Lynn & Brian's Fabulous Yucatecan Adventure
©1996 by Lynn D. Troldahl Hershberger (

[Photo: Tulum -- the Caribbean beach and a temple.]

Finally, Tulum. This is the place that captured my heart two years ago. I have longed to return ever since. For some reason it is a spiritual home for me. My experience there was so powerful it inspired me to write a poem, the first I had written in about 16 years. I had been a bit afraid I would never return, and it filled me with emotion to realize I had finally come home.

Tulum (too­LOOM) is mystical, magical, and without question the most beautiful place I have ever been. It is an ancient Maya ceremonial and religious center, on the coast of the Caribbean. The limestone coast forms a cliff overlooking much of the white sand beach and the view is breathtaking. Those of you who saw the photos from my last trip will remember the view. However, in person, the view surrounds you as the feel of the wind and heat of the sun touch your skin, and the sound of the waves on the shore soothe your ears. It is clear why the Maya people considered this holy land.

The ruins at Tulum are well preserved though not very important architecturally. It is a late Maya city put together with much mortar, and the carvings on the exteriors of the buildings are barely readable. One of the buildings has some paintings inside with color still evident, but the public is barred from access in the interest of preservation. Brian did spot an iguana peeking its head out of a small "window" in one temple wall. That was a highlight.

[Photo: Temple of the Descending God, Tulum.]

The lack of architectural splendor doesn't matter, just being there is enough. We spent a good portion of our time silent, just drinking in the view and the spirit of the place. I enjoyed standing in the surf, being splashed, for a long while. I took many photos. We were fortunate the two days we explored Maya ruins, as the weather was mild. The sun was certainly hot enough, but the wind was present and there were clouds to shade us occasionally. Also if you could find a piece of more permanent shade, the temperature was perfect. So after Tulum, we decided to see Coba (KOH­bah) as well. Coba is on the way to the city of Valladolid (bah­yah­doh­LEED) where we were to spend the night.

On the way from Tulum to Coba, we were stopped by three soldiers. My Spanish is terrible and Brian doesn't speak any Spanish, so it was difficult to communicate. It turned out that they were a roadblock to check travelers for drugs. They asked me if we were from California. I responded no, we were from Michigan, "el norte."

The soldiers were actually quite pleasant despite their large guns, asking my name. One soldier shook my hand as I introduced myself. Even as they searched our things, they had us unzip and unfasten our own items rather than going into things themselves. They didn't detain us long, but it was an experience quite unlike the protected Midwestern life we are accustomed to living.

Next: Poem or Coba

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