Day trip to Izamal

Before we moved to Mérida Kathy and I spent considerable time talking about activities we wanted to engage in once we retired.  Among others, we decided that periodic day trips around the Peninsula would be a good way to spend time.  We have always explored new places we have moved and this move will not be an exception to that general way of being in the world

This past Thursday we drove to Izamal, one of Mexico’s Pueblo Mágicos, Izamal.  It was about an hour drive, heading down the highway toward Cancun.  There is an old convent there, started in the 1600’s, I believe.  There are multiple Maya archeological sites in the city, and we visited one of them.  Here is the wikipedia link for Izamal

Going on Thursday may not have been the best call.  I was feeling a bit under the weather.  Going in June may not have been the best call, it was very warm.  The average high for June is about 95 degrees, and it made the climb up the Kinich Kakomo archeological site, named after patron deity of Izamal, Kinich Kakmo, the ‘Fire Parrot’, who was reported to descend to earth while the sun was standing in the zenith in order to consume offerings (wikipedia).

Our first order of business was lunch.  A friend in Merida recommended the Kinich restaurant, so after parking near the plaza (and armed with a walking map) we set off to find it.  It was a great recommendation.

P1080412A couple of photos inside the restaurant:

P1080406 P1080407The entrance to the Maya site we went to was just a block or so down the street from the restaurant.

After about half the climb one arrives at a large flat area.  This photo was taken from there:

P1080418We did not make the rest of the climb.  Here is a photo from the entrance to the site, at street level.  At the top of that set of steps is the large flat area from where the first photograph was taken.

P1080413 Another outstanding feature of the town is a large convent, started in the 1500’s.  It is on a large piece of ground, probably built on a Maya site.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it (from the previous link to Izamal:

After the Spanish conquest of Yucatán in the 16th century a Spanish colonial city was founded atop the existing Maya one; however it was decided that it would take a prohibitively large amount of work to level these two huge structures and so the Spanish contented themselves with placing a small Christian temple atop the great pyramid and building a large Franciscan Monastery atop the acropolis. It was named after San Antonio de Padua. Completed in 1561, the atrium of the Monastery was second in size only to that at the Vatican. Much of the cut stone from the Pre-Columbian city was reused to build the Spanish churches, monastery, and surrounding buildings.

And I will conclude with some photos taken at the monastery

P1080399The entrance, up a ramp and stairs from the streetP1080400A view of the courtyardP1080430 and a statue of John Paul II, who visited there in 1993P1080432We took a different route back, through Calcachen and Tixkokob. It was a nice drive and we will be back for further exploration of the area.

Next up – Celestun and other Gulf Coast destinations!


Five months in

We moved down on Jan 30. It is almost the end of June now, so that is close to five months. We made our first trip to the states in early June, spending two weeks there. Saw family and friends – it was a good trip albeit a bittersweet as speaking at my brother’s Memorial Service was part of trip.

We flew non-stop from Cancun into Atlanta, rode up to Missouri with our sister-in law (cuñada for those of you wanting to expand your Spanish vocabulary) and then rented a car for the rest of our trip.

The nonstop bus ride to the Cancun airport and back to Mérida was about 4 hours long. The advantage was a less expensive flight and the non-stop. Going directly into Atlanta was a more pleasant experience than immigration and customs in Houston or Dallas.

Speaking of immigration, now that we have our residente temporal cards we fill out a immigration form on the way out of the country (do they still call it an FMM form?). We did this at the immigration office near the check-in counters at Terminal 2 at the Cancun airport. The immigration official wrote “residente temporal” at the top of the portion we would keep and use on our way back into Mexico.  Flying back in, our passports and residency cards were scanned.  I understand that if this re-entry procedure is not done correctly your immigration status can move rapidly into limbo.  We are glad to have the experience under our belt and know what to do should we get an inexperienced worker on future re-entries

It was good to see folks and it was delightful to get to our home in Merida. The cat did all right with a neighbor coming over each day to feed him and clean his litter box. She brought her youngest son over with her and he enjoyed petting our old guy.

Tomorrow we are going to take our second Yucatán day trip, heading to Izamal. I will report on that later this week.


Bus and airline tickets bought
Hotel reservations made
Arrangements to stay with friends all arranged
Dinners planned
Cat care taken care of
Staff have instructions and pay
If it wasn’t for that one little thing
That Memorial Service
I’d be more excited about this trip.

Oh, still need to call Delta and correct Kathy’s name on her ticket from St. Louis to Atlanta, where we make a connecting flight back home to Mérida the next day.

Damn typos