Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico Today we were finally able to do the trip originally scheduled for Monday, postponed to Tuesday and finally accomplished on Friday although again without Jim who was still on the disabled list. Chichén Itzá was a Mayan city from 525, when it was founded, to 1100 AD. Its name means "mouth of the well of the Itzá" in reference to the sacred cenote, entrance to the world of the gods. The city controlled the salt works and trading ports and was very powerful. The temple is the main building of the city. Its structure shows knowledge of the Maya of mathematics, astronomy, geometry and acoustics. Its perfect symmetry represents the Mayan calendar: 18 bodies (the number of months, 20 days each) and 365 steps (days of the year), 5 of which were considered disastrous. Snake heads are at the foot of the steps of the pyramid of Kukulcán, which means plumed serpent. The Observatory has an astronomical function - the openings of its walls were oriented towards Venus and other stars. The observations made were very accurate. We also saw the Temple of the Warriors, with an impressive group of 1000 columns, the ball court and the Tzompantli. The ball court is the largest and best preserved in the entire Mesoamerican territory. The game was a religious ritual and the winner's reward was to be sacrificed to the gods. The Tzompantli is a platform where the heads of enemies were nailed. The wall shows reliefs of skulls and eagles that devour hearts. After Chichen Itza we went to an underground cenote at Hubiku. A cenote is a sinkhole. There are over 6,000 in the Yucatan Peninsula. 115 steps led us down to the brisk 64 degree water. Needless to say, after we finally sacrificed our bodies and threw ourselves in, our "swim" was short-lived! After lunch we finished the day with a stop at another Mayan Ruins - Ek'Balam settled in 100 BC. Unlike at Chichen Itza, here we were able to climb whatever we wanted. We were really foolish to want to climb but we did anyway. We started with the Acropolis. The limestone blocks that make up the steps are quite steep, uneven, and inconsistently sized with no railings of any kind. Up was scary but not quite as bad as down - REALLY scary! Although tourists sometimes do get hurt, we all made it just fine. It was our favorite part of our very long day!