Travelling, apart from my family, is what I love most in life. I have the kind of soul that just wants to keep on going. To just turn around the next corner and react to whatever I will find there. Hoping that my kids will share in this love affair of mine, I take them with me wherever it is I go. However... sometimes whilst all the key elements appear to be in the mix to shake up a great tropical cocktail of an adventure, the day can sometimes wind up being be a series of tears and tantrums, especially around the full moon!
After a morning of cenote swimming and hacienda spotting on the northern outskirts of Merida, Mexico; we drove to the historic centre of this happening city to check-in to 'Boutique by The Museo'. It's a beautiful, new and wonderfully situated hotel, right beside Palacio Canton which is now the Museo Regional de Antropologia on Paseo Montejo.
The heavy, humid heat and action packed morning had exhausted the children by the time we reached the hotel for a later-than-planned check-in. Tired red eyes began to fill with tears when my young trio spotted the pool and I said that they would not be swimming straight away. My youngest does not produce silent tears. The squeals of a temporarily broken heart set against the polite tones of the lady at the check-in desk had me feeling torn and stressed. And then we were shown to our quarters... The Grand Boutique Suite, and everyone relaxed. The three bedroom home-for-a-while, equipped with a full refrigerator, dining and living areas had my band of now-merry-men shuffling past each other as they popped in and out of the bedrooms. My husband had to work that night, so I found myself with teary child once again as he left our suite to log-in in a less volatile environment, the lobby by the pool.
The next morning, we started anew. With a few clicks that past evening, I had discovered that that night had been the 'night before the full moon', and that explained everything. Until that important piece of news had come in, I had been having doubts about the family gap year I had nudged us into. At breakfast, Gaby from Boutique by the Museo was all smiles and questions with the kids and they loved the attention. Happy Kids = Happy Mama. With a good breakfast followed by a splash in the pool, yesterday was forgotten and we were ready to turn the next corner.
That one turn from the hotel lead us straight to the staircase of the Museum of Anthropology which was exhibiting an amazing collection of masks from Mexico, and also a number from Africa (which reminded me of my late Grandfather as he lived in Zambia for a few years and brought back a couple of wooden masks to exhibit on our family home.). The older kids loved travelling from Mexican state to Mexican state via the collection and stories of the masks (they were also taken back to my grandfather's home as I reminded them of the masks that hung there). I will admit that my three-year-old found a few of the masks a little scary, but thankfully there were no tears, just tight cuddles with eyes shut tight.
Taking a turn onto the Paseo de Montejo from the museum, we strolled south admiring the fabulous late 19th century/early 20th century buildings constructed during the sisal booms years, when the trade of the henequen fibre produced great wealth for the hacienda owners of the Yucatan. What excited the kids most was the sight of bike after bike at a rental store which displayed tandem bikes, three-seaters, five-seaters and even mega 7-seater bikes! We found out about the BiciRuta, when Sunday mornings sees many main streets closed off to motor-vehicles and the peddle bikes reign. That was our Sunday morning plan set.
Our day continued happily, until the evening. I approached the hotel a few minutes after the rest of my team, as I had been busy with my camera, when my eldest came running over from the lobby desk trying to communicate to me through the heavy glass door of the hotel. Entering, his young voice hurried to tell me about the sounds that we had heard last night... Owls.
Already up past his bedtime, my eldest held my hand and lead me up to the terrace, I had no objections. Almost immediately we spotted an owl up on the dentil of the museum. It was requested that I call out "owl-like" (which sounded nothing like an owl!) but shortly after the beautiful being beat its wings to soar silently over our heads, flew back over us and landed back to guard over the museum. It was phenomenal. We sat watching, waiting and a second owl appeared. Then a third, then a forth. At that point we were joined by the rest of our family. There by the light of the full moon, we were thankful for the magic by the museo.
Green points: I had to mention that Boutique by the Museo provided filtered water in beautiful glass jars and their toiletries were presented in cute ceramic jars. No disposable plastic bottles in sight. When you're a travelling family of five, the plastic bottles can add up. We carry steel bottles that we fill up wherever we can. Bravo Boutique by the Museo!