After our two weeks in Cuba we need some rest and drive once again to the nice campground in Xpu-Ha close to Tulum. This is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy ourselves at the Caribbean beach. We meet a few other couples from Germany and spend some nice days together.
Lunchtime is mainly in the beach restaurant with feet in the sand and shrimps on the table. Every Thursday a German baker comes along and sells wonderful breads and cakes which make us feel like at home. So we have a lot of fun and don`t want to leave. But at some point in time there is no way out because our oldest son comes together with his girl-friend and the pick-up is in Oaxaca which is 1600km away. With a heavy heart we say good bye and our special thanks go to Vera and Dierck the two German campground hosts who keep it all up and running.
The more we drive North the hotter it gets and the temperature comes close to 40 degrees. Our first stop is Uxmal where we can park in front of the site on a large parking lot. Every day after sunset they have a light & sound show. The buildings are illuminated in different colors underlined with music and speeches explaining the former life of Uxmal and their inhabitants.
The next morning we get up early to visit the site. First footprints from Uxmal go back to 400 A.C. and the heydays were between 800 and 1000 when more than 20.000 people lived there. We stroll around for 3 hours and are impressed from the beauty of the large site.
Approxm. 20 km away is Kabah the next Maya site on our way. The area is large and only very few buildings are excavated. The most interesting is the palace of the masks. The complete front is covered from dozens of identical masks of the rain god Chaak.
A lot of other Maya sites are on our way along the so called Ruta Puuc in different stages of excavation. But we don`t look to all of them and make a stop at the Gruta Xtacumbilxunaan instead. (no, we did not manage to speak this name fluently) We pay a totally overpriced entrance fee which gave us at least the good feeling that we have sponsored the next three suppers of the local family. Then it goes a few meters underground in a well illuminated cave.
Our next stop is Campeche where we stay on the parking lot of a hotel. Opposite is a large water park. Unbelievable but the park is closed at an outside temperature of close to 40 degrees. Either one goes only swimming above 45 degrees or the personal has no interest to work at this temperature which is more likely. In addition our air-condition produces only warm air and so far we could not find someone who was able to fix the problem. We stay for a day and stroll thru the wonderful old town with nice colonial building.
One more Maya site is on our to-do list before we have enough of it for the time being. We drive to Palenque and find a nice campground in the middle of the jungle not far away from the site. While we relax in the pool howler monkeys give us a concert and Toucans fly around and we feel this is a wonderful environment for our 29th wedding anniversary. The next morning we visit the archaeological site. Palenque is located in the jungle in a unique surrounding. First footprints go back to 100 B.C. but the heydays were between 650 and 750 A.C. In 1949 a grave was discovered which was the first Maya pyramid grave and therefore a archeological sensation. Unfortunately the way down to grave is no longer possible but a replica can be seen in the museum at the entrance. The area is very large and a lot of the buildings are still not excavated and covered from the jungle.
In one week we have an appointment with our son and his girl-friend in Oaxaca and slowly our time runs out. In Villahermosa we find a mechanic who can solve the problem with our air condition. We are happy and good nights are now again guaranteed also above 30 degrees. We make a stop in Catemaco where we stay at a campground in the jungle. The last 1km is a challenge for the three of us but finally we make it thru the bushes. But it was really worth it. We find a nice nature pool with fresh water and the first time since Peru we see again free living red Aras.
In Santiago Tuxtla at the main plaza we look at the largest Olmeken head ever found. It`s a very impressive monument of 3m height and 41 tons weight. We have lunch break in Tlacotalpan, since 1999 world heritage. The colorful colonial town is worth a visit and we combine a walk thru the streets with a good shrimp lunch in a river restaurant.
After two long days of driving we finally arrive in Oaxaca and now look forward to our guests. We will explore the area with them for two weeks. But what we experience there is then part of the next blog. Until then enjoy reading and watching the pictures and like us on Facebook. Hasta Luego.