San Cristobal de las Casas

Vendors on the plaza of the Catedral de San Crist贸bal M谩rtir, San Crist贸bal de las Casas,
Vendors on the plaza of the Catedral de San Crist贸bal M谩rtir, San Crist贸bal de las Casas,

Coming from the humidity and heat of the Yucatan peninsula and then Palenque, the bracing night air San Crist贸bal de las Casas high in the mountains of Chiapas, came as a shock to my system. I'd left vacationland and returned to a climate where layers are needed. San Cristobal is rich in culture and views.

Before continuing, please hit play on the video. The music really sets the mood for the rest of the page. Enjoy!

Just like Palenque, I had been here before more than a decade earlier. While the changes in the town of Palenque left me queazy, I actually liked San Crist贸bal more this time round. More of the historic centre had been renovated. The bandstand had nightly musical performances featuring marimba, which, if you listened to me at the top of the page and hit play on the YouTube video, you're hearing right now.

Moving away from the central square and cathedral (pictured at the top of the page) the city rises and drops away with the hills. One needs stairs. The first photo above leads up to the Templo de Nuestra Se帽ora de Guadalupe. The views from its plaza are excellent and I utterly failed in my attempt to capture them so enjoy a shot of the most impressive cotton candy I've ever .

A log fire rages in the fireplace of the cozy Casa Na Blom museum hotel, San Crist贸bal de las Casas
Interior of museum hotel room at Casa Na Blom, San Crist贸bal de las Casas

I spent the first few nights at Casa Na Bolom. This old house (estate?) had been converted into a hotel, restaurant and museum to honour the memory and work of Frans and Trudi Blom who did much to increase the world's awareness and appreciation of the region's people and their culture as well as environmental degradation.

Today, Casa Na Bolom operates as a hotel, museum, and research center run by Asociaci贸n Cultural Na Bolom, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the Lacandon Maya and the preservation of the Chiapas rain forest. ~ from the Wikipedia page.

The nights were cold enough to require thick duvets. I was glad to have a fireplace in my room. Sadly, the fire, nor the old single paned windows could drown out the sound of the neighbour's fiesta that went on until 4 AM. Old buildings are romantic; old, single pane windows are garbage and the Passivhaus movement, with its efficiency and soundproofed windows, can't conquer the world soon enough.

Vendors sell hats outside the Catedral de San Crist贸bal M谩rtir in San Crist贸bal de las Casas as a flock of pigeons takes flight overhead.
Catedral de San Crist贸bal M谩rtir, San Crist贸bal de las Casas

Far more pleasant that loud Banda music blasted over end-times-speakers is the lovely marimba band playing at the central bandstand. I hope you're enjoying the music if not the stunning visuals. If you can't hear marimba music then you really need to scroll back to the top of the page and hit play on the YouTube video. Come on!

San Crist贸bal Graffiti 

Politics and Art in the Street

Street art on a colourful wall shows three monkeys: one is listening, one is seeing and one is yelling, "the companies steal our water."
The caption reads: The companies, they steal our water!!!

Although I hate tagging (the scribbling on objects, not the social media act), which some people (who are wrong) consider a form of expression, I do appreciate the colours, designs and power of street art. Just look at these examples.

San Crist贸bal de las Casas was at the heart of the Zapatista uprising in the 90s and the political protest continues. 聽

Wall of Graffiti. This video will be best enjoyed in fullscreen, preferably on your phone.
Graffit of a surreal insect bicycle on a wall in San Crist贸bal de las Casas.

Next stop: Across the ocean!