Meredith and Chuck were wonderful travel companions. They showed a keen interest in everything they saw. I was extremely proud of how much my former student was speaking Spanish and understanding the language. And her husband was speaking and understanding quite well too. I hope that someday they come down with me to Mexico again.
As I write this Meredith and Chuck are on their way home to Wisconsin, and I am now in Mexico City. I´m spending a couple nights at Alejandro's house before going to the condo that I rent. I now have some time to devote to the blog, and I have a lot of catching up to do.
So let's go back to Thursday, our first full day in Mérida...
If you have been reading this blog for a couple years (the last time that I was in Mérida was in January of 2017) or if you have traveled with me to Mérida (Hi, Gail and Wes and Nancy and Fred!) you know that the first day is devoted to a tour of the city's main plaza.
But, of course, the first order of business was to have a hearty, Mexican breakfast. Prior to the trip I had been looking for new restaurants to try, and I discovered a place called "Huevos Motuleños y Más". "Huevos motuleños" are a typical breakfast dish of Yucatán and a favorite of mine, so of course we had to try it out. The restaurant is on the second floor of a building facing the Plaza of Santa Ana, a short walk from out hotel. The place was full of locals, and we ate al fresco on a small terrace at the rear. Our breakfasts were very good, and it is now on my list of breakfast places in Mérida.
My dish (at the bottom) is "huevos motuleños"... a tortilla topped with refried beans, a fried egg, peas, cubes of ham and a tomato sauce. Slices of fried bananas are served to the side.
After breakfast we headed to the town square.
As in so many Mexican cities, Mérida now has one of these name signs on the plaza. There is usually a line of visitors waiting to take a photo here, and it took a while to get this picture.
Our first stop was to go up to the balcony of the city hall for a nice view of the plaza.
Moving counterclockwise around the plaza, we next came to the Montejo House, one of the oldest structures in Mérida. Built in 1549, it was the home of Francisco Montejo, the conquistador of the Yucatán Peninsula. Today it is a museum with several rooms furnished with 19th century antiques.
The Cathedral, the oldest on the mainland of the Americas, was closed until later in the afternoon, so we decided that we could go inside another day.
Our last stop as we circled around the square, was the Government Palace, the headquarters of the government of the state of Yucatán. It was closed for an hour, so we decided to take a break nearby at "Sorbetería Colón", where we enjoyed tropical fruit flavored ice cream. The shop is a landmark that has been operating on the main plaza since 1907.
By the time we finished our ice cream, the Government Palace was open.
We went inside to see the mural paintings that were done in the 1970s by local artist Fernando Castro Pacheco. The murals are unusual in that they are not painted on the walls, but on enormous canvasses. They depict the history of the state of Yucatán, particularly the struggles of the Mayan people. They provided Meredith and Chuck with background on the history of this corner of Mexico.
More on Mérida to come...