Imagine walking in a forest. You're surrounded by trees. The sunlight flits through them, casting interesting shadows. You walk up a small hill, dotted with occasional stone steps that have long been abandoned. As you get to the top of the hill, a large Mayan pyramid stands to greet you, resting among the trees. That moment was an amazing experience. The temple is perfectly nestled in the forest, much like I would have imagined it many years ago, with a few more trees now than it likely would have had around it.
The stairs are steep. It kind of feels like you are about to fall to your death as you climb. It made me wonder why the Mayan people practiced human sacrifice. I know some people must have fallen climbing those steps back then! Or, perhaps, they didn't want to offer the weak as a sacrifice to the gods.
I seriously debated not climbing up, but in the end, I had to. I couldn't let a small thing like the fear of imminent and horrible death stop me from exploring! We all basically crawled up, and then crawled back down. It's not nearly as big as Chichen Itza, but it is still very impressive in size. The site itself was huge. You could easily walk around for hours, exploring the ruins in the forest.
Their culture was amazing. Their knowledge of science was astounding. I wonder what the world would be like had their culture continued to thrive to today. I imagine our knowledge of science would be far beyond where we are now.
I learned that they think Yucatan means "we don't understand, you talk funny." So the Spanish, when they arrived, asked what this land was called. And the people responded saying they didn't understand. So the Spanish called it the Yucatan Peninsula. Although Yucatan was not exactly the phrase they said, it is very similar, and likely what the Spanish heard. If the story is true, I think that's fantastic.
This place was incredible, and absolutely beautiful.