Starting at 7 AM (approximately!) Yours Truly picked up the folks from Chicago and left the Cascadas Bed and Breakfast to begin another great Yucatan adventure kind of day.
First stop? The LawsonMobile trunk. The what? The trunk. Yes, because that's where - besides the cooler with the requisite refreshments - the fresh, hot coffee, milk and sugar was and there's nothing like a good cup of coffee when you're off to an early start.
From downtown, we proceeded to the town of Uman, where we peeked at the monumental church there and stopped at the market to take photos and buy some local sweet rolls and assorted bread items for breakfast.
Then it was a straight drive through to Uxmal,where we arrived at 8:30 and found not a single car in the parking lot. Amazing. The Chicago folks almost had the entire site to themselves and found the ruins fascinating and guide service from Daniel excellent.
With the temperature starting to climb, we drove on to the Mayan ruins of Labná, where we stopped for a moment. I was amazed to see the ruins on the OTHER side of the road which were only partially visible before; now, someone has taken the time to chop down every tree on that pyramid and the area around it and you can appreciate the enormity of what could be rebuilt there. There is not one single decorated stone however; they have all been pilfered, either officially or unofficially, I suspect.
After Labná, a brief stop at Sayil and then that was enough and so we continued on over the hilly back roads to LolTun, where we arrived just in time to enjoy the guided tour (in English) along with a young couple from Germany. The guide was interesting, but not nearly as clear-spoken or informative as the guide Yours Truly had at the Grutas de Garcia cave in Monterrey just a little while ago. It was interesting for me to compare both the guide service as well as the caves themselves (Grutas de Garcia vs. LolTun) which, while some might argue that a cave is a cave is a cave, are quite different in their size, rock formations and the actual route one takes through them.
Emerging into the May Yucatan heat from the cool, dark cave below, the next stop was definitely lunch. Of course, that was had at the Principe Tutul Xiu restaurant in Maní. Great as ever, the Chicago folks enjoyed their meal - Poc Chuc and Queso Relleno - and we rolled out of there to take some photos of the convent - closed of course, as it always seems to be. You would think that if the tourism people were promoting a 'Convent Route' there would be an effort made to actually have the damn things open to the public most of the day.
Chumayel and the restored altar etc. was the next stop but of course it was also closed.
From there, and after a long day, we headed back to Merida, stopping only twice; the first stop was at a 'tamales' stand where I bought some tamales wrapped in banana leaves at a remarkable 15 pesos (make one of those yourself for 15 pesos!) and then a second stop for fresh pineapples at a roadside stand featuring a young woman with her two little kids who were busy playing and doing their homework on the side of the highway.