Today: Merida to Campeche
This morning we were off to our next destination, Campeche, in the like-named Campeche state of Mexico. We chose to stay there on the way to Palenque to visit the ruins mostly to break up the trip into manageable-length bus segments, not because we had any burning desire to visit the city. And that was too bad, as it turned out to be a really, really nice place, and we only had one night to enjoy it. (We would later have another night there on our return trip, but we hadn't planned that all out at the time.)
Larry, our host at La Casa Lorenzo, gave us a ride to the ADO bus terminal in Merida as he was heading downtown to a hardware store that morning. The ride was helpful as we knew we had a fairly long walk to the hotel from the Campeche ADO station, and the less we have to walk with our heavy packs, the better.
Merida CAME (first-class) bus station
Waiting for the bus
Our bus -- this time a regular first-class ADO
On this leg of the trip we noticed how similar the Mexican highways look to US interstates in places, right down to the blue service signs. We had great seats right in the front of the bus, so Barry was able to get some good shots out the window. We really enjoyed being able to see where we were going.
Almost forgot we were in Mexico!
Except that the speed limit is in kilometers per hour...
And there is the little matter of traffic stops. These exist when leaving one state and entering another, and sometimes at other places in between. The buses always seemed to get sent right through, but there were indeed police with machine guns at the stops.
Very friendly sign
Entering Campeche town...
And here we are at the bus station.
"Welcome to Campeche"
I went ahead and bought our tickets for the next day. One thing we found is that very few if any of the ADO employees spoke any English, but I had figured out in advance how to order tickets (boletos) in Spanish. And they had me type in our names so there would be no confusion or spelling errors.
We had a long (approximately 2 mile) walk from the bus station to Campeche centro, where our hotel was. It was a hot day and rather windy, so I had to hold onto my hat!
Below is a large store we saw in several cities in Mexico. Turns out they are affiliated with Wal-Mart. Also note the VW Beetle nearby, not in very good shape. By the way, a reader informed me after a previous mention of the ubiquitous "Bugs" in Mexico that there was actually one last remaining VW Beetle manufacturing plant in Mexico. However, this article
indicates that production stopped there in 2003. Still, they were produced in Mexico for much longer than elsewhere, so there's no wonder we saw so many!
There was a LOT of traffic to dodge as we made our way to Centro
Finally, the sign we'd been waiting for!
Several segments of the wall around the centro historico portion of the city remain -- I believe this is the longest portion. We had to walk a ways to the east to find a way to cut through the wall into centro.
Aha, here is the way!
Once on the other side of the wall, I wondered if we had suddenly entered Disneyland! Campeche centro was so colorful, clean, and tidy, it almost didn't look real. Apparently the government has really put a lot of time and effort into restoration and beautifying the colonial buildings, at least the facades. I loved all the pretty colors!
Is this for real?
Since our hotel was still quite a bit farther, almost all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, we stopped off for a late lunch. More on that in the food post, but in the meantime, I liked this photo Barry took of our packs. Yes, we traveled with just this for sixteen days! We did have to wash out a few things, of course -- thus is the beauty of quick-dry clothing.
We finally located our hotel, and it was absolutely charming. Although I had booked it based on Tripadvisor reviews, I couldn't remember what it looked like so was delighted to see how lovely it was. One of my very favorite colors too!
Here are some inside views. So incredibly pretty!
Our upstairs, courtyard-facing room was huge with HIGH ceilings
Heading out to eat dinner
A view of the other side of the hotel close to sunset
Stay tuned for much more from Campeche!