The Centro historical district of Mérida remains largely intact and surprisingly recognisable – the streetscape seems unchanged with its famous pastel-coloured colonial houses (including ours for the next 3 months – the pink house in the first photo) and grand white-washed limestone palacios, churches and elegant cobbled squares and intimate gardens. I guess what is ubiquitous here, and in Mexico generally, is the shabby-chic decay of many houses and quarters – to do in part to the humid tropical climate, but I guess also retained and restored as an essential part of their charm – for if everything were to be renovated within an inch of its life, then these old colonial cities would lose their very identity and soul.
Mérida is laid out on a simple block grid layout with even-numbered north-south streets and odd-numbered east-west streets. We’re on Calle 53 close to charming Plaza Santa Lucia.
We had an early morning stroll around our hood, taking in the Zocolo and surrounding streets. Being Sunday it was empty – so none of the honking traffic or barrelling packed buses we’d seen on Friday and Saturday – no, peace and quiet reigns here on a Sunday including some streets entirely given over to meandering cyclists.
We’ll be spending the coming days, weeks and months getting to know Mérida close up and personal, barrio by barrio.