Off to see the lake..

Trip Start Dec 30, 2013
Trip End Mar 25, 2014

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Where I stayed
Hostel Fe

Flag of Guatemala  , Solola,
Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 25: Thursday, 23 January

As much as we loved Antigua we had to move on. Next stop was a little town called San Pedro on the banks of Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan was a fab lake in the Guatemalan Highlands. There are numerous towns spread along the banks of the lake but we picked San Pedro to stay in as we had heard that it was chilled but also with a bit of nightlife – perfect! We could also get boats across to the other towns like San Marcos for day trips. In comparison to the journeys we had done over the past few weeks, this little 3 hour jaunt from Antigua to San Pedro was a doddle! The bus was teeny, even Bradders little legs were squeezed into her seat, but we were all on proper seats this time so it was a vast improvement from our last 2 trips!

We left Antigua early and by lunchtime we were in San Pedro. It was fab. One of the English lads that we met in the hostel in Lanaquin had sorted us out with a private room in Hostel Fe as he had gotten there a few days before us. The room was basic to say the least but it was
clean so it did the job. At a price of $5 a night we really couldn’t complain! The from outside the room was breath-taking, we would be happy here forthe 3 nights alright!

Kathy wasn’t feeling well so she had a lie down while Michele & Jen went wandering. There wasn’t much to explore on the main drag so it didn’t take that long. The hostel had a bar that was down on the banks of the lake and it was a serious sun trap so we got ourselves a couple of beverages and we were happy out for a couple hours. It turns out that the 2 Irish lads (Timmy & Paddy!!) that we had met in the nightclub in Caye Caulker were had also arrived in San Pedro that day, and were also staying in our hostel along with a Dublin couple they were travelling with (Steph & Keith). Coincidence??! I think not! Anywho, we had a fairly chilled night in the hostel bar. The cards came out and a big group of us (mainly English and Irish – stick to what you know eh?!! ) amused ourselves with some good clean fun for the evening!

Day 26: Friday, 24 January

With our two new Irish bodyguards, Timmy & Paddy, in tow we decided to take a trip across the lake to San Marcos to see what all the fuss was about. We’d heard mixed reviews on the place from different people, but the main consensus being that the place is fully of ridiculously hippy, earthy types. Worth a peek anyway and sure it would entertain us for a few hours.

We got a little speed boat across the lake to San Marcos at the pricey some of Q10 ($1.25 – although we spotted that the locals were only paying Q5 – racism??!!) The spin in the boat was only about 10 mins but dear lord it was the worst 10 mins of poor Jens life. She’s prone to a bout of travel sickness every now and again (on every journey in CA!) and this boat was certainly testing her stomach muscles. She clung on for dear life but all was ok. No-one needed a change of clothes from the contents of Jen’s stomach once the boat docked on the other side!!

Lonely Planet describes San Marcos as a town that has become “something of a magnet for hippies-with-a-purpose who believe the place has a particular spiritual energy”. We can confirm that there were hippies-a-plenty. Some less normal than others – we spotted one girl with full on pixie ears, totally normal obviously!! There wasn’t much going on there at all so we eventually found some place for a bit of grub and got the boat back. The journey was much smoother coming home – Jen was happy!

Every Friday evening a quiz is held in the hostel so obviously it would have been rude not to attend. Max on a team was 5, we had 7 Irish so obviously we couldn’t bear to part each other so we tried to get away with staying as one team. Not a hope, we’re not that inconspicuous! So we split up. The 4 Dubs went on one team (Team Name - Up The Dubs) and the 3 culchies
were joined by a 70 year old American dude (Team Name - 33 & 1/3) and we went head to head. Even with a bit of friendly help neither of us could win. The culchies came 3rd and the Dubs came a very respectable 2nd last!! It’s the taking part that counts obviously!! Tequila & whiskey were then flowing from behind the bar for everyone in the audience so I’m afraid to
say there’s not much memory of what happened next. Well not much memory of events that can be published anyway!!

Day 27: Saturday, 25January

Fragile bodies all round today. Some moreso than others! The two lads were getting the afternoon bus back to Antigua (we did not envy them) and we were staying for one more night along with Steph & Keith. Everyone was severely lacking energy or enthusiasm to do anything much so it would be a very quiet 24 hours til the rest of us got the bus and joined the lads in Antigua on Sunday evening.

Jen & Kathy went for a wander up the back streets of San Pedro that afternoon for a couple of hours. That sounds all sorts of dodgy but it wasn’t one bit!! Our hostel was just up off the main street but there’s a whole separate part of San Pedro set back off the main street a bit that we hadn’t explored, or realised was there, until now!! We actually went in search of a swimming area around the lake but instead stumbled upon numerous hostels, bars and restaurants. Including The Clover – an Irish one! We found Zoola – a hostel that’s reputation preceded it so we went in for a little peek to see what all the fuss was about. It was a pretty cool place. They have a pool with a view of the lake so we lay there for a while, got a free shot and fruit while we were there. Why didn’t we stay there again?!

Nothing much else to report from Saturday really! We had a very very early night, even with the ridiculously loud Australia Day celebrations going on down in the bar below! We were still broken from the previous night so they couldn’t entice us. We put a film on and that was the
end of a very very long day!

Day 28: Sunday, 26 January

We got the afternoon shuttle back to Antigua that night. Nothing to report! Jen was a bit unwell so she got the Queens seat up the front with the driver while the others slummed it down the back!!

We rendezvoused with the two lads and the 7 of us went out for a Last Supper before we had to part ways. The two lads and Steph & Keith were heading to El Salvador the following morning. Whereas the 3 of us were so looking forward to starting the 18 hour trip to Leon, Nicaragua at 4am on Monday morning. It was good craic hanging around with that crew for a few days. They had 2 weeks longer than we did to get down to Panama so unfortunately we had to skip on ahead of them if we were to cover as much of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama as was physically possible in 18 days!

We followed up a super cheap Mexican dinner with McFlurrys and then home to bed. Can’t wait for tomorrows journey! Here's hoping Nicaragua is worth the trip. After all the Guatemalan antics, it's got a lot to live up to!
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