I really loved my stay in Villadolid – so much so that I didn’t feel very ready to move to the next spot, where I am writing from. (Days later I’m adding photos to this post – I’m back in Villadolid for a night and fell immediately at home here! Strange how that can happen half way across the world).
I met some really cool people there, majority Australian, making my stay in the sleepy town really enjoyable. We swam in more cenotes – these ones much larger than the one in Tulum – both about 30m down from ground level and metres and metres deep (they think 50-70m). Cenotes are the most spectacular natural creation, particularly in areas shared with trees. Cenote Oxmal was surrounded by trees, some half- balancing on the edge of the sinkhole, their roots falling down into the pool below like waterfalls.
I wish I had taken photos of Oxmal and Zaci – but warnings about theft at swimming holes meant that I haven’t been taking my phone or camera with me. I’ll just have to remember them as a few wonderful, hot days.
I loved visiting the Casa de los Venados in Villadolid. A private house owned by wealthy American art collectors, they offer a daily tour of their house and art. Situated in the centre of the town, right beside the town square, the house has the least imposing front – you would never know the size (18000sq ft!) of the beautifully renovated house without entering. Their art is fantastic – they collect only Mexican works, mostly pottery, so full of colour and mythology. It was brilliant to see, and really insipired me to purchase a few things while I’m here. My backpack barely has room, and I need to be careful to buy unique, handmade works, but I would love to bring a few back home.
Mum will be interested to know that I went to the market in Villadolid (my favourite thing to do in every place I go), where an entire room was made up of independent butchery stalls. Mexicans are much more open, I think, about the source of their meat – they have the heads, organs, and sometimes whole animals on display in their shops. I think there’s such an issue when people eat meat without realising that it’s actually a dead animal – I believe that in order to eat more sustainably, people do need to realise. Mexico achieves this recognition unceremoniously.
On my last night in Villadolid we went to a fair that had popped up in town. It was my first ever carnival, and an interesting one at that! You enter by walking through what seems like endless lines of salesmen- kitchen cooking equipment, strange electronic goods, and shoes littering your path. When we got to the rides, they screeched so loudly we were all frightened off trying any. The highlight (or lowlight, whatever way you look at it) was the circus we saw. I don’t know if you can really call it that, as it was made up of 5 very basic gymnasts. Doing very basic flips and spins, there were points where it seemed like the performers were purposefully trying to be bad – but it dawned on us all that it wasn’t actually an act. Topping off the performance was a Thor lookalike, whose main skill appeared to be taking off his shirt and flying through the air on wires. Hilariously bad.