Izamal, Mexico the Yellow City- Taking the Road Less Traveled Has Made All The Difference

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Izamal, Mexico the Yellow City- Taking the Road Less Traveled Has Made All The Difference

Well we didn't stay in Cancun another day and decided to head out of town.  It was just a little too commercial for us, and we were looking for a more "authentic" vacation instead of a resort living, spring break party location.  We are now in Merida..... let me back up and tell the whole story.

 

 

Bikes We saw all over the Yucatan for Transporting Things

Izamal the Yellow City

Cancun... One Night and We are Done!

After arriving to Cancun and renting a car, we got to the Flamingo Hotel.  We went out that night and partied until the wee hours of the morning.  We had to get out of Cancun however.  We didn't come to Central America to party for spring break.  We came here to get some culture and see some things we have never seen before. We left around noon the following day, and decided to drive to Uxmal which is a Maya Ruin about 4-5 hours west of Cancun on the main road. We took off and the roads were great!!! 4 lane highway with no potholes and nearly no traffic at all (however it was the toll road). We saw a couple of bicycles and only a few cars. We made it to the city of Valladolid at about 2pm and decided to stop and get something to eat.

 

 

Central Cathedral Valladolid

Izamal the Yellow City
Izamal the Yellow City
Izamal the Yellow City

Valladolid Sandal Shopping

Valladolid is a charming town with a large church in the central part of town. The place was old!!! 1705 I believe, was when the first mass was performed there. Of course everyone here is Catholic. We took some pictures, had a wonderful lunch, and bought some leather sandals from a guy named Max who was very nice and helpful. We left there about 3-3:30pm and headed back west to Merida.

 

 

Arriving on the Road to Izamal

Izamal the Yellow City
Izamal the Yellow City
Izamal the Yellow City

Getting Lost In Mexico

Evidently we took the wrong road, and we ended up driving down back roads which were in pretty good shape, but down to a road with no center line, and could fit two cars comfortably. It was absolutely amazing! We saw some really neat countryside, and many pueblos (small towns) along the way. The people were looking at us like we were from Mars, but everyone waved, and smiled, and pointed. It was fun. I guess a lot of foreigners with tattoos don't pass through their town very much. But we were still heading west, and even though I had no idea what road we were on or where we were, we figured it would be ok as long as we went west. Until we found the town of Izamal around sunset and realized we found somewhere special.

 

 

Central Plaza of Izamal

Izamal the Yellow City
Izamal the Yellow City
Izamal the Yellow City

Izamal, Mexico the Yellow City

We finally arrived at dusk at a town I recognized on the map as Izamal. One of my favorite cities so far. Izamal has 20,000 people, and has the distinction of some virgin Mary statue that performs miracles. In fact more than once, people randomly told us about Pope John Paul II coming to bless the statue in the 1970s. This is a huge thing to the people down here. They believe that when the pope visits, the town is blessed. We found the large center area, and cathedral ( a Mexican must... nearly all towns and cities have a main plaza with a catholic church at the head of the plaza.) The whole town was painted yellow. They did so to symbolize the rising sun, which is part of the Mayan Indian creation story in their Mayan religious text. Izamal is considered as one of the oldest cities of the Mayans, populated by Itzáes groups coming from the east and whose denomination Izamal is taken from the name of the God Itzamná or Itzamatul. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We saw some of the small Mayan ruin sites while riding on the carriage. The mix of cultures and religion is interesting here in the Yucatan. WHAT A FIND!

Horse Drawn Carriage Around Town

The main plaza at dusk was magical. There were massive amounts of singing birds called Cota Birds... that are much like black birds  or small crows in the states, with longer tails. It was almost musical and somewhat deafening.  While sitting in the main plaza, we saw that there was a big line of horse drawn carriages and we decided to take a 45 minute tour of the city by carriage. It was really amazing. We trotted around while the driver told us about his town. I couldn't help but feel at home in a city like this. I kind of wanted to stay but we ended up leaving and getting on our way to Merida.  Sometimes it's good to get lost and find places you would have never found otherwise.  Call it serendipity.

 

 

Making it to Merida

Izamal the Yellow City

It Not The Destination But the Journey

We found a hotel at about 10 or 11pm and crashed out in our less than exciting, mosquito infested room. What do we expect for 20 dollars? We bathed in some Deet bug spray and went to bed. A great day today!  Exploring the Yucatan, getting lost, buying leather sandals and taking in the culture of small towns is absolutely intoxicating.  We had fun even if it did take us 2-3 times longer to get where we were going. It is many times better to get somewhere at times than the place you arrive.  It's the nice surprises like Izamal that make taking the road less traveled by exciting and rewarding.
 

 

 

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