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Something that I have seen that I am very thankful for are the Chichen Itza ruins located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. My husband and I went on our honeymoon this past October and celebrated our 3 month anniversary in Playa del Carmen, Mexico also in the Yucatan Peninsula and south of Cancun. We saw the Kukulkan Pyramid also know as “El Castillo” (The Castle) and is one of the new seven wonders of the world.

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Steve and I in front of the Kukulkan Pyramid.

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Isn’t it just magnificient? Unfortunately, no one is allowed to walk up the steps. Steve and I were so bummed since Steve’s brother and his wife, who got married five years ago in Playa del Carmen and also toured this area, got to walk up the steep steps all the way to the top. They do not let tourists climb the stairs anymore.

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This is the area we toured. Surprisingly, this map is only a small part that comprises the archaeological site. Chichen Itza was built by the Mayan civilization.

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It was such a hot and humid day that day. You definitely need sunglasses, water, good comfortable shoes for a lot of walking, a camera, and comfortable T-shirt and shorts. People were also given umbrellas by the tour guides.

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Click the picture to learn more about this ancient ball game.

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Inside these walls was the Great Ball Court.The game was played using a rubber ball. The loser was sacrificed.

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The North Temple

See those steps on the left side of the picture. The steps are very steep and the width of the step cannot even fit a small foot. Our tour guide, who was very knowledgeable, told us the reason for this is so that someone would need to walk up sideways facing away from the tower as not to appease the gods.

See those steps on the left side of the picture. The steps are very steep and the width of the step cannot even fit a small foot. Our tour guide, who was very knowledgeable, told us the reason for this is so that someone would need to walk up sideways facing away from the tower as not to appease the gods.

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Sculpted panels at the tower base of teams of ball players.

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You can see the clothing, headress, and gloves worn by the ball players.

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This opens up behind the ball court.

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This is a sculpted panel on the left side of the Lower Temple of the Jaguar. Can you see the player standing on top of the loser?

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Front of the Tzompantli or Skull Platform

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This side is decorated with skulls.

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On the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the walls of the staircase on the north side (the side you can see in the picture) that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase, which some scholars have suggested is a representation of the feathered-serpent god Kukulkan.

Click here for a video of this amazing occurrence. Skip to 5:00.

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I’m holding up the pyramid!

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This natural sinkhole, called cenote, is 89 feet deep. The ancient Mayan people would do sacrifices here in times of drought, including human sacrifices.

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Group of a Thousand Columns

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Group of a Thousand Columns

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Do you see how the side on left is more jagged while the side on the right is smoother? The side on the left is the original side and the side on the right has been restored.

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Kukulkan Pyramid

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Unrestored Kukulkan Pyramid

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Unrestored Kukulkan Pyramid

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We made our way around Kukulkan Pyramid. We are back to the area of the first picture.

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El Caracol (“The Snail”) Observatory to watch the path of Venus

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We swam in the Ik Kil cenote. It was scary because the water was over 89 feet deep. The water was so nice and refreshing after burning in the hot sun. People were diving and jumping off the platform in the middle of the picture.

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Ik Kil opens up to the sky. There are vines which reach from the opening all the way down to the water along with small waterfalls. There are black catfish which swim in the cenote.

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Steve swam all the way to the vines. I didn’t. I was a little scared but swam half way to them. Something about deep water and not being able to see to the bottom scares me.

This is number 26 of 27 Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die. 26 more to go and 6 more new wonders of the world to visit. In the meantime…

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…just me relaxing in a handmade hammock after our delicious lunch of authentic Mayan cuisine.

Learn more about Chichen Itza and how this became one of the New Seven Wonders of the World here and here. Enjoy your Saturday, hopefully in a hammock!

Sincerely,

Jamie

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