Inland to Valladolid and Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza Travel Blog› entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
Next, we bused inland, away from the salt swell of the beach and into the state of Yucatan, the heart of Mayan culture in Mexico. We stayed in Valladolid for the night and went to Chichen Itza in the morning.
Though it is less wild and more rebuilt than other sites, Chichen Itza is pristinely restored, well manicured and pleasantly laid out. Getting there early in the morning and ahead of the tour buses (thanks to my brutal enforcement of the sleep schedule) makes for a nice and sunny stroll through the past. The complex consists of the main temple (which is supposedly aligned to cast a creepy serpentine shadow during the equinoxes), surrounding which is a ball court, an observatory, a wall with skulls on it, more temples, some workers moving rocks, and a bunch of knick knack stands.
We caught the collectivo back into town and walked down to an old Spanish church with a cenote in the backyard. The church still appears to have events going on, and there's a small museum where you can see the old tower bells which some scuba divers had to fish out of the cenote.
That night, it was the evening before Revolution Day, and Valladolid had a festival in the town square. Painted child beauty pageant girls, sweet smelling food stalls, dancers in traditional costumes, local art, and, of course, a big tent full of beer, were all on show for the celebration.