It was time to have the besties girl trip and San Diego was the chosen destination. The beach cottage was in La Jolla was casual, cozy, and bright. It also had a back patio perfect for chatting. I would definitely stay here again.
So what happens on a best friends trip when you haven’t seen each other in over a year? A lot of catching up, eating, drinking, and having fun.
What doesn’t happen on a trip like this? Photos. You don’t even bother taking pics for your blog because you’re enjoying the moment too much. I did take a few, mostly of cocktails! San Diego has some great craft cocktails, champagne, and beers.
I did manage to take a few random scenery pics even if one of those sceneries was a bar view.
Btw: The Tijuana Airport has had some major upgrades. It still small, but feels like a real airport now.
Coqui Coqui boutique hotels are simply the epitome of boho chic. There was one in Tulum, but unfortunately it closed. I made it a point to visit Coqui Coqui while in Merida and I knew immediately I had arrived when the wonderful smell of perfumes and candles took hold.
Coqui Coqui Merida includes a hotel, boutique, cafe, and a dining room area you can rent for small parties. I love everything about this place. Look at the courtyard cafe, and boutique below.
I wasn’t able to go into the hotel, but I found these pics below on the internet.
Sadly, it’s our last day in Merida before our plane leaves this evening. It’s also two days after the Day of the Dead and all of the Pan de Muerto is gone. I’ll have to wait until this time next year to have another bite.
We did some shopping, but much of what Merida sells is also available in Playa where my beach condo is. I didn’t buy much. For other visitors, Merida is the home of the guayaberas. If there is one thing a tourist should purchase from Merida, it would be this.
As we were walking around, we unexpectedly landed at La Negrita. La Negrita is a very popular bar/restaurant in the Merida. We sat at the large outdoor space with a bucket of beers and unlimited tapas. The tapas were tasty! When I asked if they were hot, the waiter said “poco”. He returned with french fries and ketchup for me. A very thoughtful gesture, but the fries were no comparison to the other Mexican deliciousness on the table. By the way, 6 beers and unlimited tapas cost Sr. Elizondo and I a whopping $10.
We then walked a couple of blocks to Hermana Republica. It had a more sophisticated vibe and sells only craft beers. We chose the pilsner.
What to do after drinking some beers at a couple of bars? Have some gelato of course. Pola has some yummy and crazy flavors, such as Blue cheese and apple (which wasn’t actually bad).
We were in desperate need of walking which at this point. We went to the Lucas de Galvez market. This is a huge market for the local people and it sells everything. It’s an experience to see. If you are smell sensitive, you might want to pass on the meat warehouse area.
Then a quick visit to the hotel to pick up our luggage and we were off to the airport.
We started off the day pan de muerto for breakfast. I still cannot stop eating this bread!
We walked around the streets of Centro. Merida is not to be missed if you are visiting the Riviera Maya. Two days in the city is mandatory. If you have longer, there are plenty of day trips to take. For example: Chichen Itza, Progresso for seafood, or see the flamingos.
For lunch, we went to La Pigua. It’s a seafood restaurant that’s worth every peso. We ordered a ceviche salad that was probably the best ceviche I’ve ever had. I also had hogfish as my main plate. I had never heard of this fish, but it tasted so good (not too fishy). A slice of lemon pie was the perfect desert.
After dinner, we took the TuriBus around the city. I’m a big advocate of these excursion buses. I usually ride these early on during my trips to get a feel for a city. The Turibus was only an hour long, but I saw parts of the city I would not have seen otherwise. The highlight was driving down Paseo de Monteja. It’s a wealthy street with beautiful mansions, shops and restaurants.
We came to Merida for a wedding and decided to stay 3 extra days to see the city. While the rest of Sr. Elizondo’s family stayed in newer hotels, we opted to stay in the centro. It was the right decision. The Gran Merida Hotel is a hacienda dating back to 1901 with traditionally styled rooms. I felt transported.
It is located in a lively area. Musicians, restaurants, people surround the hotel. Noise could be an issue for some people. For me, it just added to the experience.
After settling into our hotel, we made our way to La Chaya Maya. Super bien.
Next up, we visited a couple of churches.
Including the Cathedral of Merida. It’s one of the oldest cathedrals in North America dating back to the mid 1500’s.
Plaza Grande is the main hub of the centro. It’s a gathering place for locals and tourists, food carts, and vendors. It’s also surrounded by historic buildings, most of which are free to walk through.
In the evening, we ate trompo at La Parilla. Sr. Elizondo thought it was good. I thought it was just okay.
Sr. Elizondo and I had another wedding to go to. This time it was in the city of Merida. If you’re not familiar with Merida, it’s about a 3 hour drive inland from Cancun. We flew directly from a Mty less than 2 hrs.
The wedding and reception took place at Hacienda Santa Cruz. This hacienda is from the year 1640 and 45 minutes outside the city. It was a beautiful place to have a wedding.
The reception area was a newer pavilion all open air. The stage was brightly lit with a neon sign and flowers.
The tables were simple and elegant. I was in love with the centerpieces. The flower color combination of deep reds snd corals was gorgeous. The pics I took do not do them justice. During the dinner, there was an electric guitarist playing softly. It was a unique touch, since dinner music is usually a band and singers. They also handed out fans for the ladies which was greatly appreciated.
The new couples first dance with fireworks.
And the rest is pure celebration with gold leaf confetti being dropped during the night.
A few of us ladies having a photo op. Dress code was long dresses for ladies and guayaberas and linen pants for men. I chose a simple black Eileen Fisher and fancied it up with a sparkle scarf. Merida is very humid. I would have never survived in a gown. Clearly my curled hair couldn’t either!
We left early taking a shuttle bus at 12:30am, but I’m sure there were plenty more fun surprises during the evening. There was also a bunch being given the following day. I’m getting used to these gala affairs.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been back and I still have travel on my mind. Below are places I like to go to when I’m visiting another country.
Take a look at the local life and visit a grocery store. It’s one of my favorite things to do when in another country. Grocery stores in other countries are often completely different than what you’re used to. You also get an idea of what the locals eat on daily basis. Oh, and it’s a good place to shop for gifts to bring home.
Go visit a cemetery. They’re often beautiful and peaceful. Gravestones from different countries and from hundreds of years ago are a sight to see. Is there any more famous cemetery that Père Lachaise in Paris?
Check out a library. There are gorgeous libraries across the world. I just wish I had thought of this in my earlier travel years. Better late than never. The one is from Trinity University in Dublin. I actually had the pleasure to be in this one.
Take a stroll through a park. Some of my favorite travel days is walking through parks. Wherever you are from, I can guarantee you a park in another country looks and feels completely different. And if you’re a dog lover and see a dog, it’s a good way to open up conversation with a local.
Take a look inside second hand shops. You never know what you might find. Sr. Elizondo and I stumbled upon a military second hand shop in Prague. He walked away with two WWII helmets and I bought a military jacket for $4.00!
This isn’t a specific place, but I like to pay attention to street graffiti. You can tell a lot about the city you’re in by it’s street art. For example: Berlin felt dominated by political graffiti; Mexico’s graffiti is colorful and often references the indigenous Indians; And I was lucky enough to see a Banksy in France.
There are the must see sights of course, but it’s the little things and day to day places that give you a clearer glimpse of the people.
It’s not easy to return to your daily life after a journey. There’s jet lag, catching up on things you’ve neglected during your trip, you haven’t eaten your normal diet, exercised none…etc. Now that I’ve been home for over a week, I’m still trying to get back into my previous daily groove. I’m in a post vacation rut. I don’t want to eat healthy or exercise. I had a few plant fatalities while I was gone and I don’t seem to care.
It’s not a depressed feeling I’m having. It’s more that I’m unmotivated or just plain lazy. It made me wonder if this is common after a trip, so I googled it of course. It turns out some people call it “Vacation Blues”. The definition is a decrease in well-being or work productivity following a vacation. Having to get back into your daily routine can cause “discomfort”. Apparently, it’s discomfort I’m feeling.
The ways I read to overcome the Vacation Blues seemed a little silly to me. What did ring true was physically getting yourself back into your timezone. So this is where I’m starting, beginning with my sleep schedule which is still not normal. Doing 10 minutes of exercise in the morning just to get myself back on the treadmill. (I’m on day 4, thank you very much). Lastly, getting rid of the sugar and white flour in my life….AGAIN.