They day after Chichen Itzá I visited the ruins at Ek Balam. At Ek Balam you’re still allowed to climb the ruins, which I thought was exciting, of course – the accident waiting to happen! I got there from Valladolid, where I’d stayed for a few days. Valladolid is a sleepy little town with plenty of abandoned, miserable streets, but also plenty of pretty sights. There will be more on Valladolid in another post.
I shared taxi from/to Valladolid with 2 young girls from the Netherlands. People wasn’t exactly pouring down wanting to go back and forth between Valladolid and Ek Balam, so I considered myself pretty lucky. Most of the people arrived either on a bus tour or with their own car, whereas the last seemed to be the norm.
I arrived to Ek Balam shortly after opening hours, as I’d done to Chichen Itzá. Thus, when climbing the Acropolis I was completely alone.
Acropolis – the stairs I climbed with some effort…
View over Acropolis
I had a few silent moments for myself up there… magical…
The view over Ek Balam from Acropolis
While looking out over Ek Balam I did not see one single head. However, one of the black dogs I’d met on my way to the ruins showed up. He stopped at the base of the stairs to Acropolis, lifting his head to me – and started barking! Like he wanted to tell me something.
However, I never found out what he felt the urge to convey; another woman brave enough to climb the Acropolis showed up, so he left.
I felt brave enough to accept the offer of having my photo taken up there – on top of the world 🙂
Compared to Chichen Itzá – Ek Balam is small, so small 25 people makes the place feel crowded. 2500 people on the enormous area that is Chichen Itzá are hardly noticeable. Which is one of the reasons I did not get the attitude of happily skipping Chichen Itzá because “it’s too touristic”.
But, well, however and so whatever, everyone is different and we all travel differently and want different things out of life. It’s not really fair of me being judgmental and all 😉
There are plenty of selfie nerds – wherever you turn… I have to get over this selfie anxiety 😀 If the others can so can I, right?
So what will you find at Ek Balam?
Well, I’d like to answer that question for you, but I don’t really have any info. The ruins at Ek Balam were inhabited from the “Middle Preclassic” period (1000-400 BCE) to the “Postclassic” period (900-1697). Most of the ruins we see here today are from the “Postclassic” period.
Ek Balam means “black jaguar” in the Mayan language
Ek Balam got its name from the legend of the city’s first leader – his name was supposedly “Ek Balam”. Here I was, believing there would be cute black tiny “kittens” running around all over… There was not! “Only” black dogs!
The excavations started 1997, but not that much is known about Ek Balam.
Arco de Entrada (=The Entrance Arch)
What did I think? I thought it was magical, of course.
I don’t believe the ruins I don’t find magical has been discovered… yet. 🙂
The only slightly disturbing thing about the ruins in Mexico are there are many places where you’re not allowed to touch them. Sure, at Ek Balam you’re allowed to climb and touch (and a few other places as well), so I got the chance to touch these wonders and really feel the magic and energy pulsating through them.
However, in larger places like Chichen Itzá… you’re only allowed to admire from a distance, although I did manage to steel a tiny touch anyways…
Even if I do understand why – we tourists destroy so much – I still find it slightly sad.
The temple of Isis – Aswan, Egypt
It was such a magical feeling standing there in Aswan, actually laying my hand on one of the pillars at the temple of Isis – knowing it’d stood there for thousands of years (well, not exactly there, since the temple has been moved from the island of Philae to Agilkia, where it stands today…). All that these rocks have experienced – it’s a feeling I find impossible to describe.
And I would’ve loved to find this in Mexico as well…
What do you say? Are you like me and long to feel the magic within these wondrous places?
U like me? U pin me? 🙂