I have been very fortunate to travel freely and often. My travel bucket list does not seem to get any shorter though ... I keep adding places. I bet it is the same for most of you.
One of the most magical places I recently visited is Tikal National Park in Guatemala. I went there on a day trip in January 2015 and it took my breath away. Imagine walking through the jungle being surrounded by lush greenery. The path is closed up with branches and vines. Then, suddenly, a clearing opens up in front of you and there is a Mayan temple right in front of you. And while the Mayan ruins lost their colors (yes, the pyramids and temple were indeed painted over with vivid colors), they did not lose their grandeur!
- Tikal National Park encompasses 575 square kilometres of jungle and thousands of ruined structures.
- The central part of the city alone contains 3,000 buildings and covers about 16 square kilometers.
- Archeologists estimate that the Maya settled in the area in about 900 BC.
Isn't this amazing? To be surrounded by such impressive feat of humanity? The Mayan culture is fascinating. History.com provides a nice summary: "The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork. Most of the great stone cities of the Maya were abandoned by A.D. 900, however, and since the 19th century scholars have debated what might have caused this dramatic decline."
Do you have a place that took your breath away?