We don’t know why we are so drawn into Mexico but we are drawn into Mexico and Mexico has been really the one country ( beside our home Italy) we keep exploring through repeated visits and researches. I guess it has something to do with unique culture that we are attracted to rather just beautiful beaches and cool drinks to go with… Anyway, our Christmas and New year’s trip has begun on 21st of December with landing on Cancun to get to our beloved home at our heart, Tulum! Relaxing two days first there… Hanging on the beach, visiting local friends to say hi, nice lunch at El Tabano and other usual little things we love to do and always couple new adventures we stumble into at Tulum. Low key and just magical… but then our journey really kicked off by taking off to Merida to explore the city and it’s color and culture and a few amazing historical haciendas to spend our Christmas. Then we did little hops of chenotes and other spots on a way back to Tulum on the road to Coba. Cenote Il-Kil near Chichen Itza to Valladolid to Tulum to Akumal to Tulum again discovering new favorite spots and unbelievable mother nature and maybe couple paradises so called if it is really ever exists… It feels like we have done tons of things yet we know we have so much more we can explore here in Yucatan along the Mexican Gulf or other towns as Celestun, Uxumal, Progreso and many more. Many towns and villages have similarities yet also each has it’s own character and architectural setting along it’s own history. So each visit is always somewhat unique. So far all the people we met have been so kind and friendly to us. We feel welcomed here. Now we have tasted the top of the iceberg of Mexican culture through the last few years, now I feel we definitely had opened up a can of worm to finish it all up . The rest of the iceberg. Traveling allows us to dream, explore, taste, open up our brain, heart and soul. It makes us un-judge or teach not to judge yet also it makes us to get savvier and savvier to navigate and get to new right exciting things in much creative way. We are passionate about it. It’s inspiring and fun to discover and learn. And it definitely helps us to wear our own distinctive color and style.
We had come across many great moments during our trip and here I like to share the essence of Yucateca culture of all!
Christmas eve at Square, Parque de Santa Lucia, Merida: Dancers getting ready to perform traditional Yucatan dance. Elaborate hair pieces, make up and dressing is all quite beautiful. It’s a small and intimate lovely park. And It totally got me all excite! This was the exact kind of situation I wanted to stumble into! The tradition.
No they are not your typical Mariachi. The traditional songs they sang were quite classy and sort of ” Classic” like.
Christmas Mesa at Cathedral, Merida : I didn’t understand 80% of the mesa, but it didn’t matter to me. We are not even all that religious but it was beautiful to be in the Cathedral of Merida with all the locals to spend the night of Christmas. The quire was humble yet gorgeously beautiful. It nurtured our souls. We prayed for everyone we know and we love. Yes including you. Our life and lives of our family, friends, my people at work, Emiliano’s clients. Everyone. It was fulfilling.
Plaza Grande: stroll after the Mesa on Christmas night. The main square where the Cathedral is. All the buildings were dolled with Christmas lights. Below lovely streets by night in Merida.
Beloved book shop by locals and visitors: Amate Books. A great book shop! Merida.
An amazing Antique shop! I’ll say this shop is quite compatible to the “Olde good thing” in NY. Amazing antique pieces and especially the religious statues and objects are excellent. Circa 1913 statue below. Naive and humble expression is what I learnt about most of folk art and religious figures of Yucatan or it could be through out the Mexico. I also like to blog about Ex Voto: the religious folk art, panel painting with a short story to go with mostly thanking for small everyday life event as we came across through books and visiting antique shops during this trip. They are quite fascinating.
Ahhh, what a beautiful face she has! So wanted to wrap her up to bring with us back home then this shop only accepts cash only. We were middle of nowhere to get close to any bank machine. A good excuse to search more sort of things. And honestly, we felt we needed to learn more about these religious figures before we make any silly purchase.
Selvaged old tiles from colonial homes and haciendas. Quite pretty they are… Below, me standing on the elaborate flooring of the colonial home where we stayed at.
Typical street signs. Street is called “Calle” and the most of street does go by the numbers such as : My home is on Calle 66 between Calle 45 and 47.
Gael in front of our colonial home base on Calle 66. Merida. It gets chilly by night and hot during the day.
The main market in Merida. It was quite intense experience for us to go through this market. First of all, it’s monstrously big. And it was the Christmas eve or what..! The market was absolutely packed. And the way everything is laid out, presented, accepted and lived by the people in Merida. It’s cruelly raw and in your face. We were bit shocked. But then we talked to ourselves… You know what? That’s how human live.
Can you just smell what we are smelling here? Live turkeys walk around next to the taco station. It’s crazy and amazing. Moving on to Fish market. Honestly we have skipped the meat area. We have seen them all at Valladolid market. It gets quite intense. Chunk of half of the cow and everything else hanging by the hooks and blood dripping and all… But we were happy to find the fish section here which Valladolid market didn’t have one. Actually seafood were quite fresh. We got half a dozen blue crab and some shrimps to make Christmas dinner before we attended the Mesa at the Cathedral.
I didn’t write a separate blog about our experience at “Hacienda Ochil“;. But here I like to share a few photos of traditional Yucateca food we had at the hacienda. It was hearty and delicious at very reasonable price. Here the chopped fresh garnish for any Yucateca dishes: cilantro, white onion, red onion and radish. Below, Salsa tomate ( no it’s not spicy) and sauteed red onions ( really yummy and sweet)
Lunch at Hacienda Ochil. A casual buffet style here yet the quality is 4 star restaurant with friendly service. And it’s traditional cuisine you want to experience in one of the most beautiful setting.
Hard boiled turkey egg with turkey meatball in a black sauce. ( actually the texture of the eat ball was bit grainy and powdery like. I did not care for it but I tried at least), pork, osso bucco, chicken, rice, sauteed onion all other usual. But really hearty and authentic. Not your double fried beans you know!
Fried tortilla dough with pork meat inside.
The best tortilla that we ever had tasted. EVER! Hand made with Yucateca love! Warm, fresh aroma of corn and just perfect subtle bite to it. Not papery or chewy at all. The perfection. I usually don’t care for any tortilla, so this experience made me pretty much stop eating any other kinds. Snub!
OK, I got it all. Espresso, a shot of Tequila and Sangrita ( A perfect Tequila chaser. a shot of tomato juice and chili, It’s delicious. It tastes sort of like Bloody Mary but san alcohol). The Sangrita goes after the tequila. And the desert plate ranging Dried papaya with queso ( typical and traditional), Pan dulce ( kind of sugared french toast) and of course, flan. Take a better look at Sangrita!
Not all Haciendas are this rustic. But we thought it was one good way to dream about how it would have been in it’s shining era. There are many beautiful haciendas available to rent out by the room or even the entire property renovated in fanciest way. They are drop dead gorgeous yet who knows how it had changed from the original condition and details.
The Ceiba tree of Mayan: The largest tree of the Central America beloved by Bats and Harpie eagles. They are gorgeous!
It’s so great to know where things come from. When we stopped by at the local bakery shop after the visit to Ochil and saw those bread, it all made sense. The Ceiba bread!! and below the turtle…
Yes , they are Churros!!!. Hot, Crispy and Swweeeet!! You can really taste the potato. The Churro man told me he uses red potato flower.
An awesome vintage photo we found at the small flea market at Parque de Santa Lucia on Sunday, Merida. This must have been carneballe back in the days somewhere in Mexico. Fantastic costumes and make ups!
I had bit of hard time ot pick out a few photos here out of millions of pictures from millions of moments at Yucatan.
The last picture above will be an anecdote of our new interest in "Ex Voto", especially in religious small paintings done by everyday people. They are fun, naive, shocking and amazing.
Hope you got to taste little bit of it. If you have any question and need more info about specific thing, drop me an email, I can help you.