Saturday, January 08, 2011 7:03 PM
Travels in the Yucatan - Merida Day 1
We have been to Merida several times in the six years that we have lived in Mexico. One of Cole's annual Tae Kwon Do tournaments is hosted here and we are looking forward Birdie's first qualifying horse show that will take place at the Hipico del Sureste at the end of March. It's a great city and I am enjoying it now more than ever. We are here on a recon mission, looking for investment properties for ourselves and for buyers looking to expand their portfolios, so it's not as much of vacation as I might like. Still, the kids are coming with us so we will be looking for opportunities for fun when we are not picking our way through old colonial ruins.
As always, we are taking the route south through Tulum and then up to Valladolid before heading west to Merida. The road is now smooth and fast and the connection with the Merida cuota is well marked. We particularly enjoy seeing all the new shops and restaurants that have sprung up between Tulum and Coba. It sure has changed in the past six years!
PEMEX cracking down on scamming attendants!
Current cuota fares from Valladolid to Merida
While we usually stay at Luz en Yucatan, our very favorite small hotel in Merida, we decided to treat ourselves this time and rent a house and give ourselves some room to spread out a bit. We are spending nearly a week in the city so personal space will be important. Rob selected Casa Esplendida, a sprawling four bedroom colonial located just across the street from the Merida English Language Library, in a super neighborhood that seems to be a haven for Merida expats. The house was fully refurbished about a year ago and is a perfect place to call home base as we explore the city. Perfectly situated within a ten minute walk of both the Gran Plaza and the south end of Paseo Montejo, we couldn't be in a better spot.
Day 1 was a travel day and we did little more than arrive, check in, get settled and wander into the main square for a stroll and some dinner. Touristy but always good, we chose Pancho's for our first meal. Rob had never been before but the kids and I gave Pancho's two (or rather three) thumbs up when we were last here at the end of October. Pancho's did not disappoint despite being jam packed with (primarily gringo) tourists, like ourselves. The kids both enjoyed the arrachera quesadillas while the grown ups devoured a salad of octopus, avocado and arugula and the pate rustico followed by a beautiful piece of sea bass served with wilted spinach and rice in a mild chile sauce and, for Rob, the cowboy steak with a serrano chile sauce and mashed sweet potatoes. Delicious. I would be remiss if I did not mention that the service at Pancho's is perhaps the best I have received anywhere in Mexico. I am looking forward to trying either Trotters or La Tratto, the other two venues in the renowned restaurant group headed by Paul Trotter.
Birdie enjoying the steak quesadilla
Mayan Coffee - Always a crowd pleaser!
After dinner, we took a stroll to the Gran Plaza to check out what festivities might be going on. On the south west corner a stage had been erected and several thousand people were seated and waiting for some sort of convert to commence. I would love to say we decided to move on because the kids were tired but, in reality, it was the grown ups who couldn't hang. ;)
In the north east corner by the cathedral another stage held a dozen or so Municipal VIPs backed by a large screen. The city's accomplishments of the year were being announced and celebrated followed by a brief fireworks display. Good timing on our part! The kids grabbed some marquesitas for dessert and Rob and I sat in the park and enjoyed an after dinner coffee, a quiet end to our first day in the city. Tomorrow is jam packed full of buildings to tour. Curious about what we will find....
Must finish the night with Marquesitas....
and coffee at Peon Conteras.
Go to: Day 2 - Exploring Colonial Ruins