Tuesday, 13 January 2015

fabulous tulum

And so, to Mexico. We took off from Heathrow early on the morning of the 30th. I love flying, that excitement I always get reminds me of being a child. (I used to enjoy those documentaries about airports so very much.) The flight was fine - I watched Boyhood over scones with jam and cream. The film was incredible. I'd marvelled at all of those ridiculously good reviews in 2014, and it didn't disappoint - I found it very moving. Afterwards, naturally, I moved on to Godzilla. Who doesn't love a disaster movie featuring an army of fighting, prehistoric monsters? Touchdown in Dallas, three or four margaritas later (to get ourselves in the mood, very important), and we were back on a plane bound for Cancun. We were then driven in the dark to Tulum, where we arrived, exhausted, at our holiday home for the week. It was really quite disorientating, arriving at our beachside hut in complete darkness, unable to see anything, with the sea roaring loudly in our ears. Nevertheless, we were terribly excited, and just look at the view we woke up to! We stayed at a place called Diamante K - it was the only hotel that I contacted that had a free bed in the entirety of Tulum (we organised the trip only a few weeks prior). Our place was pretty basic, essentially just a hut on the beach, but what could be better than waking up every day to the sound of waves breaking and the feeling of sand underfoot?

After a long, exploratory morning walk along the beach, we spent most of our first day with a few of D.'s friends from New York who were also in town for the week. A delicious lunch was had at Posada Margherita, and after a quick nap, we ventured over to the Mayan ruins where, close by, a festival was being held to celebrate New Year's Eve. The highlight of the celebration had to be the full-blown Mayan ritual which took place at 12am, complete with men jumping around in jaguar masks and feather headdresses, furiously banging drums and doing insane things with fire. Of course all of this meant that Thursday was mostly spent sleeping.

We woke early on Friday and visited the ruins - we were pretty much the only people there at 8am, which was delightful. Later on we had a great lunch and much needed, highly relaxing massages at Hemingway - a beautiful beachside spot.

In the evening our friends from New York were DJing at a fabulous bar just up from the beach called Gitano - it was good fun. Pink neon lights, palm trees, disco balls; it was, we reckoned, the best place in Tulum to enjoy a late night drink.

Saturday and Sunday were both spent at Villa Las Estrellas - another beautiful restaurant on the beach with great big beds to fall asleep on after the essential lunchtime taco fiesta. As you can probably gather, most of our time was spent eating delicious food or hanging out at the beach - napping or reading or swimming in the sea. When we go away in August, usually to Italy, many of our days are spent visiting churches or nearby towns; it was enjoyable to do quite the opposite in Mexico - we stayed in one place and just... relaxed. After lunch on Saturday we wandered further down the beach to Coqui Coqui - the famous perfumery and spa. Worth a visit, if only to sample the sublime fragrances.

Nancy Mitford - perfect holiday reading... Clearly not wanting to venture too far from the beach, we spent Sunday morning exploring a cenote close to Tulum, where D. snorkelled and I mostly just flapped about in the crystal clear water (wearing a bright orange life jacket, thank you very much). Oh, and we discovered a really cute family of turtles.

When researching good places to check out in Tulum before our arrival, one restaurant in particular kept on cropping up. Every blog I read and indeed every person I spoke to mentioned it. So, very hungrily, we made our way over to The Hartwood on Sunday evening. The queue was pretty long, but we were seated after a few minutes and had the most delicious dinner. It was worth the hype. I had steak (barbecued to perfection) and mashed yuca - a root vegetable native to the Yucat√°n Peninsula. Lots of whisky cocktails too.

Monday morning saw us fly home to rainy London via Charlotte, North Carolina. I didn't mind too much. I'd had a wonderful time in Tulum (I highly recommend it, especially if you're into good food!), in fact I'm sure we'll end up returning before too long, but I always rather like getting on with things after having had a few relatively lazy weeks off. Lots to do, lots to look forward to. I do keep daydreaming about that jaw-dropping view though...