We left the jungles of Palenque and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico, entering flat lands on mostly good roads. We reached the gulf and took the road along the shore, passing lots of open land and a few extravagant houses on the beach. We stopped at a restaurant on the beach for a relaxing lunch, and some of the group went swimming—we went wading. Lovely warm water and beautiful blue/green sea next to the soft sands. Pretty nice!
After our break, we continued on along the coast to the city of Campeche. This is a very bustling city, and quite a contrast to the small towns, villages, jungle, and agriculture that we have been seeing the last several days. Campeche has been an important sea port for hundreds of years, and there was a real problem with pirates in the 1700’s, many of them privateers encouraged by England, Holland, France and others to disrupt Spanish shipping. We visited Fort San Miguel, one of the fortresses built to protect the harbor from the pirates. It is complete with moat, drawbridge and the original cannons. The rooms of the fort now contain a treasure trove of Mayan artifacts from various sites in the Yucatan.
We came into the heart of the old colonial city to find our hotel, and walked to the central square with the cathedral and arcades of shops on all sides. To my surprise I found a scrapbook store (pretty limited), and a fabric store (no quilt fabric). It was fun to see a new city and the local folks out enjoying themselves. Back in the room we had an unusual dinner….we ordered out for pizza!
It was very hot and humid today, but we had some rain this evening, so maybe that will clear the air. Our hotel was originally a military barracks in 1880, It has a lot of the original tile floors and beamed ceilings, which are lovely, but not as lovely as the air conditioning!
Tomorrow we visit one of the major Mayan cities at Uxmal (pronounced oosh-mal). We have a busy couple of days before the tour ends on Sunday, and we get a car for some relaxing days on our own.