My Virtual Vacation Day 18—Roma

We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop is The Eternal City, Rome.

Rome is too big for one post so there may be others. We spent 5 days there and it was not nearly enough time. We used the “City Hopper” bus to get around but still walked close to five miles each day.

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Roman Fountains

Roman Fountains

My Virtual Vacation Day 17—Heidelberg

We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop is Heidelberg in Germany.

Another wonderful stop along the Rhine River in Germany. Fantastic architecture is everywhere and you could spend a whole day in the partially restored ruins of the castle that overlooks the river. The city has an amazing history, great museums and a nice shopping and restaurant area.

Heidelberg Sculpture

Heidelberg Ruins

Heidelberg Germany

Jardin Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin

If you rent a car and drive about 45 minutes south of Cancún you will come to the wonderful little town of Puerto Morales. More on that in the future. Outside of the town off the highway is a hard to find botanical garden Jardin Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin It is a fascinating visit and stroll through the Jungle.

It is not an easy hike, the ground is quite uneven in spots and you either have to cross a suspension bridge or hike up a steep hill. Well worth it though. There is allegedly a lot of wildlife but we only saw birds. Of course there were some ruins but also examples of how ancient Mayan’s lived. Inexpensive, uncrowded and very unique. Bring bug spray, it is the Jungle!

These grass roof structures were part of family living. There were three or four adjacent to each other. One had a chimney structure where the family cooked and ate, kind of a Mayan great room.Others were used for sleeping and storage. This is how the common people lived. In Tulum and Chichen Itsa you can see the ruins of stone dwellings were the rulers and elite lived.

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Mayan House

Mayan Housing

The Squirrels of Quintana Roo

During our second walk through the Jungle on this Mexican Odyssey my wife noted that we had never seen a squirrel in the Yucatan. I think she is right although I am no expert. What you do see, almost as much as you would see squirrels, are Iguanas

They are not nearly as annoying. They don’t run around like crazy irritating every dog on the planet. They don’t throw crap at you when you are setting up a tent. They have mystique because thanks to Ray Harryhausen we think of them as dinosaurs and for some reason we all love dinosaurs.

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The Squirrels of Quintana Roo

Tulum Wildflowers

These could be weeds for all I know but I found the colors to be striking especially against the rocks of ancient ruins. The ruins are in Tulum Mexico in the state of Quintanna Roo. I love visiting Mayan ruins in Mexico, it brings out my inner Indiana Jones.

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Tulum Wild Flowers

Mayan Dragon

The Mayan Museum in Cancún Mexico is divided in to two parts. There is an archaeological site with jungle ruins and some simulations of Mayan life. The interior of the museum has exhibits of Mayan culture and examples of artwork and crafts.

This colorful dragon was situated on the ground floor near the entrance to the ruins.

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Mayan Dragon

Beach Ride

The beaches near Tulum and shielded by a barrier reef. The Caribbean waves here are gentle and perfect for snorkeling,swimming, sand castles and when the tide is out, a beach bike ride, with a friend.

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Beach Ride

Tulum Panorama

Last year I published some images from Tulum. Tulum is the last Mayan city constructed before the Spanish invasion and conquest of Mexico. It was constructed on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in what is now the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

The city was constructed along the cliffs overlooking the Caribbean and served as a port for other Mayan cities like Coba which was the de facto capital of the Mayan Empire. The ruins are fun to visit because afterwards you can swim in the mild Caribbean waters sheltered by a large reef providing gentle waves and pure white sand. It is not as large a site as Chicha Itsa but maybe more beautiful because of the sea.

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Tulum Panorama

Yet Another Mexican Sunset

Depending on your location in Quintana Roo you will either get beautiful sunrises or sunsets. Our condo faces the East and I am sure at 5:30 there were beautiful sunrises. However, at sunset we would travel to the docks to catch an amazing colorful end to our day. This is just an average sunset but still better than none.

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Mexican Sunset

Mexican Sunset

Mexican Doorknob

Last December we spent a week in Mexico in Quintana Roo but it was not quite enough time. This year we are going for thirteen days and looking forward to exploring different ruins, the same beach and also Isla Mujeres. It’s not just the weather, it is the cultural difference between our countries that makes it extra fun. This is a doorknob for example.

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Mexican Doorknob

Mexican Doorknob