Mayan pyramid duel – Chichen Itza vs. Coba.

Ancient Mayan sites are scattered over rather a wide territory, covering parts of what are today Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. But if you want things narrowed down to just former cities with pyramids, the internet obliges – in competing ways; for example:

10 Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples
13 Most Beautiful Ancient Mayan Temples

On our three-day car-based excursion around Yucatan, besides Coba, we also made a visit to the famous Chichen Itza, including its centerpiece, El Castillo, aka the Temple of Kukulcan. Have a read of what that link takes you to – especially about the steps and the platform (=365), and about the ‘snake’ that slithers down the pyramid on an equinox.

The Maya were masters of astronomy and light-and-shade-architectural effects, but there was no equinox while we were there, so no snake. Still, this was just as well since the serpent attracts huge crowds, which I can’t be doing with.

We were there early morning; accordingly – very quiet.

Frontal view:

Read on…

Coba: My-oh-Maya!

Sometimes I regret not being a historian. I mean – to study different, unusual cultures, for example the central-American ancient Mayan one, and to do it as a job, not a hobby… – sounds ideal!

Now, the Mayans existed for 3000 years! They invented their own writing system, were advanced astronomers, mathematicians and architects, but then, for some unknown reason, they died out completely – around 400 years ago. They never got round to creating a single state, yet ruins of more than a thousand towns remain to this day, scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula and further south into Central America. The number of temples and pyramids is off the scale. And talking of temples and pyramids, that’s where we were headed early morning (since all architectural places-of-interest in the region open at 8am every day) on the second day of our three-dayer in Mexico recently (but we’d have been up at crack of dawn anyway for, as usual, we wanted to see as much as we possibly could – plus it would be uncomfortably hot if we’d have left it till later).

First up for us – the ancient city of Coba, whose ruins cover a large territory, and whose main pyramid is the tallest of all Mayan pyramids, at 42 meters. What the pyramid may have been called by the Mayans themselves nobody knows, but today it goes by the name Ixmoja.

Read on…

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Yucatan 2019.

After a spot of business in Cancun (for the last time!), we rented a car and headed off toward Yucatán cenotes and Mayan pyramids. I’d been here plenty of times before, but for some reason only got as far as this here trinity of toursims: the ancient city of Chichen Itza, the ‘classic’ cenote Ik Kil, and the Rio Secreto underground river.

Since there are a great many cenotes and pyramids here, we carefully studied the internet first – determined which we still hadn’t seen but really should, and off we popped…

Read on…

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The Yucatán tales: road trippin’ and accommodation.

To conclude my Yucatán tales, I’ll tell you a bit more about my time on the road and the day-to-day experiences. The roads are actually not bad here, especially the highways heading south from Cancún along the coast and those heading west across the entire peninsula. The north Yucatán route is pretty good, with an excellent toll road (and not that expensive) with almost no exit ramps. There’s also practically no traffic and no filling stations :) The road heading south along the east coast is not bad either, but we hit a few traffic jams along the way. On the upside, it’s free, the road surface is smooth and there are lots of signs, so there’s little chance of getting lost:

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Two twin Tibetan lakes – one dead, one alive.

There are many sacred, holy places in Tibet. No – very many. So it won’t come as a big surprise that after completing our kora-round-Kailash, not far from it is the next holy place – Lake Manasarovar, aka Mapam Yumtso, aka Manas Sarovar, a place of deference and worship for several religions, and around which are regularly performed (can you guess? Oh go on!…) koras! Oh – and the water in the lake: not to be touched!…

And next to this holy lake – another! Lake Rakshastal, aka Ravan Tal, aka Langa Tso.

And next to it – another holy place: another monastery – up on the hill:

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A three-day kora around Kailash.

Hi folks!

After a sound, albeit short night’s sleep after two intense days on the road getting here, it was finally the morning of the day of the first leg of our kora around Mount Kailash. ~20 kilometers of trekking was on the menu for us this day, with a rise of ~350 meters in altitude (from ~4700 to 5000+). We were walking from dawn till dusk, which translates into around nine hours! Yes – more tourism until you drop: just as we like it ).

Our objective for the first day: to get a sighting of the northern slopes of Kailash from the direction of Dirapuk Monastery.

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The long road to Mount Kailash.

Hi folks!

It was farewell Everest, and we were headed toward the sacred (in four religions!) Mount Kailash, which was to take us a full two (!) days. The route was as follows:

As you can see, we covered nearly 800 kilometers, which worked out at around 12 hours of driving. The views to be seen to both the left and the right along the full route were fantastic, but all the same, 12 hours – ouch!
Read on:…