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North America

Chichen Itza

Photo by Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The Shiprocked music cruise celebrated its tenth anniversary this year and one of the most memorable stops of the journey was the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  This stop was one of the days that I was looking forward to on the cruise because I have been to Mexico many times but never visited the ancient city of Chichen Itza.

As we stepped off the Carnival Valor and walked through the beautiful Port Progreso, there were so many excursions to take part in. The one we chose was a lengthy drive to the ancient city. The weather was perfect with a slight breeze and puffy white clouds on a bright blue-sky background, which made for amazing photo opportunities.

The city is one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” and it’s easy to see why. The archeological sites of ancient Mayan Ruins are a mystical place rich with history and culture. The El Castillo temple is an architectural wonder in itself and a marvel to look at. The site exceeded my expectations and it breathtaking as you walk up to the main pyramid.

We were able to explore the site for several hours and see where Ancient Mayans conducted games and ancient rituals. It is fascinating to see the Ancient Ball Court and Temple of Jaguars. Many of the sites in Chichen Itza are known for their unusual sounds. If you clap once from one end of the Ball Court, it produces nine echoes in the middle of the court.

As an engineer, I am always in awe of these ancient structures and their construction. Chichen Itza is an engineering marvel with many ties to astronomy. During the spring and fall equinoxes, the pyramid serves as a visual symbol of the day and night. On every equinox, the sun of the late afternoon creates the illusion of a snake creeping slowly down the northern staircase. Symbolically, the feathered serpent joins the heavens, earth, and the underworld, day and night.

The hospitality of the Mayan people was a joy to experience. The history and power of their culture was a sight to see and learn about.

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