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From Benemerito we took a bus to Palenque, once again passing military checkpoints.

In Palenque we realised that in fact we were illegal aliens in Mexico! We had to find an immigration office and get all the necessary stamps in our passports. We found accommodation (Posada Los Angeles, USD 10 per room), took a bath, and told a taxi driver where we wanted to go. Luckily, everything went as planned. Back in the town, I couldn't resist buying some souvenirs from an indigenous woman, near our guesthouse. Several fabulously colourful plaited belts and bracelets went straight to my bag. In a local tourist office we paid for a trip for the following day. Being legal tourists by then, we visited the ruins in Palenque. Using a tripod for taking photos was forbidden, unless you had paid USD 300 for a special ticket – they must be mad! We saw ruins of splendid buildings and sculptures. Temple of the Inscriptions was a pyramid with a tomb of king Pakal (ruling from 616 to 683) where – as the name suggests – inscriptions were preserved in the best condition. The main building in the centre – priding itself on a 4-storey tower – was once home to the royal family and the court. We also visited several other temples, e.g.: Temple of the Sun – the most characteristic of Palenque, Temple of the Cross and Temple of the Foliated Cross – located atop step pyramids, most probably erected by Pakal's successors. Unfortunately, tourists have no access to many pyramids. It is a precautionary measure, protecting those monuments from destruction. With thousands of visitors, litres of sweat would ruin the buildings, which are now being meticulously restored.

Discovered as late as in the 18th century, the ruins of Palenque are a perfect sightseeing location – extremely varied, situated among tropical forests. Palenque was an enchanting place – in our opinion the most mystical one in Mexico. Everything we saw had been constructed without the use of metal tools, wheels or animals! During the trip I was thinking about rituals, I imagined how priests offered sacrifices to gods. I tried to envision residents of the city who simply lived their lives there, breeding animals, growing plants. In Mexico it was the first time I cried because of the overwhelming emotions and experiences.

30 km farther we found ourselves in yet another amazing place, Agua Azul, which was quite different from the Mayan ruins. Those were river cascades stretching over a distance of ca. 5 km, where we could take an invigorating swim. The rapid river called Tulija crosses hundreds of cascades, flowing into turquoise lakes surrounded by jungle wilderness.