(Post 226 of 263)
Like in the rest of Mexico, Monday is the day that most touristy things are closed in Campeche. So I didn’t have big plans for my first day. I just wanted to get orientated, figure out a few things to do on Wednesday and Thursday, and also have some good food!
My hotel, H177, was in a prime location, just north of the Plaza Principal, Campeche’s main square, and right off of Calle 59, a pedestrian street lined with cafes, restaurants, and bars. On a map, it looked a bit far from everything, but once I was there, I couldn’t believe how my hotel was always just minutes away, so I could pop in and out during the day.
The first stop Monday was Origen, a cafe just around the corner. The menu was a bit egg-heavy, but I had no trouble putting together a delicious breakfast!
Cafe macchiato, and I was even asked what kind of milk I wanted! Almond, please!
Spinach, celery, and orange smoothie, just like I have at home. So refreshing and felt great to start the day with all that nutrition.
These chilaquiles felt positively gourmet! They were topped with sheep cheese! I don’t like goat cheese for some reason and expected that sheep cheese would be similar. Nope. This was the first time I’ve been served chilaquiles in a portion I could finish.
I ambled for a bit. Like other centro historicos in Mérida, the house are all stuck together and colourful.
The pedestrian street in daylight.
Plaza Principal with the cathedral in the background.
While at Plaza Principal I found a tourist attraction that was open, a tram tour! I was told to come back a little while later as they were having trouble filling one. So I headed out to the malecón. While beautiful, I found it very difficult to access as you have to cross a four-lane avenue with only a few pedestrian crossings.
By the time I got back to Plaza Principal, there was a tram-load of people, so off we went. Our first stops were to travel through the ancient barrios of San Francisco, Guadalupe, and San Ramon. After the city was fortified, the mestizos and natives lived outside the fortifications in these barrios.
The church of Guadalupe. Construction began in 1575!
I should have taken notes. That white structure meant something…
There are claims that that blue column commemorates the first mass on American soil, but it was more likely the first mass in the region.
Monument to fishermen.
This statue represents three levels of society, the natives, the Europeans, and then the church rulers.
Parque San Ramon. We were able to get off here and have a leg stretch. We were warned about pickpockets and not to wander too far!
Church of San Ramon by the park
I’ve got one of these weirdos near my house. Doesn’t look like it belongs with the palms, does it?
Inside the church of San Ramon
Inside the church of San Ramon
The acoustic shell.
Here you can appreciate how thick the wall is.
There are so many of these jaguars all over the city. Anyone remember the Toronto moose in 2000?
The tram tour was excellent. A problem with these open-air tours is often you can’t hear what is played over the loudspeaker, which was the case despite the audio quality being very good. But they also had an excellent English narration by a native English speaker, so between the Spanish and the English I was able to understand everything.
I came back here after the tour to see this amazing bronze maquette of the city.
Next up, I needed ice cream by the water! I was told this is THE place for ice cream in Campeche, but while my cone was pretty good, I think that El Michoacano had better ice cream (I ended up there three or four times!).
chocolate and cappucino
Next up was to visit the Bazar Artesanal, where you buy directly from artisans, with the purpose being an earring restock!
The two butterflies are similar, but I like having one set as studs and the other as dangles. The sting rays are so cute. And ones with the blue gems are incredibly lightweight. I forget what kind of metal and gem they are, but I never thought I could have earrings like that that would not feel like I had rocks attached to my earlobes. The top two pairs were in my usual earring budget of $50 each, but the other two were a splurge at a total of $600! Remember, I live in pesos, folks, so those are pesos, not dollars! 😉
A clean city is not the one that is swept the most but the one that is dirtied the least. A lesson Mérida needs to learn. It is by far the dirtiest touristy city I’ve visited in Mexico.
After a brief rest at the hotel, I headed for lunch at one of Campeche’s top restaurants, Maria Cocina Peninsular. A cold Pacifico really made me feel like I was back in Mazatlán!
I had to ask for picante at every restaurant I ate at. Most brought me commercial sauce, usually El Yucateco, but Maria’s had this gorgeous creamy homemade habanero sauce. I enjoyed it with my beans and totopos and asked for a topup to go with my lunch!
Lunch was some of the best coconut shrimp in my life, served with an incredible tomatillo marmalade that definitely needed a little heat to cut through all the sweetness. This was my first time being served potatoes (and roasted radishes!) with this dish rather than rice. I definitely prefer rice, but the salsa came to the rescue.
Their espresso did not disappoint.
I went back to my hotel for a bit. I had an excursion the next day for sure and maybe one on Wednesday, so I decided to try out Campeche Rappi to get some food to avoid paying the Oxxo markup. I was able to connect to a Chedraui and get a loaf of bread and some peanut butter, plus a few other items, for my picnics. I even remembered to order sandwich bags and a butter knife!
Night comes early in the tropics, so it was dark when I headed back out. There was a pirate show I was eager to catch, but I ended up not being able to see it as there were never enough people for it to be put on. Still, I enjoyed wandering around in the evenings, with the area either bustling or dead calm.
I did not need dinner after that lunch, so I grabbed a marquesita from a street cart as the rich Edam cheese makes these feel like a compromise between a treat and a small meal. I was on vacation, so I made sure to add Nutella. 🙂
Well, I wandered so much and so late that I eventually did want dinner! To my surprise, I wanted pasta, something with shrimp. I had a look at menus as I walked up the pedestrian street and this restaurant had a shrimpy pasta on the menu.
My garlicky white wine shrimp fettuccine with feta was incredible. I even liked the spinach chips! I was a bit shocked to discover that my wine was nearly the cost of my dinner, though!
It was then time to head back, enjoy the amazing shower water pressure, and get an early night as I had to get up at 6:30 to be ready for a pickup at 8:00! It had been a great day and I was exhausted from all the sun and exercise, plus the rich food, so sleep came quickly, a sign of a day well lived.