There are always places and towns that you visit and often don’t allow yourself enough time to see and experience everything. For us, Valladolid is one of those towns. We generally allow ourselves three days to capture the essence and ambiance of a place. It doesn’t take us long to decided we want to discover more and to make a return trip.
On our first occasion to explore Valladolid, we stayed in Casa Tia Micha, a small B&B located on Calle 39 just about three blocks from the ADO bus station and a block off the main plaza, To start the morning, a delicious breakfast was served in the charming garden. Afterwards, we visited the Casa del Venados (the house of the deer) with its collection of over 3000 pieces of folk art and custom designed furnishings.
After lunch in a plaza restaurant, we headed off to the ruins at Ek Balam – about a 45 minute taxi ride passing through the small village of Temezôn, where beautiful furniture is made. On returning to our room, it was time for a siesta followed by a night out for dinner at the Hotel Meson Marques on the main plaza. The food was outstanding and the service excellent. Many of the dishes were flambéed at the table making for a “petite cinema” around the fountain courtyard; five or six flaming food preparations happening at once on the surrounding portal. Guacamole is even prepared tableside.
The following morning, we visited the main cathedral and most of the shops around the zocolo, sat in the park and allowed the city’s history, people and culture to embrace us. People watching is one of the joys of a vacation. People’s faces, actions and attire can tell a thousand stories. Reading those stories that are etched in the faces, body language, and actions of native people is fascinating. We are never in a hurry to see and do everything once we know we will be returning for another visit – time to relax…after all, it’s a vacation.
Interior shots of the cathedral – Frescos and Alters
On our recent return to Valladolid, we were joined by our friend Catherine. It was her first trip. I have to admit, when Catherine’s motor gets started after that first cup of coffee in the morning, she doesn’t know when to stop.
We elected to stay at the Hotel Meson Marques this trip. John had reserved a junior suite on the first floor for us and Catherine had a fourth floor single. Having an elevator was a tremendous help. Breakfast each morning was included and selections were plenty. The first afternoon, we took in the main cathedral and shops around the plaza after lunch, ending with a siesta before dinner.
After a leisure three hour dinner, dining under the trees and twinkling stars above the trickling fountain at El Atrio del Mayab restaurant, we were stuffed to the gills. To start, we shared a large guacamole. I had the chicken frijitas, John had the skirt-steak and Catherine ordered Poc Chuc. We decided to share their dessert of wine poached pears with vanilla ice cream on crunchy granola, drizzled with melted chocolate and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips. Need I say more? Back at the hotel, we said our goodnights and turned in.
Next morning, there was a large tour group of French travelers (22 people plus guide and driver) all gathered for breakfast before leaving for Cancun. They were fed by the well trained staff and left quickly. We heard some trumpets and drums out on the main plaza. It was May 1st and there was a ceremony to raise the huge Mexican flag. I’m not sure if they do this on the first of every month, or because it was May Day, but it was quite a little ceremony.
Heading down the street we encountered a small parade complete with horns, drummers, banners and numerous locals. Once the parade passed by we crossed the street and took the one angled street in Valladolid and followed it through the high rent district to the Franciscan Convent of San Bernardino. I was able to remember my camera and got some really nice photos.
San Beredino Convent & Gardens
Water wheel in the cenote
The water wheel in the cenote that supplied the water for the convent was the largest in Mexico. The convent was also used as a fortification. We discovered a huge colony of leaf-cutter ants in the gardens, each worker ant carrying a piece of leaf into the colony to feed the fungus that supplied the nutritional food they needed to exist.
The large market in town was our next stop. Here we purchased some longaniza sausage to bring home and a few spice mixes that John likes to use.
Huge Town Market
Lunch at the corner restaurant where we shared a banana-split covered in whipped cream and served with a chocolate cookie.
Banana Split covered with whipped cream and topped with Cookie and Cherry. Please note the (3 spoons)
Then an afternoon of relaxing around the pool with piña coladas.
John found it cool and refreshing.
Those feet have seen a lot of dancing!
A quick siesta prepared us for another delightful three hour dinner at the hotel restaurant. You can’t say that we don’t eat when we travel. I had large shrimp flambéed in tequila and a local liquor…Excellent! Unfortunately I had left my camera in the room.
The next morning after breakfast, we packed up and walked two blocks to the bus station. Kindles in hand, we boarded our reserved seats up front and had a smooth trip back to Merida. There is still more to discover in Valladolid, but we will save that for another adventure.