Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vacation: Tikal

Next stop: the ruins at Tikal!

We flew up north to the jungle to tour the famous ruins at Tikal. Called the "greatest reminder of the ancient Mayan world," the left-behind temples, palaces, and homes spread over 10 km, but that's only a teensy tiny fraction of what used to be. In fact, when we would ask our tour guide, "Hey, what's that big mound over there that just looks like a hill? And over there? And over there?" the answer was always "Another temple" or "Another entire acropolis" or "More ruins they just haven't unearthed yet." The oldest monuments at Tikal date back to around 400 B.C., and it's believed that Tikal was abandoned around the year 900 A.D. -- hundreds of years before the Spanish planted their own civilizations here.

We took two tours while in Tikal: an afternoon tour when the monkeys and toucans were out in full force and a 5:45 a.m. tour when the mist hadn't quite let go of the treetops yet. I'll let the photos speak for themselves. :)

 Monkey sighting!

 The wood is the ORIGINAL stuff used when the temple was built. That's crazy.

 Clever, huh? :)

 A photo taken for scale. That's me!

 This tiny window in one temple looks directly across at the sun setting behind the other temple. Awesome.

 Toucan sighting!

 Working on restoring these temples.

 The famous Mayan arch.

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