Kim and Damien's 12 month Odyssey, 2005 travel blog

El Castillo (pyramid of Kululcan)

Kim making her way down the steep stairs of El Castillo

Detail of Gran Juego de Pelota (the sports ground)

Detail of Platforma de los Craneos (platform of the skulls)

El Caracol (observatory)

Kim exploring Edificio de las Monjas (nunnery)

Detail of the Nunnery and Church

The Inglesia (church)

Nunnery

A serpent head at the base of a temple

Templo de los Guerreros (temple of the warriors)

Grupo de las Mil Columnas

El Mercado

Detail of Platforma de Venus


22.08

(DM) We got moving early this morning and caught the first bus to Chichen Itza that departed on time at 7:15am. We arrived right on time as the gates opened at 8am.

It was a glorious clear and sunny day today so after the overcast conditions of the last two days it was welcomed. The heat and crowds at Chichen are as famous as the fantastic ruins of the site so arriving early was key. Our expections were not high like they were for Tikal, so as we walked in the direction of the El Castillo our moods were very positive and relaxed.

El Castillo is the most famous and popular of the temples at Chichen. It is actually the Mayan calender formed in stone. The terraces, levels, steps and facades all represent the days, months and years of the calender that is numbered the same as the modern calender at 365 days. The temple is very steep climb to the top. Kim didn't enjoy the descend.

We made our way next to my favourte ruins at the site which were the great ball court. Being the huge sport fan that I am it was really cool to walk around this area. The importance of the sport is clear with temples built at either end of the field. The ball game was taken very seriously by the Mayans who used it to settle wars and disputes. The captain took on more responsibility then his present day counterparts as it was the job of the losing captain to be sacrificed (usually deheaded). The ball was thrown or hit through one of two stone rings placed high on towering parallel walls.

The best thing about Chichen Itza for us was the variety in the architecture that we witnessed. Each of the different plazas and building groups were very different to each other. One explanation is that the Toltecs also lived at Chichen and made a mix of styles between the two.

The morning was enjoyed taking in all of the ruins. Kim's favourite area was the nunnery where the buildings had amazing carvings of one particular god that had a big nose. By 11am the crowds had taken over and the heat added to the discomfort. The number of hawkers and vendors lining the walkways was also a little off putting. We were ready to leave at 12:30pm when we caught the bus back to Valladolid.

Chichen Itza was a very pleasant surprise. We both had a great morning and enjoyed looking at a different style in the architecture of the Mayan.

The heat of the morning had taken it out of us and the afternoon was spent under the fan. After dinner we met a British lad named Sid who will be moving to Brisbane next month. He produced 2 bottles of Mexican red wine and we sat up and gave him the lowdown on Vegas while he filled us in of Egypt and Jordon. The wine was a great change and went down a treat. Thanks for the shout Sid.

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