Yesterday we decided to get out of Dodge for a bit and explore the Quintana Roo countryside. Though Valladolid, a medium-sized colonial town about an hour west of here, was our eventual “destination,” one of my favorite things about day tripping of this sort is the chance to wander without a plan…to be open to wherever the road (or needs of children) may lead us.
This time, agendalessness turned out to be a fabulous idea, as I can’t really imagine a lovelier day, nor unforeseen treasures more delightful.
We packed the van with little more than bathing suits, sunscreen and a ukulele, stopped for breakfast at a family dive along the way, kicked around a bit in Valladolid and then, in a sweaty search for a cenote, ended up at a most incredible horse ranch atop an underworld fantasy.
Here’s a little taste of our journey (with descriptions after every third photo):
1. Wanda, our trusty and “well-loved” minivan, whose DVD player was broken (to my delight and the girls’ disappointment) by her previous owners.
2. Amazing chilaquiles (a personal favorite) at the hole-in-the-wall where Hunter buys lunch for his crews every day.
3. A friendly butcher doing his thing in the shade of a palapa.
4. A wet welcome to the horse ranch.
5. The place showed its age, charmingly.
6. Sky blue + duck skin orange.
7. A lienzo charro, or arena for tournaments of charros, torneo de colas and bull riding.
8. Oh how I’d love to go back when the place is packed with people and horses.
9. Cattle chute. Anyone know much about these events? Please share — I’m so curious!
10. From the wild side.
11. You could almost see the breath from his nostrils.
12. My favorite of the bunch.
13. The temperature drop halfway down had to be at least 20 degrees.
14. Unbelievable, and a likely site of Maya sacrifice.
15. Just before jumping.
16. Ukulele lesson #1.
17. Pit stop for refrescos.
18. Cocos frios. Nothing better on a 105 degree day.