Sunday, August 10, 2014

MERIDA, YUCATAN: THE WHITE CITY










After spending a few years living in both Central and South America I felt it was time to go “home.” My husband asked, but where is home? It did not take me long to respond that to me home was Mexico. But, of course, Mexico is a very large country and could I be more specific? After giving it some serious consideration we realized that one city that we had never visited was the capital of Yucatan and that city was Merida. So without having any true sense of the place we booked our flight from Argentina and arrived back in Mexico at Cancun. From there it was just an easy four hour bus ride to Merida and we were immediately captivated by this enchanted city.

Before we get started, can you locate the state of Yucatan in Mexico?



Hint: it's on the Gulf of Mexico and it is PURPLE!  

For those who don't have the patience to view my album at the end of this post:



NOW FOR A COUPLE OF OPENING PEEKS:



Merida offers amazing entertainment for all to enjoy!


The traditional music and dances are outstanding and beautiful.



The Cathedral on the plaza of Merida.


Traditional horse-drawn white carriages are called calesas and are used in parades and for rides around town by locals and visitors.


The Easter parade is spectacular and the beautiful local women make it even more so!


Maybe it was “blind” luck, but we succumbed to the charm of this city immediately. To me the magic of Merida was the fact that it was such an interesting blend of indigenous Mayan culture, pre-Colombian Spanish colonial charm, vibrant modern Mexican lifestyle, and the exciting contemporary influences of residents from many different countries and different regions of Mexico. Merida was exciting, happening, and yet very peaceful and traditional. A combination that was truly attractive and unique.



The municipal government of Oaxaca is very active in sponsoring a great variety of cultural and artistic events throughout the year.


Merida's cathedral looms over the zocalo (plaza).


The main plaza with weekend vendors selling local arts and crafts.


One of the municipal buildings on the main plaza in Merida which is a great place to watch the world go by!

 A local couple decide to set up "shop" at our front door - welcome!


Many huge mansions were built in Merida at the turn of the 20th century based on the production and huge sales of hemp rope and twine world wide. It was also known locally as "Green Gold" because of the great wealth it brought to the area.



A colorful "mansion" in the Mejorada neighborhood of Merida has been converted to a commercial space.



Don't you wish you could achieve this colorful "weathered look" intentionally?


A sombrero is muy importante considering the strong sun and the clear blue skies!


The blend of old and new influences is everywhere in Merida. The municipal government of Merida is amazingly pro-active in creating cultural, artistic, and entertainment events to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. There is something going on all the time. The only issue is trying to balance all the possibilities on a daily basis! One of the annual highlights in Merida is its spectacular Carnival parade just prior to the beginning of Lent. I will be posting more photographs of this amazing event in the future.



Carnival celebrations in Merida are some of the biggest and best in Mexico!


Carnival in Merida is NOT to be missed!


Some lovely young senoritas at the annual Red Cross Benefit Dance


Merida is located in the middle of the peninsula of Yucatan which makes it also a convenient starting point for visiting many of the surrounding areas and attractions. There is something to entice every category of traveler. Within easy driving distance, or by convenient public transportation, a visitor can enjoy restored ex-haciendas, small traditional pueblos such as Izamal, nature preserves such as the Celestun Flamingo Reserve, the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, the magnificent archaeological ruins of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Tulum, the underground cenotes (water “holes”) such as Cuzama and Chunkanan, and the nearby Spanish colonial city of Valladolid, and more. Whew!



The Mayan tradition and lifestyle still thrives and is the very fiber of Yucatan.


Many Spanish colonial churches are built in and around Merida in Yucatan


The Gulf coast is only 30 minutes from Merida when in need of a salt water fix.


The Celestun Flamingo Reserve on way to Campeche.

The marshes at the flamingo reserve are fun to explore by boat and the cool water is delightful!


It's lunch time for the seagulls on the Gulf of Mexico of Yucatan.



Visiting a restored Hacienda outside of Merida is a fun way see the countryside. It also gives a visitor a glimpse of what life was like at the turn of the twentieth century.

 The quiet countryside outside of Merida is very much like it has been for many, many centuries!

 
A visit to a former hacienda which is just begging to be bought and restored to it's former glory! Anyone need a project? 




An abandoned garden in an abandoned hacienda waiting for someone to rescue and restore it. Maybe a B&B?


And if this is not enough, the Caribbean coast including the ruins at Tulum, the Mayan Riviera, and our favorite beach escape is an easy drive away from Merida. Here are a couple of photographs of what I will be sharing in another posting for this area of Mexico.


 The ruins at Tulum with its stunning white sand beach is an unbeatable combination!



Can you guess where this might be? It's less than five hours from Merida!



Just thinking of all the great things to see and do in the state of Yucatan makes me want to get back on the bus and take off for a return visit and most especially to Merida. In the meantime, I will just have to dream of a return!

I remember many, many years ago hearing that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I am a believer so following is a link to my WEB ALBUM which has additional photos for this posting.

LINK TO MERIDA, YUCATAN PHOTO ALBUM

I sincerely look forward to hearing from my visitors. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, suggestions, or questions. Until next time, saludos and gracias, Laura



Memories are just a click away!

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