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Papantla and El Tajin

MEXICO | Tuesday, 28 July 2009 | Views [1048]

We travelled down to Papantla, and I was in some discomfort due to my sun burns.  The temperatures down there were even higher than La Huasteca and I have to admit that I didn't enjoy my day in Papantla that much.  We didn't stop at the hotel, which was outside the town, on the way in.  We drove right into the centre (which was pretty tiny), parked and went to find lunch and explore.  It was so hot and I just wanted to be in the shade all the time.  The central square was very pretty and had a huge stone frieze along the front of the church which Ed photographed in sections on my phone as I'd left my camera in the car.

We had lunch at a little cafe overlooking the square which was really cute and the beautiful lady who worked there made me a delicious salad as they didn't have much in the way of vegetarian options on their menu.

Afterwards we went shopping and bought a huge bottle of vanilla liquer as the only options were tiny or huge and we didn't think the tiny option would satisfy our vanilla liquer needs!  I wanted to go back and relax in the hotel, but before that we headed up to the volador monument, which was up a really long windy track.  We only stayed up there for a matter of minutes as it was incredibly hot up there and it also seemed to be a meeting place for Papantla's teenage couples...

The hotel was ok and I was glad to just sit back and relax with the air con on.  We decided not to stay 2 nights in Papantla as planned and to do El Tajin in the morning and then head on to the Costa Esmeralda in the afternoon.  That night we had a few drinks, watched a bit of very fuzzy TV and go an early night in.

In the morning we got up early, checked out and drove to El Tajin, which didn't open until an hour later than the book had said it would.  We browsed some stalls and had a coffee while we waited for it to open and finally we walked in to one of the most beautiful ruins I've seen in Mexico.  We were one of the first visitors of the day and despite the early hour of our visit it was exceptionally hot and humid.

The ruins were stunning, from the notched pyramids to the ball courts and stone carvings, I just loved it there.  It was very green and there were trees and grass all around the site which made it immediately different from other sites I'd visited before.  The other thing I loved about it was the way the structures were all really close together which made it feel like a real village and I could imagine the people wandering round there hundreds of years ago.  What I'd loved about Monte Alban at Christmas had been the space and emptiness and it was exactly the opposite of this that made me fall in love with El Tajin.

We saw a volador performance after our walk around the site, and did a bit of shopping in the museum shop.

Then we got in the car and drove down to the Costa Esmeralda to chill out at the beach and have our first night in the tent....

Me and the notched calendar pyramid

Me and the notched calendar pyramid

 

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