Thursday, June 4, 2015

On top of the World

It's been almost two months since we arrived from our trip. Moving to a new place, crazy times at work and life in general kept getting in the way of a proper blog update. Well, I'm not sure 'update' is the most appropriate word. Writing about pouring rain in the forests, wild life and early morning drives in the comfort of sofa in London two months later sounds more like remembering the adventures than giving an update on the latest events!

But even with the physical and time distance I will do my best to recollect everything as it happened, but I think the photos will do most of the work! 

Note:The date of this post is representative of when this all happened, not of when it was published.

After the crazy day in Semuch Champey where we swam in gorgeous turquoise pools, walked bared foot in dark pitched caves and I broke my camera (which, by the way, is now working again!! :D) we got to Flores, the nearest town to Tikal! Tikal! This was for sure one of the most expected highlights of the whole trip, at least for me. I have been passionate since childhood by the Inca and Mayan history and this would be the first time that I would actually be in close contact with the ruins of one of the largest cities of these civilisations at their height.

Going to Tikal from Flores is a 1 hour drive and there are many departing times set by the agencies. We wanted to avoid the crowds and have as much time as possible to explore everything, so at 4:30am there we were, on the street by our hostel, waiting for our lift! Our enthusiasm was astounding:

Waiting for the bus to Tikal at 4:30am. Still completely dark!
 Okay, maybe the need for sleep was a bit more evident (just a bit) than our enthusiasm! But the enthusiasm was there! :)

Tikal is surrounded by jungle so on top of the archaeological site we also had a vibrant wildlife all around us. At times we would hear animals all around that would let us know the jungles was "alive" with a fauna that was mostly unknown to us. The trees were also unique with roots that looked like they had a life of their own.

Even the trees were different from everything we had ever seen

The branches would go in unpredictable directions

Exotic animals on top of trees :)

The tree roots looked alive and like they had taken over the forest.
And then there was Tikal, the city. It was sunny, it was rainy but most of it all it was amazing! Just as I expected, the temples were awestrucking and left me daydreaming about how the daily life was all those centuries ago. The whole area was surprisingly big and just walking around to see all temples requires a few hours.
Some temples are half covered by the unforgiving jungle but even those, with all the green on top of the stones below and all the years behind them, were majestic. The central plaza is this magical place where there are even some acoustic tricks to be tried. Totally worth the 4am rise and shine! :)

A model of the whole Tikal city! This was a city!
The central Plaza

It's kind of big! :P

The "palhotas"
All of this needs a bit of maintenance!
It's called rainforest for a reason! ;)
André, I don't think that is going to help that much! :P

What I was not expecting was for the highlight of the day to be the view from the highest temple in Tikal. Wow!! The temple goes above the tree tops so when you climb it you're actually above the jungle and can see as far as your eyes can reach. It feels like you are on top of the World. Definitely, you feel closer to the Gods!

And this is the view from the top of the World. Or at least it looked like it! :) 
The temples from the Central Plaza viewed from the top of the World.

PS: I really missed my camera!
PSS: The title of this past was inspired by one of our road friends, Dan who described the view from the temple exactly like that! :) hope he doesn't mind ;).

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