Palenque…

December 31, 2010

More ruins?  Yes.  More ruins.  The Yucatan Peninsula is dotted with literally hundreds of ancient Mayan settlements, and we choose to visit some of the more well-known and sprawling.  This brings us to Palenque.  Outside the actual site, the nearby forest land is quite settled with cabanas and campgrounds full of fire spinners and Rainbow Gatherers giving the area a very hippy vibe.  It was not uncommon to hear trance music blasting around corners.

We set up our hammocks in a marshy field and planned our visit for the following day.  After a quick ride up to the entrance we negotiate leaving our bikes with the men at the gate (for a small fee) and take off to explore some of the most well-cared for ruins in the Yucatan.

 

Some very enthusiastic ducks we met along the way. They are but 3 weeks old...

Palenque spreads out over 15 square kilometers, but only this main section is excavated and cleared for viewing. The map helps to show just how much is going on around the center of the site...

Templo de la Calavera (Temple of the Skull) greets you as you enter the grounds. It's got a very cute but ominous bunny feel, as you can see...

At one time, the buildings were all painted very bright hues of blue and red...

From the rubble in the background you can see there is always some uncovering and discovery still in the process...

The layout as seen from the Templo de las Inscriptiones, which is noted as being perhaps the most celebrated burial monument in the Americas. It's also the tallest of the Palenque structures...

Eye-pleasing piles of rocks, really....

There are several waterfalls cascading from the flow of the Arroyo Otolum river...

... and plenty of dense forest to walk through. Though certainly not as old as the ruins, I find these tall works of nature much more interesting and appealing...

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