Crumbling ruins, lazy iguanas and pristine Caribbean beaches. Now that’s what I look for in my historic sites.
Tulum, on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, is one of the premier attractions in the area, and it’s not hard to see why. I’d never been to an archaeological site where you can wander around admiring historic attractions for a while and then walk down to a perfect white beach to swim in a crystal clear ocean.
Of course, being a major attraction only a couple of hours from the resorts of Cancun, it’s highly advisable to get there early. We took a colectivo (shared van) from Playa del Carmen that arrived shortly after the 8:00am opening time, and had the place almost entirely to ourselves.
By late morning, the tour buses had descended and the quiet contemplation and deserted beaches had turned into a heaving mass of humanity.
Before the crowds arrive, though? It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.Continue Reading →
You could say that I’ve had a varied sporting career.
I played both football and cricket as a kid, but gave them up by my mid-teens due to a lack of both time and skill. When I had the choice of either attending cricket practice or my after-school job, those fifty bucks a week seemed a better option than having my gentle off-spinners smashed around the local park for a few hours.
Like many people, any fitness I once had disappeared fast once I hit university. A steady diet of fast food and cheap beer didn’t do much for my waistline, and exercise seemed far too much like hard work. After four years of that, I was developing an impressive middle-age spread … at twenty two.Continue Reading →
In less than two years I’m going to turn forty.
I believe that’s the point when I officially start planning my midlife crisis, buy a sports car I can’t afford, have an affair with the intern and wonder where the hell my hopes and dreams went.
Except, well, I don’t want a sports car, I’ve got a wonderful girlfriend that I have no desire to cheat on and I’m living my hopes and dreams every damn day. Today I’m in Mexico. Next month, Belize. The month after that it’s the US, then Australia. By the time that birthday rolls around in 2015, I’ll have been travelling continually for nearly four years, set foot on every continent in the world and run a marathon.
And then I’ll set some really ambitious goals.Continue Reading →
It was New Year’s Eve last night. I didn’t do much, really — certainly less than in previous years. I’m not big on this particular celebration as it is, and it’s cold here in Guanajuato at the moment. The thought of shivering in city plazas while not understanding the drunken Spanish flowing around me just wasn’t enough to drag me out of the house. Things might have been different if I’d had a warm jacket.
I didn’t have a warm jacket.
So instead, I stayed at home with Lauren. We gorged ourselves on cheese and ham, drank one bottle of wine, then another. We watched New Zealand play an epic game of cricket half a world away, one of us caring rather more than the other. As midnight struck we went up to stand on the roof, kissing in the darkness as church bells tolled nearby and fireworks exploded overhead.
And I had an epiphany.
The change of year is supposed to invoke reflection as well as hangovers. We should always be thinking about what the future looks like, but New Year’s Eve forces the issue.
It certainly forced it for me.Continue Reading →
It’s the time of year when everything slows down. People are on holiday, still trying to digest the last of the Christmas leftovers. The television is full of re-runs and bad movies, the papers are full of feel-good pieces about cats stuck in trees and the internet is full of ‘year in review’ posts in the absence of any ground-breaking stories.
I’d hate to disappoint.Continue Reading →
Before I came to Guanajuato a few days ago, every person I spoke to, every article I read, every guide book I flicked through all said exactly the same thing.
Guanajuato is beautiful.
Now, I’ve heard this kind of thing before, about several different places around the world, and I’ve often left wondering what all the fuss was about. Just how gorgeous could Guanajuato actually be, I wondered. Is it really worth all the praise that’s lavished upon it?
The short answer? Yes.
It’s absolutely stunning, one of the most attractive, ridiculously photogenic cities that I’ve ever visited. The ramshackle riot of colourful buildings, the crisp mountain air, the energy of this student town all combine to make me very glad I’ll be here for the next few weeks.
Add it to your travel plans already.Continue Reading →
The clock is ticking.
On Sunday I’ll be leaving Sayulita, my home for the last three months. There have been a lot of things to like about this little town – the beach, the cobbled streets, the laid back pace of life, the Bulldogs.
Wait, the what now?
One of the local bars, Monchis, has a particular drink that it’s infamous for. Take one enormous glass. Fill it almost to the brim with blended margarita. Insert, upside-down, a small bottle of local beer. Add a straw.
Hey presto, you’ve got a Bulldog.
With a prime position on the town square and happy hour pricing that runs for most of the night, it’s perhaps no surprise that I’ve ended up at this bar more often than I might care to admit.
Oh Bulldogs, I’ll miss you.Continue Reading →
The morning starts with an explosion. I don’t need to look at my phone to know it’s 4am.
The sound echoes through streets and off buildings, setting off the dogs, chicken and geese over the road in a raucous farmyard chorus.
The blasts continue for several more minutes, but I’m not concerned. These unwelcome interruptions to my slumber are just fireworks. They’ve been going off every morning for a week now, calling the faithful to church in Sayulita’s town square. There will be a huge celebration on December 12 for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and this is just the beginning.
I leave the pious to their prayers, roll over and drift back to sleep.Continue Reading →