Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The jungle ruins of Palenque

After leaving Merida, we travelled back back and into the jungle once more to spend time at the ruins of Palenque. Like Tikal, the forest has moved back in to the once cleared site, creating that always romantic atmosphere of nature gently reclaiming what it rightfully hers. The setting of Palenque is particularly lovely, cut through by a stream that leads eventually to a gushing waterfall, and the common heavy downpours result in lush greens and springy grass.

The wonderful thing about Mayan sites is that every single one is different from the others. Although there are common themes running through as you might expect, each is distinct in shapes, sizes and focal points. In addition to this, whereas most places we'd visited had one or two areas you could climb, with others definitely off-limits, Palenque was pretty much a free for all, with visitors allowed up and inside most structures. This offered a different experience, and the opportunity to examine multiple carvings and viewpoints, although the wear caused by thousands of feet everyday is evident around the site.

The waterfall towards the end was especially beautiful, the base pool looking so appealing in the heavy heat. But our good luck with weather had run out, and by mid afternoon the skies opened and emptied a never-ending stream of rain onto the streets. Unfortunately, we had to catch an overnight bus to Mexico City that evening, which resulted in ourselves and our luggage getting extremely wet. It was an uncomfortable and soggy journey as we finally said good bye to the land of the Mayas, beginning three countries ago, and entered the realm of the Aztecs.


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