Sure, we were keen to use it as a base to get to Uxmal in any case, but when our Lonely Planet guidebook listed it amongst their ’25 Top Experiences’, our hopes (and probably expectations) lifted.
After a few hours on the bus from Campeche, we were dropped at the 1st class bus terminal (to avoid confusion, it’s across the road from the 2nd class terminal) and started the now ritual couple of kilometre walk to our hostel, Nomadas.
At check-in we noticed they were running a cooking class at 17:00 that same day, and at $25.00 pesos, it was too good to pass up.
There was only one place left in the class, but they said it was fine for us both to participate and share the fruits of our labours.
At the hostels rear sat what was, after our tiring walk from the bus station, a very appealing looking pool, however part two of our ritual beckoned, the pursuit of yet another late lunch after yet another lengthy bus trip (for the record, just up the road we found some prawn tacos)!
Now it was time to wander, and with plans to visit the ruins at Uxmal the following morning, this was our time to do so.
We’d spied a church spire distant, but once again it was that time of day when the siesta rules, so our chances of entering were ultimately foiled.
With that plan foiled, we wandered further, eventually finding ourselves within the Palacio Gobierno (which we realised was featured in our guidebook) which was okay, but lets be honest here, we’ve seen a lot sporting this same basic layout, and this was a long way from the best of them!
There was at least one gem however that this city did throw our way.
On the edge of the centro historicos main plaza sat an aged building with a pretty cool facade. Photos within were forbidden, however this turned out to a former home, the wonderfully named, Casa de Montejo.
Not only was it winning our hearts with its air conditioned coolness (a blessing in the stifling heat), it was also still incredibly decorated with the former residents furnishings, but it certainly wowed us with the ceilings (decorated in beautiful wood).
That heat prompted another plan of ours, and before long we were back at the hostel with some beers chilling in the fridge and a cooking class in the next hour or so.
In an amusing turn, we also ran into Georgia, one of the backpackers we’d met first in San Cristobal and later Palenque, as she too was participating in the class before grabbing a bus on to Valladolid.
Just minutes (seriously) before the class was to begin, so did the rains…
This shower was intense!
So much so that the beginning of the cooking class coincided with the slow rise of the water level outside.
Before long, the waters were flowing inside the kitchen, where our chef/tutor Daniel admirably soldiered on whilst we were grateful to be in such close proximity to our beers!
It was a pretty enjoyable cooking session as we made Potato & Chorizo Empanadas with a Napales (Cactus) Salad. Even shared between us it made three very sizeable pockets of flavour.
Still, after knocking back a few beers, time did pass and our meal, though satisfying, was in hindsight perhaps a little too small to keep our appetites sated.
So we hit the streets again to see what we could find, Sarah finding herself a couple of options before I settled on some Gorditas.
Her first selection, I thought a bit odd, but she loved it, a sweetish waffle, filled with Edam cheese and rolled up.
Her second, something I think she’s often secretly, and on occasion not so secretly coveted, a hotdog from a Mexican street vendor.
This beauty came wrapped in bacon and covered with, as Jeff Probst is want to say, ‘All the fixins’.
But for some brief time when we grabbed some lunch and our bags on our return from Uxmal (you can read about it next), that is pretty much all Merida threw at us.
There was a sneak peek at a cultural dance that looked pretty cool as we enjoyed what could be our last Elote Helados (corn icecream) in the main plaza, although it too turned a little sour as it turned into a few musical numbers from the Disney movie Frozen…
* At $25.00 pesos per person, the cooking classes run by Nomadas Hostel are exceptional value (and for one person, would have been amply filling as well).
* Somewhat conveniently for the budget traveler, both the 1st & 2nd class bus terminals sit next to each other (on opposite sides of the road), about a 2km walk from the Centro Historico.