We drove from Palenque to Campeche to stay at Club Nautico a short way from Campeche. This was a wonderful beach club with a trailer park attached. However we were the only people there. It had an amazing swimming pool overlooking the sea with the pelicans flying and bobbing around. It just seemed strange that it was so deserted. Perhaps it was because it was midweek.
One downside was that it was about 10kms outside Campeche and down a long private road so we were not able to catch a taxi or public transport into town. Having inadvertently driven through some Mexican towns I was not keen to drive the truck into the centre. Then Gilly came up with a great idea, park the truck at the airport just outside town and catch a taxi in and out. That what we did and it worked out great.
Campeche is a lovely little colonial town on the coast. It was fortified to protect it from pirate attacks and some of the walls are still standing. It has been recognised as a world heritage sight and the houses on the streets are painted in bright pastel shades. We had a lovely walk round as well as stopping for a lunch of Yucatan specialities. The cuisine in the Yucutan is different to other parts of Mexico, the food is just so varied here.
On returning to the truck we noticed that a stone had pierced the front tyre and part was still bedded in. Whilst the tyre had not gone down we thought it was probably prudent to change the wheels and put one of the spare wheels on. So the next day we were on the look out for a tyre change place and came across a hut beside the road with lots of tyres and a few small trucks on jacks. We stopped and explained our problem. Whilst the owner of the “garage” said the tyre would probably be ok we agreed to change the wheel. This was all done in 30 minutes and we were feeling pleased with ourselves. However when we pulled away something was obviously catching on the new wheel. We discovered this to be the valve which was positioned differently to on the other wheels on the truck. So back to the “garage”. Off came the wheel and the valve was catching on the brake disc cover. This was annoying as this was the extra spare wheel we had bought from MAN and it didn’t fit! The solution was to take the new tyre off the bad wheel and put it on the old wheel and then put the old tyre on the bad wheel. Anyway after 2 hours we were on our way and we still have a good spare on the back. The guys fitting the tyres were very friendly and took a number of photos of us and the truck and the total cost for all this work including tip was 30 dollars! Much easier than doing it all myself.
Despite having to do the tyre change we still reached our next stop at Uxmal in time for lunch. Here we camped right next to the ruins on a grassy patch next to the car park. Whilst there are no real facilities, they let you camp there for only a small fee. This meant we were able to visit the sound and light show in the evening. Alisha and Lucy did not like the noise and to be honest it was a bit boring but the ruins did look good in the lights.
Uxmal is one of the most important Mayan ruins and has some of the best decorations and carvings. It was in its heyday in about 900AD but was then abandoned. The main restored ruins are a temple, the nuns courtyard and the giant pyramid.
After Uxmal we drove the short distance to Merida where we camped in a large RV campground (virtually deserted again). The campground was next to an upmarket shopping gallery called “Liverpool” of all names. We headed off to the shops as it had been ages since we had been in such a place and took the opportunity for all of us to have our haircut. Alisha and Lucy were then excited to see a running sushi restaurant like the one they loved in Prague, so it was sushi for tea.
The next day we headed into the centre of Merida. Merida is the capital of the Yucutan and as such it has all the hallmarks of a city established following the Spanish conquest. A Cathedral, main square and government buildings around the square. The area is also famous for sisal and the people who became rich with this trade built grand mansions on a large boulevard in town.