I left Orizaba, chilly and damp, and arrived in the warm and lovely colonial city of Valladolid on December 22nd.   Valladolid was founded by the Spanish in 1545- sadly by razing a Mayan town to reuse the building materials.  It definitely has that old, new-world feel, with the narrow cobbled streets of the historic district and the brilliant colors of each building’s façade.  Just a few kilometers from Chichen Itza, many of the people there are obviously of Mayan descent, and quite a few times I heard guys on the street chatting in a mix of Spanish and Maya.  Like many Native American languages, its beautiful, breathy, musical quality captivates me.

When I arrived in the city it was early evening already, but the walk from the bus station to the hostel, Del Fraile, was just a couple of blocks.  I’d written the directions down this time, so no over-priced cabs!

I was immediately impressed with the hostel.  It’s one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen, and felt incredibly secure.  That combination is hard to find when hosteling.  I had my choice of beds, and picked a freestanding one instead of a bunk- another hostel rarity!  A shower, a short walk to find the first real meal I’d had in 24 hours, and I was pretty much ready to crash.

My second day in Valladolid was spent just wandering around, getting to know the city, eating real food, and taking photos.  Click the first one below to see the slide show!