We slept in after our late night out enjoying “Noche Blanca,” and awoke to a beautiful morning in Merida. Our morning plan was to walk around town and see some of the landmarks, and check out the Sunday market on the Plaza Grande. Our Gran Hotel is very pretty in the daylight with a little park right in front of it.
There were artisans set up around the park when we went out. The jewelry artisans had beautiful intricate designs at super reasonable prices. I ended up buying several pieces from them when we came back for Christmas presents and for me.
I bought two necklaces from the artist above, and the lady he is showing a piece bought one too. He had wood burned images onto antler and added wooden beads. I treasure my mermaid and hibiscus necklaces he made, and wear them all the time!
I loved the beaded skulls below – bead work takes so much time and patience, and these were awesome!
I bought two of the turquoise pieces in the below right photo and just love them!
We made our way towards the Plaza Grande, and there’s a really cool store that sells rocks, minerals, fossils and other curiosities.
Plaza Grande is just one block from the entrance of the Gran Hotel, so we couldn’t have picked a more central location for the event. La Catedral de Merida rises elegantly on one side of the Plaza GrandeAround the plaza…
A nativity scene was the central focus of the plaza for the holidays.
I love their Yucatan linens – such nice quality and colors. We met this local fellow in front of the church, and he gave us an extensive history lesson on the cathedral. He then led us to his shop in the side street next to the church to show us his merchandise. Of course he wanted us to buy something in exchange for his history knowledge, and his shop had nice items.
And then there’s the food vendors! So many divine smells and tastes! Where to start and end… you can get a snack, a drink or many meals.
The Cathedral of Merida – it was Sunday and the church was open and so beautiful! We wanted to see what was in the museum where we had listened to the music in the courtyard the night before. We followed this lady across the street to it.
The Museo Casa Montego of Merida is a 16th century building and now houses a museum and bank. It’s filled with AMAZING antiques and rotating art exhibits, and it’s free to tour so be sure and stop by! Learn more at: http://yucatantoday.com/museo-casa-montejo/?lang=en
Lunch was next on the agenda, and we had heard that La Chaya Maya was the place for good authentic Yucatan food (the fellow that gave us the cathedral history tour recommended it). It was a short walk from the Plaza Grande, and when we walked inside, we loved their open air dining area and garden.
This lovely lady was making tortillas and the servers would pick up finished ones and put them in gourds to take to tables.
I just love their garden area! Time to decide what to order, and there are so many yummy looking dishes that we’ve never eaten before, so we ordered a variety. We’ve been visiting Tulum, Mexico for around 15 years, but this food is different – and soooo good! Check out their menu on their website and learn more at http://www.lachayamaya.com/index2.html
Oh my goodness… time to do some more walking to work that off. So good! We’re going to try them for breakfast and maybe dinner next time! There was a little market set up on the Parque Santa Lucia so we browsed the vendors and I bought a few of these tortilla baskets. I discovered when we got home that the tall basket is perfect to keep coffee filters in.
Loved this powder blue building… That weekend was also the pilgrimage of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and we saw bikers and runners everywhere during our drives.
We took a late afternoon drive to Progresso to check out the beach there. I have to say this is the first Mexican beach I was disappointed in – not sure if it had been stormy or what, but the water was brown and the beach covered in debris and sea grass. I hope this isn’t the normal, but we’ll skip it next time. A side note – there was a police check point as you leave the town and get back on the main highway, so I would advise a designated driver. They were very nice and polite, and Wally passed his breathalyzer test and they sent us on our way laughing at us.
We rounded out the night with dinner at La Tratto Santa Lucia on the Parque Santa Lucia. And oh my, it was like we were back in Italy. I think Wally’s happy smile to have divine pizza in Mexico says it all. Also a winner! http://santalucia.latratto.mx/
Off to bed for us.. tomorrow we depart Merida, and will travel through Valladolid on our way to Tulum.. Manana!
** We enjoyed Merida so much, we are booked to come back for the 2017 Noche Blanca and bringing friends!