We landed at around 10pm and feeling a little more confident and full of excitement about our travels in Central America, we grabbed a taxi to our hotel in Zona 1 - the historic part of the city
. We arrived at Hotel Spring without any problems and were surprised at how nice our accommodation was. Set around a big open square courtyard full of plants and trees, the rooms at Hotel Spring are colonial in style, with 15ft high ceilings and wooden swing doors. It was a great place to stay and having been recommended a few things to see and do in the city by our friend from the plane, we decided to stay for 2 nights and spend the next day having a look around. Admittedly we didn't venture too far from the hotel, but we had a nice time wandering around Zona 1 and the Parque Central - a square with fountains and some impressive buildings including the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, built between 1931 and 1944, and the Cathedral. Unfortunately we couldn't sit around for too long in one place as we got besieged by people looking to sell anything they could to the gringos new in town. It definitely wasn't safe to go wandering around this part of the city after dark, but Hotel Spring was a nice place to chill out for the evening, practice our spanish and acclimatise to our new surroundings.
Our journey to Guatemala began full of anticipation. We'd heard and read some pretty awful accounts of the capital - Guatemala City, mainly consisting of nasty things happening to tourists, and were expecting no more than a nights sleep and onward bus journey to the next destination. Luckily for us we were able to express are concerns when Juan Carlos sat in the wrong seat next to Lou and proceeded to chat with us for the entire 3 and a half hour flight. It has to be said that our first encounter with a Guatemalan was a fantastic and reassuring one. Not only did he give us a beginners introduction to the spanish language, Juan Carlos put our minds at rest and gave us loads of really useful advice and travelling tips to make our trip through the country a positive and safe one.