Valladolid – Day Two – Ek Balam
So I could feel myself coming down with a cold when I got to Valladolid. It wasn’t bad yet and I wasn’t going to let it come between me and Ek Balam. When I checked into the hotel, I asked the desk clerk where I could go to rent a car. He said that they didn’t rent cars in Valladolid. What?!?! What city doesn’t rent cars?! I guess that would be Valladolid. So I asked him how I’d see Ek Balam, and he told me to walk about a block down the street and there would be taxis and collectivos that could take me there. So that’s what I did. Since I was the only one so far, the driver had me wait in a vacant building until some other tourists came along who wanted to go.
Typical Valladolid street…
Bougainvillea grows everywhere down here…
Here’s the vacant building I had to wait in. I wonder when this place was built. I started picturing where I would put the kitchen and courtyard pool when I bought it and renovated it…haha! It sure had some history.
Quite a ceiling…
I’m not sure how this pattern is put on the walls…maybe stenciled?? I would like to have seen it when it was new. Who knows how long ago that was.
Okay, the driver rounded up three other people, so we’re on our way!
Here we are winding our way through town…
It took maybe a little over a half hour to get to the ruins and we passed through a couple of little towns, one of which was Temozon. I thought it was kind of strange to see these pretty white horses tied up to these pavilion-like buildings. But when I took the bus from Chequila to Cancun, I actually saw quite a few horses just tied up to trees or buildings along the way, so I guess it’s not that uncommon.
An old church in Temozon…
Gift shop along the way…
As well as these bikers. These guys would ride through Valladolid with sirens blaring so loudly that you’d think ambulances and emergency vehicles were going through town. I don’t know who or what they were.
Well, here we are at Ek Balam. There is no fanfare for these ruins. It’s a very low-key entrance, as opposed to Chichen Itza where there are restaurants, a huge parking lot for buses, as well as about a million vendors selling their wares. Not so in Ek Balam.
And they just have a few vendors at the entrance to the grounds.
Here are some of the structures…
There weren’t many people here at all, which made it so much more pleasant than Chichen Itza. I knew that you could still climb the main tower, but when I got there, I said, “Do I really want to??”
Because of my cold, I wasn’t feeling my best, but convinced myself that after coming all this way, what choice did I really have? Ugh. They have platforms off to the side on different levels with various “rooms.”
So after resting a couple times on the way up, I finally reached the top…yay! Thank the Lord Baby Jesus, there was a nice breeze up there, which certainly helped since it was pretty hot that day. There were some nice views. The forest seems to go on forever.
There were approximately 20 people at the top with me, most of whom were about half my age. As far as I could tell, I was the only American and the only one speaking English. I had to ask someone to take my picture because there was no way I wasn’t going to document this.
Oh, no…now I have to go down. Ugh, again. After breaking a wrist after a fall a couple of years ago, the thought of tumbling down this ruin did not appeal to me, so I embarrassingly went back down step by step on my butt the whole way. Oh, well, I’ll never see these people again, and at least I didn’t fall, so that’s a good thing.
Ruin guard dog?
Here is some info on some of the buildings if you’re interested.
I can’t believe I didn’t move the leaf on this one.
I’m thinking this might be the ceremonial area? Just a wild guess.
So I walk back to the parking lot thinking I would just hop on a collectivo back to Valladolid. Well, there were collectivos there, but they were all pre-arranged transportation and they told me that collectivos don’t come to pick up people there. What?!?! How the heck am I supposed to get back to Valladolid? So I go back to the area where you get your tickets to wait for the other people that were in my collectivo on the way to the ruin. (One was a woman who was born in Mexico but was currently living in France, and the other two were a couple from Italy.) They finally show up and I ask them how they’re getting back. Turns out they’re not going back to Valladolid but are getting a bus in the other direction. I must have looked kind of panicked because they started asking some of the staff how I’d get back. The woman from France spoke fluent Spanish and she talked to a taxi driver who agreed to take the three of them to where they’d catch the bus, and me and two other guys back to Valladolid for 50 pesos each. Mind you, these taxis are the size of a Kia Rio and they have a sign on the side that says the maximum capacity is four people. This picture isn’t the best for showing how crowded it was in that car, but there were four of us in the back and two passengers and the driver in the front. Crazy.
Fortunately, the three taking the bus only had a drive of about five miles, so it wasn’t too bad. The passenger in the front turned out to be an Indian guy from California who decided to come to Mexico by himself for two weeks. It was his first time there and he was so excited about his trip and adventures he had, and was telling me all about them. He arrived in Mexico City and traveled by bus up to the Yucatan and was flying out of Cancun. We shared stories about how people think you’re crazy to go to Mexico alone and how silly we thought they were. He mentioned that he had met a lot of other people traveling on their own, but that I was the only American one. Crazy woman that I am.
Back to Valladolid. Since I would be leaving the next morning, I set out to see Cenote Zaci, which was right in the middle of the city, only two blocks from my hotel.
Just like the “Hollywood” sign.
After climbing the ruins a few hours ago, my legs felt pretty much like Jello, so when I saw these steps down to the cenote, my only thought was, “Oh, Lord…I’m going to have to climb back up those.”
But I was there, so I felt I had no choice. *sigh*
These things are pretty cool. I’ve seen three so far, but I’ve never gone swimming in one. The water is always really dark, so it makes you wonder how deep they are.
This little girl took forever to talk herself into jumping, but she finally did it…then thought it was pretty neat.
This picture looks kind of upside-down, but it’s the stalactites on the ceiling.
A refreshing snack at the restaurant that sits at the top of the cenote. (The walk up the steps was very slow, by the way.)
And a final picture of the doorway on the opposite side of the courtyard from my room at the hotel…I think it’s a pretty picture. Adios, Valladolid.
Next stop? Isla Holbox!