|when I saw our room was number 404 I couldn't resist making this!|
My blog has been pretty quiet over the last couple of weeks, because I was away on holiday. Earlier this year, I was delighted to win a competition run by Kankun Sauces and sponsored by Aero Mexico - a trip to the beautiful island of Cozumel off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. We decided to take it in late November/early December to give us a break from the miserable weather we tend to get in the UK at this time of year.
Our destination was the lovely boutique hotel Playa Azul. The journey was rather long, as we had to fly to Mexico City, make a connection there, fly on to Cancun (passing close to the smoking volcano Popacatapetl which really excited me, the first active volcano I have ever seen), travel by minibus to Playa del Carmen, take the jet ferry over to Cozumel and finally a taxi to the hotel. We were exhausted when we arrived, but when we looked out of the window of our room and saw this.....
... suddenly the long journey was worth every minute!
The hotel was lovely, a small, friendly place with very welcoming staff. I even ended up folding some paper bows with the lady in the gift shop - you can't keep a crafter from joining in when she can! - and I was very impressed by the towel folding skills of the maid, who presented us with a different, hibiscus-adorned, creature every day.
I might have to get hold of a book on towel folding now!
Naturally the local food was of great interest to us. We took most of our meals in the hotel, as it was a few miles out of the main town of San Miguel. There was a small line of restaurants opposite the hotel, but one of them sold nothing but lobster and two sold little else apart from it - not much use to us as Mark can't eat any seafood - and the last in the row sold nothing but key lime pie - not ideal for a diabetic! However the hotel food was excellent. There was a small selection of "international" dishes and a much bigger selection of Mexican ones. Breakfasts included a huge tray of tropical fruits, including papaya, one of my favourite foods, at the perfect peak of ripeness. The soups, guacamole, black beans and all the different tortilla based dishes were delicious and beautifully presented, as well as being remarkably cheap compared to what similar meals would have cost in a good hotel back home, although the staff probably thought they were eye-wateringly expensive. The portions of guacamole were enormous - we reckoned that a single portion contained around 4 avocados! Here is a typical poolside lunch of guacamole and quesadillas
On the day we were meant to have a trip to the eco park on the island, the weather was wet and windy so our guide Yibran asked us what we wanted to do - naturally we said we'd like to see where local people shop for food, so our outing became a trip to the central market, a supermarket, a garden centre and lunch at the beautiful Casa Mission, set in lovely gardens, and a tour of the Tequila Museum that it shares grounds with. It was a fascinating day out and we stocked up on lots of ingredients - look out for lots of Mexican dishes appearing here in the New Year!
But for now I'm going to stop waffling and leave you with a selection of photos of our wonderful holiday.
|the Cozumel promenade had some beautiful sculptures and statues|
|Flame of the Forest trees lined the walking/running/cycle track outside the hotel|
|with our guide Yibran and a rather silly hat|
|looking back at the hotel from a nearby jetty|
|sadly I couldn't sample the wares here|
|a pelican treated us to a close-up fishing display|
|this tiny lady sold a wonderful selection of herbs and spices|
|there was beautiful pottery everywhere|
|Grinding agave for tequila|
|Making masa for fresh tortillas|