TICUL DAY- TRIP

This interesting city of diversity is an easy bus ride from Merida leaving from the second class bus station situated across the street from the first class “CAME” terminal in Merida’s downtown on the corner of calle 69 and 70.
The 60 kilometer bus ride departs frequently and many times there is no charge to pack your bicycles in the cargo-hold.

Our first order of business in Ticul is a stop at one of several upscale coffee shops, “up-scale” for Yucatan that is. This one is on a side street 20 meters from the Zócalo.

If you want the very best in coffee and ambiance in Ticul then Luis Echeverria

Luis Escheverria Villanueva Ticul, Yucatan

has your coffee spot situated directly on the west side of the Zócalo. Beside the fact that he loves to entertain his clients with romantic old Yucatecan songs he also is the director of the most prestigious artisans establishment in town located adjacent to the walled cemetery as you arrive from Merida. Luis’s artesian craft shop specializes in reproductions of authentic Mayan relics of fired clay and stone undistinguishable from the originals. (Some items are dreadfully provocative.)

After morning coffee and a brief bicycle tour, lunch is our next consideration and here we hit a home-run in voluminous quantity and extraordinary culinary expertise at prices that will have us coming back again and again.

The owner and operator of our no-frills restaurant proudly is posing for a photo and his the savory Yucatecan cuisine and generous portions definitely does his advertising for him.
Quiet little Ticul is renowned for being the peninsulas leader in the manufacture of artsy-craftsy pottery items and stylish woman’s shoes.
Also Ticul has a small measure of fame in having a well known Chicken dish named after it called; Ticuleños. I won’t spoil your surprise by describing this tasty dish, but I can guarantee customer satisfaction…so come on and give it a try!
If you like to snap photos Ticul will give you ample opportunities for strange and interesting curiosity shots.

Did I say artsy-craftsy pottery items? Well, that could be left open to discussion but in some cases gaudy may better describe some of these innovative creations available in imaginative and outlandish paint jobs.

Ticul street

This is Ticul’s main street with noon-hour traffic which mostly consists of bicycles and tricycle taxis double and triple parked shuttling shoppers to and from the central market across the street in this photo.
Ticul is famous for its Mayan art works and proudly displays countless statuary similar to this one throughout the downtown. This corner happens to be the zócalo park with the cathedral facing the east side of the plaza.

Ticul market

This is the back side of the central market where the items for sale are beyond description so therefore I won’t attempt to describe them…you must come look for yourself.

Church in Ticul

Again you can witness what the conquistadors did with another Mayan temple as they recycled the mountain of building materials into a form that suited their designs. You don’t have to look hard to find many faced stones inscribed with the relief from the temple this building evolved from in the façade of the door jams.

Ticul church

When it comes to adornment you will have to search long and hard to find anything around Yucatan that even approaches Ticul when it comes to artsy-craftsy public areas, so bring your camera.
I don’t know what inspired all of this street art but it would be easy to speculate that the original inhabitants of Yucatan with more than four thousand years of presence here had a hand in preserving their ancestral heritage in this way…I do hope so.
I do wish that I had the story behind these countless street statues because I am sure the history that goes with these reproductions would make a fascinating study.
I have not attempted to photograph all of the street statuary of Ticul but this is only a small sampling.
It wouldn’t take much imagination to consider this particular figure as that of some futuristic space cadet.
This one doesn’t look happy at all. Could it possibly be the fact that he is permanently dressed in a goofy outfit with shoes that are just too frivolous and fancy to go with the rest of his lovely attire?
Here is another reproduction that just screams out for an explanation.
If nothing else Ticul will get us coming back again and again to do detective work in order to decode the mystery that lies behind these ancient Mayan works of art.

It never ceases to amaze me the fabulously flavorful meals that are produced in these open-air markets with the most basic of equipment. The above empanadas are being created as fast as the scalding hot pan can be filled and emptied by the two women who are seriously involved in production.
Jane starts down a walking street that passes through the back yards of the towns neighborhoods. This is when a bicycle is the only way to really get around to see the things that the average tourists miss the most.
Here in this photo you can see the standard type of construction used in Yucatan before the advent of cement blocks. The stone is soft limestone and the mortar and plaster used is basically cal, (hydrated lime) and sand. It is soft and comes apart easily when wet or disturbed. The only thing holding the above building up is the chinked stones between the rocks.
Enterprising street venders generously give out lots of free samples and conversation.

Posada El Jardin, Ticul, Yucatan

Just three blocks from the zócalo this place is extremely quiet and fabulously furnished.
If you are looking for a local place without the pushy-shovey chain hotel ambiance then this jewel of a laid back atmosphere lavishly furnished with authentic antiques is for you. As I have often said; “not for everybody”. Well, we loved it and plan a return visit.
The above photo was taken in the entryway and if you are like we are, you will find it interesting and very appealing.
We were able to ride our bicycles directly to our apartment and there was plenty of room inside to park them.
Bicycles, tricycles and motor scooters make Ticul’s streets pedestrian friendly.
On the corner you can see the results of the avalanche that happens to these old stacked stone buildings when the wooden roof rafters, “vigas” dry rot and pull down not only the roof but much of the walls in the process. Here in Mexico it is owner beware and many shaky buildings are sold with some touch-up plaster in the cracks and a fresh paint job.
Yucatan has literally hundreds of neat towns and villages linked by quiet easy riding roads. When the going gets tough or you just want to get home the bus service is more than just amazing it is astonishing considering that you can stick your bicycle in the cargo hold and then cover lots of scenic miles in the shade of a bus or any number of taxi-vans.

Note added January 2010 : We have returned to Ticul many times.  For more recent posts on Ticul check out our website: www.bicycleyucatan.com/BicycleYucatan.html

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