Well it was a long journey to the devastatingly dense jungle of Palenque, with its lush looming trees and dancing shadows. We arrived after nightfall to a wonderous little campground called Maya Belle. After a full day of overland travel, we had finally arrived! The long awaited bliss of being in a highly anticipated place began to hit us and all of the days stress and tension melted away. Indeed, the energy surrounding Palenque is truly a thing to marvel at- it feels much like the energy of a vortex, where life-force shifts back into alignment and the current of joy begins to flow again, unobstructed. The chorus of tree frogs was echoing through the night and the only sound loud enough to interrupt it was the very loud and haunting sound of the illusive howler monkeys, shuffling in the branches of the canopy above our truck. We were here at last!
The most bewitching, and in my opinion, most incredible ruins in all of our travel through Mexico- Palenque stands out for many reasons. While it is a relatively small complex, the distinct style of the temples and palaces is very unique and amazingly well-preserved. And, there is so much more than what meets the eye- as it is estimated that only about 10% of the structures have been excavated. In fact, there are hundreds of other ruins surrounding Palenque hidden in the jungle, waiting to be unveiled.
We took turns climbing the temple steps and looking inside the tombs and palaces. After visiting so many ruins these past few months, we have learned that exploring these places with a toddler in tow can be a bit of a challenge. Oftentimes, one of us (parents) is attempting to steer the little monkey away from dangerous elevations or delicate (not-to-be-climbed-on) structural remains. We have discovered that giving him his own camera is a good way of engaging him in our adventures to these mysterious ruins. "Amazing" was the word of the day here at Palenque. I will cherish the memory of our 2.5 year-old Joseph running around this ancient wonderland with his little camera saying "This is A-MAZING mama!" over and again.
Many places to climb and explore with this goof-ball.
The stone carvings were pretty unbelievable- as well as the notion that the Mayan alphabet was only recently cracked, with literally hundreds of different figures. The writings tell the history of this ancient civilization and its most important leaders.
We had fun taking pictures of the iguanas and other animals perching regally atop these monuments like the reincarnated gods of days past. After several hours, the jungle heat had trapped us in its embrace, and the only thing that sounded appealing was to dive into the gorgeous swimming pool at our campground. And so it was! Another beautiful day in Mexico.