A Travellerspoint blog

Miraflor, the road less travelled

overcast 26 °C
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Krista: Another early morning, we are up and out of the hotel by 4:30am and a wee bit nervous as this will our first experience on the chicken bus, we have a vague idea of where the bus station is and how long it will take to get to Estelí but it is still dark and our Spanish is really just English with some gracious’ and por favors mixed in. Even with the help of the night guard in the hostel, our taxi driver took us to the tourist bus station, then the shuttle bus station and finally the chicken bus. Jim was nervous about loading our packs onto the roof but there are a few others so we go along with the pack and manage to get seats fairly close to the front. The bus is not nearly as bad as we have been lead to believe, and the ride is relatively uneventful. In Estelí we leave the bus station, and take a taxi to the office of the society that has helped us plan our accommodation in Miraflor, review and pay for our trip then take a taxi to find a hostel for the following Friday night, then back to the office with a quick stop for breakfast at Burger King, this seems to be Central America’s most popular fast food. From here we catch a true chicken bus to take us to Miraflor. We had opted to stay a couple nights on a local farm to experience the local lifestyle and hopefully interact with the family.

Emily: When we arrived the husband and his grandson was standing at the bus drop off to walk us to their house. We were greeted at the front door by Martha which is the wife and she took care of all the cooking. We went to our room which was 3 single beds with mosquito nets over the beds. We were all exhausted from the long day so we took a nap after we ate lunch. We woke up near dinner and met two girls staying in the room next to us. We socialized and ate dinner together and talked about the places we have stayed already. The next day we stayed we were supposed to go on a hike at 8:30am with an English speaking guide but he was sick so his dad showed up, he spoke zero English which made us a little frustrated. Throughout the hike we just made the best of it, and tried our best to speak/ understand everything. Overall the hike was a success, and it wasn’t too hard. Later we went on another hike with the two girls staying in the room next to us to the waterfall… The walk was about 30 mins there and 45 mins back up. At night we played cards and talked some more and had pasta for dinner with refried beans and boiled eggs on top. We were tried so we went to bed earlier, although we would not know we would be waking up at 5am. What happened was I woke up at 5am and felt very nausea, dizzy, and my stomach felt like needles were piercing into my stomach. Then I started throwing up 2 times in a bathroom that is only a little better than an outhouse. I finally fell back asleep although we had to wake back up again at 9am which I was so exhausted and felt absolutely miserable. But we had to get up to ride horses for 3 hours to our next stay in the mountains. Our guide was the guide we were supposed to have the day before, but he still didn’t seem that good since he was sick yesterday. We told him I was sick so we tried to get there as fast as possible and I was in so much pain from all the bouncing the horse did. Soon as we got to our place I got off the horse and threw up everywhere.

Jim: We got Emily settled into a bed to rest and met our host Frank, a young 23-year-old who is running the whole place, cooks, cleans, farms and anything else you may need. He set to work brewing Emily a special tea called manzanillo, similar to chamomile but much stronger and apparently good for stomach problems. For lunch he served us an amazing curry with vegetables fresh from the garden and we knew we were going to be well treated in his company. Emily spent the afternoon in our very comfortable treehouse room above the kitchen mostly sleeping while Frank took us on a tour of the property. His garden had everything you can think of and when Krista pointed out a squash he asked if we wanted to learn to make a soup for dinner. Frank grew, grounded, and brewed the most amazing coffee I’ve ever had. We watched him from our comfy rocking chairs begin to prepare our dining. He had a small stand-alone building as his kitchen, but anything needing to be cooked over a fire was a short walk away that looked similar to a brick-oven pizza stove with two open holes above for pots. Emily headed down from the treehouse looking a bit better but not yet 100%. Dinner was served in a bowl, green looking curry with homemade chips surrounding the bowl, Emily look as if she was going to get sick at first glance of dinner. It was green, thick and cheesy, with absolutely amazing flavor. Emily couldn’t get past the look so I helped finish hers and mine, yum.. We had a nice visit that evening with Frank, he is a very respectful, hardworking young guy and we left the next day after a couple more five star meals to catch the chicken bus back to Esteli. We spent a night in Esteli at a comfortable hostel with a hot and very needed shower then wandered around the town, had a nice dinner at a café close by and tucked in for a good night’s sleep as tomorrow we are off to Granada.

Krista: All in all despite the sickness, Emily’s flu and my cold, it was a beautiful area and a good reminder to us of what we have and how little we need. I am so grateful for this time to experience new places, miss the ones I love and remember especially as the holidays approach how lucky we are to be and have been loved so deeply. Namaste.

Posted by JEK 17:29 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged "cloud "miraflor" "esteli" _forest" Comments (1)

El Cuco with a cuckoo...

sunny 34 °C
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We chose to travel to El Cuco partly because we felt we needed one more stop in El Salvador and mostly because Tortuga Verde Lodge advertises a boat trip from La Union El Salvador directly to Nicaragua, bypassing Honduras. If you look on a map this seems like a great idea and their website is very convincing that despite the cost ($75us per person) this is a great way to go and they are the ones to get you there. Upon our arrival and finding that none of the staff speak English we consult with one of the backpacking volunteers and his exact words were “It can be done, but I don’t recommend it…” We still wanted to try but after asking around and getting some more detail found that it would be as long or longer than the bus, a 4am start, the waters are rough and they basically dump you off in a small town on the other side and leave you to find your way to Leon via several chicken busses. Ok, we are convinced, so it will be a long bus ride through two borders but a guarantee that we will arrive in 8 to 9 hours… ugh. Tortuga Verde Lodge is an interesting, and I mean kind of weird little place in the middle of nowhere that caters to local Salvadorians on the weekends and has lodging for tourists like us as well as free accommodations for volunteers located about a 15 minute walk up the road. The owner Tom is an eccentric but interesting guy, a middle-aged surfer who escaped the North American rat race about 13 years ago to come down to El Salvador to surf, smoke pot and develop his beachfront property into a lucrative, if disappointing, little hotspot. The food was drab and there were no other options but the volunteers were fun and overall we came away feeling rested and relaxed. The highlight of this place is the turtles. Over the years Tom has developed a turtle hatching program, purchasing turtle eggs from the poachers, otherwise they go to restaurants, and burying them in the hatchery beside the lodge where they incubate for 50 to 56 days then releasing them on the beach which was very cool to see and raised Tom a bit in my estimation of him. We stayed two nights which was one night too long but considering we have been travelling for over a month and this is our first disappointment we feel grateful. Upon leaving and paying, what we would consider, a pretty hefty bill for El Salvador we are driven about 20 minutes away down winding dirt roads until we met the highway where we wait on the side of the road for our shuttle to Leon.

If you can imagine, we are the last ones on the shuttle and after loading our considerable luggage we enter the passenger van that seems impossibly full and has been travelling for several hours to a dozen sleepy and now grumpy travelers who have to readjust and make room for three more. Emily is seated in the front seat between our two drivers a most fortunate location. I am in the first row between an Argentinian musician, guitar and all and a young French fellow who reminds me of Pigpen in the Charlie Brown comics. Scattered all around him are clothes, backpack, electronics, grocery bags that turn into a buffet stretched out on the floor in front of us of bread, peanut butter, cheese-itz, fruits, vegetables and to top it off he does not appear to own deodorant so every time he stretches I near pass out. It takes everything in me not to subject him to an unsolicited lecture on organization, boundaries and personal hygiene but just then the musician put his head on my shoulder and promptly fell asleep, sigh, it was a very long 9 hours… The border crossings are always a little nerve wracking, border authorities and armed soldiers tend to instill fear, but we are getting more comfortable with it and in this instance we have considerable help from our second driver and we realize it is mostly about the exit and entrance fees. We did get stopped and pulled off the road by a random police checkpoint in Honduras, the driver talked his way through it but I heard after from the Argentinian that the policeman was being a jerk and wanted us all out for interviews. I consider that a close call… The lineup of semi-trucks going through the border from Honduras to Nicaragua was a solid traffic jam so one of our drivers got out to try to find us another way through and when we backed up to turn around the other driver ran over one of the many street peddler’s. It sounded like he hit him pretty hard but Jim having seen the whole thing isn’t convinced that the fella hit wasn’t trying for a con, either way the driver gave him 20 bucks and we were on our way around the back of the immigration building to skip the traffic, pretty sure there was a bribe involved in that too but whatever, we are through Honduras in one piece and who are we to judge the ways of this country. We arrive in Leon after dark and cannot get away from our fellow passengers quite fast enough, our hostel is only about a four block walk but we are all exhausted and grumpy, so we gripe and pout our way down the street to Hostel Lazybones. It is the perfect little oasis in the middle of the city with a clean pool to cool off in, good wifi and a fully stocked beer fridge next the front desk. We head out in search of a meal and find a highly recommended Cuban place that serves chicken, pork or fish in a variety of presentation. It’s delish and just what we needed! That night we cool off with a dip in the pool and head to bed. Leon proves not to be our favorite city and I guess it’s because we were expecting it to be similar to Antigua, the streets are dirty, the square is busy and filled with tacky Christmas displays and the people not particularly helpful or friendly. It could be that we are all tired of traffic and cities so we don’t fight it we just take a couple of days to get caught up on homework, blogging, sleep and laundry. The most popular tour activity from Leon is volcano boarding but the risk of injury on a long trip like this outweighs our sense of adventure and Emily has sworn completely off volcanoes after our last hike. Lol! All in all, it’s a good stop because Emily is able to catch up on some schoolwork and Jim and I have a chance to plan the next leg of our journey to Estelí and the Miraflor National Cloud Forest for a home stay with some hiking and horseback riding. Onward and upward!

Posted by JEK 16:06 Archived in El Salvador Tagged nicaragua el_salvador leon el_cuco Comments (3)

El Tunco, Surfs Up!

sunny 35 °C
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Well rested and up early Jim finds us a Burger King breakfast as it is the only place we have found at 7am and being unsure as to how long the bus ride will be, it is sufficient to hold us over. We have become blasé about the bus pick up times and duration because it is usually later and longer than we’re told but we are still there early just in case. Jim and I found a cute little bar for our “date night” as Emily calls it, called the Snug Irish Pub to have a bite and a beer, Mom and Chelan you would have loved the Shepherd’s pie and Irish stew, the fiddle and banjo players and of course Guinness. We made friends with the owners and had an after dinner shot of tequila at their neighboring dive bar then back to check on Emily and get a good night’s sleep. It is nice when we are in a place where we all feel safe enough to have an hour or two of separation and Wi-Fi good enough that Emily can chat with her friends and watch uTube in peace. As it turns out the bus to El Tunco is not so bad and we arrive to our hotel in time to take a walk around, (the entire town is a 4 block radius, one block in each direction including the beachfront hotels) grab a bite for Emily and take a swim in the ocean. Emily is not interested despite our promise that it will be fun, she is nervous and a bit grumpy so we leave her to cool off in the air conditioning and go play in the waves. The undertow is quite strong and the waves big at high tide but during low tide its good fun and we decide we should definitely take a surf lesson while we’re here. Dinner is an adventure and Emily has decided that we should all take turns choosing a restaurant and tonight is her turn. She chose a rooftop deck along the ocean that specializes in seafood and ordered the fried fish, Jim the seafood pasta and I seafood soup. The look on her face when the waiter brings over the biggest, ugliest whole fish you ever saw is priceless. We manage to deconstruct it enough that she agrees to give it a go but her appetite wans when she sees the whole baby squid, crabs and clams that appear to be trying to climb out of our bowls. Jim is no help, playing with his food and teasing her. Even I am a little daunted... Hamburgesa and papas fritas tomorrow night, Lol! It is very inexpensive in El Salvador and we pay ~$35 for all this with a bucket of 6 beers. After dinner we take another walk around the town and down the beach, it is an odd little place made up of about 1/3 locals, 1/3 Salvadorians on holiday and 1/3 surfers with a small smattering of tourists like us mixed in. The stars are out in full force, the sound of the crashing waves and with the breeze off the ocean it is our favorite place so far. We have a big room with air conditioning feet from the pool and meters from the beach. Life is good! In the morning we take advantage of the included breakfast, get caught up on our communications and head out in search of a local named Negro (pronounced Naygro–roll the r) you definitely want to get this right, who gives surf lessons for $20 a person and you can keep the board for the day. We book for tomorrow morning at low tide and go in search of a Pupusaria as we’ve heard that this is the place to find it. Negro recommends a place just up the street with a bar counter to sit at but not much else besides a small fan that is inadequate to help with the heat of the day and the spice of the food. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupusa Two local women make us yummy Pupusa from scratch and we eat and drink water for $5 including a tip, best meal I’ve had so far, it just doesn’t seem right… We finally convince Emily to come play in the waves and even though she got knocked down and turned around she came up laughing and we spent most of the afternoon jumping waves and teaching her to body surf. So fun! We all clean up and watch the sunset and surfers from the deck in our hotel, so incredibly beautiful you will have to see the pictures to understand. Jims dinner choice is a local place filled up with noisy surfers and loud music but proves to be a good choice. I am getting quite tired of eating out but even the hostels here don’t provide selfserve kitchens, fortunately you can have fruit at almost every meal and sometimes I even risk salad although more often than not I pay for it later. Fish, rice and beans are a staple so when in Rome… We have decided to stay another night to give Emily a chance to do some schoolwork and because we really like the vibe of this place, also it is nice to actually unpack a bit and be messy. In the morning we arrive early to our surf lesson to be told that it is delayed a half hour so we spend some time looking through the local shops, there are 5 clothing/surf shops, 1 souvenir shop and 2 groceries. One that several middle age locals gather at to play cards and drink beer. Finally, we set out with Negro and 3 Spanish speaking instructors to hit the waves. We are all on long boards for the stability and having been watching surfing for a couple of days, I think “How hard can this be?” It’s really f%*&ing hard! They gave us instruction on shore as to body position and how and when to “jump” into a standing position, that didn’t seem to bad but in the water the best I could do was hold on not moving a muscle, then gradually get to my knees and twice to my feet but in the process broke a board completely in half. My instructor kept saying “Jump up! Jump Up!” and I really was trying. Jim did pretty good, I even got a video while I was waiting for a new surfboard and Emily got up and standing at least once. I have to say that she took it all like a trouper, learning to dive through the big waves on the way out and rolling with them when she fell off. We were all pretty banged up with skinned elbows and knees after an hour and with high tide coming in, the waves looking scarier by the minute we had had enough for the day. We came away with an appreciation for what we had witnessed over the last couple days and pride at having made some progress. We agreed we would definitely try it again but can see why surfers are so lean and fit and young… Emily spent the afternoon working on Math while Jim and I sat by the pool and arranged our transportation to El Cuco in the morning. Another beautiful sunset, relaxing dinner and early morning walk up the beach to watch the surfers on the big waves and we sadly say goodbye to El Tunco.

Posted by JEK 09:52 Archived in El Salvador Comments (2)

Lake Atitlan, Majestically Mayan

sunny 37 °C
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When planning our trip out to “the lake” as everyone here calls it, and despite advice that we should stay in the most populated town of Panajachel, we decided to get off the beaten path and chose the town I thought would suit us best, San Pedro la Laguna. That meant a three hour bus ride and a 30 minute boat ride to the opposite side of the lake in surprisingly rough water but by comparison to some of our journeys we could actually enjoy a good part of the day after our arrival. We had pre-booked at a quiet hotel recommended on trip advisor and despite every opportunity and recommendation to take a tuk-tuk we opted to walk, big mistake… Not only was it uphill and hard to find but a long way from the boat dock. Luckily we met a nice local-tourist in the street who walked us right there. San Pedro is not very big and some call it the backpackers’ paradise, the streets are narrow (many won’t fit a car) and you have to jump out of the way for a tuk-tuk, motorbike or horse. Our hotel was certainly nothing to write home about and a little overpriced but quiet and friendly so we settle in not wanting, at this point, to go on a search just to save a couple bucks. I should tell you that our luggage is manageable but not particularly comfortable to lug around. Emily’s pack is quite small and has wheels so we have her carry our small daypack. Jim and I both have 70 liter backpacks plus another pack that holds all of Emily’s school supplies which is surprisingly heavy and I have a travel purse with all our money and passport that I only take off to sleep. So basically every time we get on a bus we load on five pieces of luggage, almost always the heaviest and they usually have to throw them up on the roof while we sheepishly watch and try to pretend that they aren’t ours… Finding your way around San Pedro takes a bit of exploration and we have been told that the only ATM that really works is at the top of the hill by the market so we set off to find it. The market is mostly food and Emily is mortified to see the fly covered meat counter and realize that this is what she may be served at dinner. We may have another vegetarian on our hands soon… The town is a mix of backpackers and locals and we find that there is very little English spoken, for lunch we decide to eat at a street taco place, very good, very cheap but Emily feels unwell that evening and we are unsure if its related. Probably not but I am learning she is extremely sensitive to the power of suggestion. Either way she spent most of the evening resting. Our second day Emily and Jim slept in while I went in search of coffee and a quiet place to write. I am trying to send some postcards but the mail system in Antigua is virtually nonexistent and our next big center will be Leon, Nicaragua so I am hopeful to get them off there. Emily is still not feeling well so we go to the Blue Parrot to try one of their famous burgers and take advantage of the Wi-Fi. Emily caught up on some school work while we visited with the owners, two brothers from Michigan and before you know it the day has dwindled away. Emily and I realize that we should really have tried the horseback riding, so we make arrangements to go the following morning before we leave. Being our last night and everyone in good health and spirits we head over to a lakeside bar called Sublime to have dinner. It’s a pretty cool place with an area to sit by the beach campfire, dancefloor for late evening and trees growing up through the decks and roof. Emily, a typical teen always wanting to be older than her years, has a fascination with bars and music so we take her to the Irish Rover, a mix of locals and tourists that has a Spanish band playing and a couple pool tables in the back. Not particularly Irish, but fun nevertheless lol... Horseback riding is on the agenda for the morning so we drag her to bed earlier than she’d like and once there we settle in to a good night’s sleep. Emily is going to jump in here and tell you about the next couple days.

The next day, we got up pretty early and went back to the Blue parrot and I (aka Emily) had biscuits and gravy which I was so excited about since I haven’t had that in such a long time. Next, me and Krista went horseback riding with our guide through the town and up the mountain to see the beautiful scenery. The guide spoke very little English but Krista thought it was nice because at moments we walked in silence and looked at the view of the lake and felt the cool calm breeze. This was very relaxing and neat to see, although I felt kind of sad for the horses as they were very boney and skinny. The whole tour was about 3 hours long, when we came back we met Dad at the bar across from the Blue Parrot and just relaxed. We started walking back to the dock to meet the water taxi to cross to the other side of the lake to a town called Panjachel where we stayed just a night. The boat ride across the lake was very rough and we got sprayed with water a couple of times as the boat crashed against the big waves. Once we got there we walked to our hotel which was called Utz Jay, we settled in and saw we had TV which made Dad very excited, I don’t know why though. We cleaned up for a night on the town, and looked through the market. We saw some interest, unique, and handmade art, but everything was very pricey. But I did buy a pair of shoes that were $5 in US currency as compared if I bought them in the US or Canada they would be about $30 to $40. Anyways Krista also bought me an ankle bracelet which is very beautiful and I try to wear every day since I got it, even though I will admit I lost it for about two days. Later that evening we tried a pupusas, which is like an appetizer that looks like a pancake but lighter and has stuffing inside… the stuffing normally can include cheese, beans, or meat. Since Dad and Krista love spicy food they got jalapenos in theirs and also put hot sauce on top. After we had a snack we walked around some more and spotted a place that looked nice and they were setting up live music. We walked inside and ordered a pizza and Krista got some bread sticks with cheese, the pizza wasn’t that good but we still made the best of it. When the music started it was extremely loud and gave me a headache but others seemed to enjoy it as they danced and sang along to the Spanish singer. We later left and went back to the room and enjoyed the air conditioning and the TV. The next day went got up early and went to a small café on the street that sold crepes. We sat down and order our coffees and I got a crepe with strawberries and Nutella inside with powdered sugar and whip cream on top, it was extremely rich. Krista got a crepe with scrambled eggs and peppers inside, and dad got a waffle with bananas and caramel syrup on top. We finished our breakfast and got on the bus for our 3-hour journey back to Antigua so we could catch a shuttle the next morning into El Salvador. When we went back to Antigua we got our two rooms above the massage place again which was nice to go back to a place that was familiar. When we arrived we unpacked and at 4pm me and Krista got massages downstairs. It was very interesting since it was my first massage, but yet relaxing. The only thing that I didn’t like was the people massaging us phone’s kept going off and then the person massaging me left the room to make a phone call. Then came back in and talked about the phone call with the person massaging Krista. It was very weird but yet relaxing when they weren’t talking to one another. After we went to a little restaurant and had 3 different types of sliders. We went back to the room and I rested by watching Netflix on the laptop and Krista and my Dad went out for a date night. That was pretty much the end of the day and next we continue on our journey to another magical place.

Posted by JEK 10:55 Archived in Guatemala Tagged "lake_atitlan" Comments (4)

Antigua, City of Volcanoes

sunny 34 °C
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We had an early start from Rio Dulce and Captain guy was there to see us off along with Anna and Josca, who are headed in the same direction on their way to Nicaragua. It was one of the shorter bus rides we’ve taken and probably the most comfortable since we left Mexico, after this trip I will never again turn my nose up at the mere 7-hour greyhound journey to Vancouver. The trip could have been quicker without the inconvenience of travelling through Guatemala City; they had us transfer buses at both ends of the city, but we are learning to accept the inefficiencies of the Central American transportation system. We are also travelling with a very nice couple from Saskatchewan, Robert and Dixie who are here looking to purchase a second home in Guatemala. We have been told this is a very easy thing to do and there are many expats here, especially around Rio Dulce where most live very inexpensively on their boats. Josca and Anna kindly lead us to a hostel they had previously stayed at and highly recommended. Unfortunately, there were no rooms left but the woman running the hostel was extremely helpful and found us rooms above the spa next door. Two separate bedrooms with a shared bath, balcony, hot water and good wifi for about $35us a night, Score!! Antigua is the education center of Guatemala and here you can enroll in a Spanish immersion program including home stay with 3 meals and classes up to 6 hours, five days a week. The recommended stay is a month but sadly we only have a few days, guess we will have to come back. Our first night we have a terrific Thai dinner and spend some time wandering around trying, without success, to get our bearings as all the streets look the same and we aren’t really sure where our place is. When we do make it back we decide to tuck in early for fear that if we try again we may get ourselves really lost. We are so happy to have good wifi in the rooms that after breakfast we commit Emily to some schoolwork while Jim and I go in search of a tour operator and an atm. We booked a hike up the volcano for the next day in the afternoon knowing that Emily really needs to catch up on some assignments and have heard that sunset is the best time to go. We chose the easier of the two volcano treks, we’re not in the best shape of our lives and we wanted it to be as enjoyable as possible for Emily. Antigua is a beautiful city with volcanoes surrounding, two of them currently active and Jim and I have a rare moment alone to watch the sunset from a rooftop terrace. In the evening we all wander the streets having discovered it is really not that difficult to get around and find The Londoner Pub where we snack on chips and play the weekly trivia game. We didn’t win any prizes but it was fun to play, and our host, a very sarcastic, very English bloke, was entertaining. Emily is in love with all the dogs as I think I’ve said before and in Antigua they are considerably better cared for than in other places in Guatemala and we even let her pet a few of them. The pub owner has a friendly Labrador that curls up at her feet, it seems we will have a companion dog everywhere we go. We are so excited about the hike tomorrow, our comfortable rooms and superb internet access that we have another early night to rest up. Emily spends the next morning working on schoolwork and is not particularly happy about it but we have learned to take advantage of good connection when we have it and although I feel bad that she is stuck in the room we take the time to catch up on correspondence, laundry and the like. When she gets really crabby about it we suggest maybe she start the ninth grade over in public school next year and that usually puts an end to the discussion pretty quick… The shuttle to the base of the volcano hike picks us up at two pm and we are told the hike will be about an hour and a half total, that doesn’t seem so bad… We start out on a concrete and stone path that pretty much heads straight up the mountain and I am daunted before I even take the first step. We have a guide who speaks pretty good Spanglish and are followed by about a half dozen locals on horseback apparently there to give us a lift for the low price of $200 quetzals ($~28us) It’s a good thing we didn’t bring any extra money or I’m sure I would have caved. Emily made it up the hill at a pretty good pace with very little complaining, Jim did fine and I thought I was literally going to die, omg! But I made it to the top without a ride and the pain was totally worth it. The views and the majesty of being so close to an active volcano is awe inspiring. Our guide then takes us down another hill to where the lava field from the eruption two years ago is still hot enough in places to roast a marshmallow! Incredible! And then up yet another hill to a watch the sunset and that is the moment I will never forget. I’m struggling to describe the breathtaking colors surrounding us as the sun moves down to the valley bottom and the tranquility of this place. I can’t stop taking pictures and fall so far behind I’m suddenly with another group altogether. Our guide is pushing us along and we are soon to find out that coming down the mountain in the dark is as difficult as going up. Thank goodness Jim packed the headlamps. Finally, back at our rooms around 7pm we have a quick cleanup and head out to dinner at Cactus, reportedly the best Mexican food in town. We are all famished and exhausted but in a good way and tomorrow we are off to San Pedro in Lake Atitlan for more adventure. On a side note I wanted to say thanks to all our blog subscribers, you are inspiring me to stay on top of it and Kathe, you in particular are on my mind every time I add a comma or rearrange a sentence. Sometimes I am writing on a bus but at the moment I have a Modelo in hand, Amy Winehouse in the background while Emily and I watch the sunset over the ocean and wait for Jim to be ready for dinner. It’s not all “rainbows and lollipops” ( a Shawn quote ) travelling with a teen but at the end of the day we are learning to enjoy our surroundings, an appreciation for what we have and most importantly each other. Love and hugs xo

Posted by JEK 16:01 Archived in Guatemala Tagged "antigua" "volcano" Comments (4)

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