After two full days and three nights, it was time to hit the road again, heading north to Merida from Tulum. We'd be traveling to a different Mexican state today, from Quintana Roo to Yucatan.
We've neglected to include a map of our travels so far, so here is a map showing our route through Merida. We'll continue updating it as we travel along.
After breakfast, we headed to the Tulum ADO bus station, a very short walk.
The king of traveling light
Prepared for the air-conditioning in the bus
Today's journey was to be made on a "luxury class" bus called an ADO gl, which is pronounced, we found out from watching ads on the DVDs in the bus, like "ADO hell". Ha! It was much closer to heavenly than hellish, however. A very comfortable ride indeed. We were given free bottles of water, earbuds for listening to audio, and there were multiple DVD players playing American movies that were dubbed in Spanish. We discovered that with most movies, even speaking just a bit of Spanish, we were able to figure out enough of what was going on from the video to follow along.
Check out this beauty!
Quite an upgrade from the chicken buses of Belize!
Very luxurious! But I opened up the curtains to take in the sights, of course.
One of many DVD players
Unfortunately, this was to be our only ADO gl bus of the trip, though we didn't know it at the time. They just don't run that many routes, and most of them seem to run near Cancun. For the most part we were on regular first-class ADO buses from this point on, but they were still plenty nice, and a bit cheaper than the gl buses. There is a bus even more luxurious than the gl called the ADO Platinum, but we never even saw one that I recall. Wonder if they serve champagne and caviar?
The ride from Tulum to Merida was approximately three and half hours. The first thing we noticed when pulling into the Merida bus terminal was how huge it was. Merida is a much bigger city than Tulum; we felt like we had just arrived in New York City!
Merida, Mexico bus station
Merida bus station
Even though we had a good Merida map in hand, we found ourselves a bit disoriented as we hit the city streets until we figured out the street numbering. Odd-numbered streets run east and west, and even-numbered streets run north and south. Streets are marked on each corner, making the Centro portion of Merida easy to negotiate once you know where are! And one thing was for sure -- we were not in Belize any more!
We gradually got ourselves oriented and pointed in the direction of the bed and breakfast where we'd be staying for the next three nights. It was about a two-mile hike north (though stil in the historic "Centro" area of Merida), but we'd be stopping for lunch part way to rest our shoulders. Carrying my pack definitely got a bit tiring, but catching a taxi takes all the adventure out of the journey, right!?
The big city - aka Merida
There were many parks along the way, so we stopped here for a rest and drink of water. All of Merida's parks are wi-fi enabled (though we didn't know it at the time), as well as many of the parks in other cities in Mexico. Very cool!
Checking the map
We didn't know where we'd stop for lunch, but a friendly man speaking English lured us into this cute "Margaritas Time" restaurant along the way with the promises of cold cervasas and good food at good prices, so we succumbed. The restaurant was pretty empty as Mexicans tend to eat lunch much later than Americans, and dinner too.
The lunch special of the day was just 50 pesos (approximately $4 US), which couldn't be beat, so that's what we had. Chicken, rice, and dessert were all included. The beers would cost us extra...but not much.
The friendly waiter took our photo.
These sauces were yummy -- spicy habenero and mild garlic cream.
The Pollo Pibil
was delicious -- falling off the bone. This is a very popular dish in the Yucatan (for pork as well as chicken) and is traditionally cooked in banana leaves.
Creme Caramel for dessert - yum. All this (plus chips and dipping sauces) for $4 is just crazy! But in a good way, for us.
Well-fortified, we were able to continue on our way to La Casa Lorenzo
, a bit north of downtown and on a quiet residential street. Perfect!
Our destination - La Casa Lorenzo
Stay tuned for much, much more on La Casa Lorenzo and Merida in the days to come!