The Magic of Tulum is not something I will forget for a long time to come, but the day had arrived that I was to move on to a new town: Valladolid. Having spent 5 nights in Tulum, I can say I experienced its endless charm. Bike riding around Tulum’s town and to the ruins and beach, taking day trips to both Cobá’s Mayan Ruins and nearby Akumal by Colectivo for some snorkeling with the Sea Turtles,
tantalizing my palette with a variety of MEXICAN FOODS (mostly at the Oaxacan Place that I stumbled upon and frequented for their delicious vegetarian sopes and quesadillas filled with Rajas), burning my tongue to satisfaction with habanero and other salsas picantes/spicy salsas, finding the Natural Juice Bar YA’AX TULUM (that locally sources fruits and veggies from surrounding Mayan communities) and chatting with Armando the owner kept me quite busy. You must visit and order EVERYTHING at YA’AX (they have such Healthy Food and yummy drink varieties). If you do visit, tell Armando that Ariana from California says HELLO / Si visites, saluda a Armando y dile HOLA de parte de Ariana de California…
I really can go on and on about all the little things I loved about Tulum, but it was time to see a new place, a colonial town in the state of Yucatán. VALLADOLID (pronounced VA-YA-DO-LID), just an hour and a half bus ride by ADO bus (one way cost of 108 MX pesos) was my destination. I booked 2 nights at a hostel online, having heard only good things about the feel of the little town. Beautiful colonial buildings and an ancient Monastery/Convento draw visitors here, as does a Chocolate Museum for a bit of history and sinful indulgence. Proximity to several more Mayan Sites and cenotes makes Valladolid a perfect home base for several days, which is exactly how I rolled.
Arriving by ADO bus in the afternoon it was but a 5 minute walk to my Hostel Candelaria, convenient to say the least. I picked my bed in the hostel, met Odeya from Israel who was staying in the same room as me (we made plans to hang later in the evening) and I opted to wander the streets and soak in the obvious visual differences, as this was once a Spanish hub and colonial settlement founded in the 16th century. Wandering only about 15 minutes away, my feet took me straight into a neighborhood bar. Modelo Negra, HOLA old friend, it’s been too long.
Having been in México for about a week now and drinking in the late afternoon SOLA (by myself), it finally hit me: a moment of Loneliness. It didn’t matter that I had spent an amazing week in Tulum and had experienced transcendent things in such a short time, I am still Human and I was feeling a natural human emotion, one that comes when one feels a lack of human connection. In this moment, drinking a beer Sola in a bar (which coincidentally was empty at the time) I wished for someone, anyone to spend even a half hour with, to chat, to share some time.
Luckily the beer went down smoothly and by the time I finished it, the moment had passed. . . no tears necessary.
I walked the streets of Valladolid, camera in hand to capture the colorful streets in the setting sun . . . and what a beautiful evening it was.
Arriving back at la Candelaria, my hostelmate Odeya and I set off for the MUSEO de CACAO, called Fabrica de Chocolate Artesanal Chocol Haa. . . to get our CACAO ON! For those of you that don’t know, CACAO is the tree that grows seeds/beans that are then made into Chocolate. For the Mayans it was CHOCOL HAA, which was a hot drink made of Cacao. More bitter than sweet, the nobles enjoyed this drink with various spices. Cacao was the GOLD OF THE AMERICAS and to this day is one of our greatest gifts to the rest of the world. The Mayans were well aware of how special Cacao was hundreds (even thousands) of years ago. Eating/drinking Cacao was a sacred ceremony and Offerings had to be made to EK-CHUAH (the god of merchants, commerce, war, and now known as the patron of Cacao). Besides eating it, they also used the Cacao beans as a form of currency and for trade. They give a great free tour here describing the difficult process of making chocolate and they show the ancient tools used by the Mayans. What you don’t want to miss, of course, is the tasting part. Varieties of chocolate pieces (with honey, anis, crushed chili peppers, and many more combos of spices) are free to taste and enjoy. You get to taste them all, so I was quite a happy gal. Buy some to take back home with you or order CHOCOL HAA (the hot drink) or other chocolate drink varieties in their outdoor cafe. Here I ordered one of their specialties, a thick smooth chocolate you eat with a spoon. DELICIOUS. EXQUISITE. YUM. What else can I say about it? CHOCOLATE, can you imagine a world without it?
I can say that the best part of this experience was sharing it with my new friend Odeya (another strong Female also traveling Solo). They say “ask and you shall receive”… and I asked for company and there she appeared to share some time with. In other words, you can manifest what you want or need always. Believe this!
We talked about life, love, love lost, traveling, our love for México, & our families for hours. . . and I was grateful.
I was so very thankful for the time we shared, for that feeling of loneliness was now long gone. **Bonus, I made a new friend. And off then to bed, for it would be a BIG DAY at CHICHÉN ITZÁ.
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