Antigua (not that one)

Trip Start May 23, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2010

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Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Following our trip to Tikal, Emma and I took it easy on the following day.  Much easier than planned, in fact, since we both woke up feeling quite nauseous.  This churning feeling in our stomachs didn't disappear all day and wasn't helped by roasting heat and humidity.  Consequently, rather than going for a swim in the lake, we lazed around in the hostel feeling sorry for ourselves and drinking gallons of water (I think I had about 5 litres!). 

We met a few new people who told us that our next stop, Antigua, was going to be flooded following the recent tropical storm that had hit the West coast of Guatemala.  This was on top of the recently-erupted Volcan Pacaya (guess we won't be climbing that, then!) and the 100m deep sink hole that opened up in Guatemala City, which swallowed up a 3 storey building:

Bad luck comes in threes!

So, it was with some trepidation that we awaited our 9 hour overnight bus ride into Antigua (that's a old colonial city in Guatemala, not the Caribbean island!).  Apart from the coldest air conditioning known to man forcing Ems to don her thick sock, hoodie and cagoule in the bus, everything was pretty ok and we arrived, a little sleep-starved in Antigua this morning after a quick change of bus in Guatemala City (we avoided any gaping craters!).

What a place!  It's a fantastic mix of faded glory colonial architecture and vibrant coloured building, surrounded on all sides by a lush green mountainous backdrop, with volcanoes (including the bilious Pacaya) peaking through the clouds.  Stunning.  We waited in the Parque Centrale for our hostel pick up and found the locals really friendly.  A local Mayan woman offered me some handmade bracelets.  "Something for your wife?".  No, thank you.  "For your sister?  Or your mother?".  No, sorry.  "What about your enemies then?  You must have some enemies!"  What?  I think she was joking!

Our pick up arrived and took us to probably one of the top three hostels I've ever stayed in, the Earth Lodge.  7km from the city, it's located in a mountainside community in the heart of an avocado farm and oak plantation.  There's an eco-friendly theme and our cabana has a tree growing right through the middle of it!  A couple of awesome resident dogs and amazing views across the valley and down onto Antigua top things off.  The clean, cool mountain air is such a relief after the humidity of the last week and a half.  By this time I had got my appetite back and having endured 3 days of veggie-only cuisine at our last hostel (which, I would remind you, seems to have made us ill - so much for the health benefits of no meat!), I got stuck into a blissful plate of eggs and bacon. 

The locals around here are so friendly, the women and girls in their beautifully multi-coloured Mayan handwoven attire, balancing baskets of washing on their heads and bidding us 'Buenas tardes' as they saunter past.  I steered clear of the 3 year old boy happily toying with a machete taller than he was, though!  Nice to be somewhere more authentic.

Right, it's happy hour and I've just been bitten (again) so hasta luego!

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MiL on

Really good...keep them coming. x

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