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Chichen Itza
We had to visit Chichen Itza even if it meant making a detour. We took a bus, our bikes remaining in our bags all the time. We decided that it would be quicker that way and besides, another no-cycling day would be a convenience. The long-distance buses are very comfortable, equipped with adjustable seats, air-conditioning and often satellite TV, whereas drivers are wearing freshly laundered shirts. We found accommodation in Piste, at "Posada Olalde" guesthouse. We left all the luggage and went to see the ruins. That was not a good idea – at 10 am there were already throngs of tourists and scorching heat. We were not used to such high temperatures. Besides, most ruins were situated in the open space, without a single shade-giving tree. We started by visiting the Temple of Kukulkan – El Castillo. The view from its top was breathtaking, although not recommended for people suffering from vertigo! The temple is located at the top of a step pyramid, consisting of nine terraces and each ground-floor terrace is 55.5 metres wide. Each face of the structure has got a stairway with 91 steps (365 steps in total, the last step being the entrance to the temple). Every single step corresponds to one day of the Mayan solar calendar, which is a testimony to the numerical skills of the Maya. Their extensive knowledge of astronomy is evident during spring and autumn equinoxes (on 21 March and 21 September, respectively), when the structure casts a shadow resembling a slithering snake over the north side of 24 metre high El Castillo.

The Great Ball Court is another place worth visiting. The aim of this ballgame was to throw a rubber ball through a stone ring. The ball court could be even 135 metres long. The acoustics was so excellent that one could hear a person talking at the very end of the field. The winning team was sacrificed to gods. Skulls of all winners were depicted on Tzompantli (the Wall of Skulls). Next, there was the Temple of the Warriors, with columns in the form of feathered serpents and Chac Mool statues (human figures with their upper back raised and heads turned to one side). We were impressed by El Caracol – the Snail. It is a 12 metre high round tower, built on two square platforms. Its diameter is 6.7 metres and inside there is a spiral staircase leading to the top chamber. Its windows point in cardinal and sub-cardinal directions. That was the place where priests would proclaim seed time and harvest. Maya did not usually build round constructions, rectangular and pyramid-shaped structures being the most popular. Every architectural monument in Chichen Itza was picture-worthy! We were back in our hotel room after 4 hours, just in time to assemble our bikes.