Northern Ireland as that night I met Anthony another lovely guy from Belfast and as fate would have it we all ended up in an Irish bar that night lol! But overall a good farewell to a great place!