Palenque, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Mexico
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
After leaving Mexico city in the morning we board a short plane ride and take a bus to the city of Palenque in the Tabasco region of Mexico. Palenque’s main attraction is allegedly one of the most romantic of ancient Mayan ruins nestled amongst its steamy emerald jungles. Our photos fail to capture the sheer scale of the site which spans some 15 sq kilometers and is made up of 500 or so buildings, but at the time of this post, less than 10% of it has been excavated.
Palenque is a medium-sized site, much smaller than the huge sites that we will be visiting in the Yucatan Peninsula. What the Mayan civilization achieved thousands of years ago without the use of steel, animals or heavy tools is nothing short of incredibly sophisticated architecture. We spend about 4 hours at the site amongst the ruins taking hundreds of pictures and imagining life during the peak of the Mayan civilization.
We also walk up steep crumbling steps to the top of a vantage point and drink in the sight of the shifting light warming up the ruins as the afternoon sun burns off the early morning mist. It is a magical place to be. When we return to the hostel, the evening is sultry, the humidity is so thick our bedroom floors are constantly covered in a sheen of moisture.
We head to the very atmospheric restaurant of Don Muchos just next door for tequilas and cold Corona’s to go with the best wood-fired pizzas this side of Naples. We relax as the ambiance is very chilled with warm lighting under thatched roofs and candles at each table. We’re also treated to a night of music with numerous live bands playing a variety of music that night. So, as we sit back after a fabulous meal, we smell rain in the air and watch lightning dance across the sky above as the clouds open to drench the jungle around us. We toast the start of our trip! Salute!