Volcano, Lava, Marshmellows!!!

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Yellow House (or so we assumed!)

Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Sunday, September 5, 2010

We have arrived in Antigua, Guatemala after a very long 9 hour night coach. Antigua is very much like San Cristobel in Mexico, a charming colonial town but a little bit more cosmopolitan with lots of European style coffee shops, including the Bagel Barn, where we spent most of our time eating the best bagels, drinking proper English tea (which may not seem a big deal but it is a rareity and we are so sick of the herbal rubbish they serve everywhere) and watching free nightly movies.

On Monday we climbed Antigua's Volcano Pacaya. We left at 6am for the one hour drive to the bottom of the volcano. Pacaya is an active volcano and last erupted 5 months ago (May 2010) that destroyed villages, farms and caused the city to shut down for a few weeks. As we climbed the steep trail you could see that people were still rebuilding their small community. The houses that had been burnt down were still uninhabitable but new houses and farms were being rebuilt. I was surprised how green the volcano was. I expected the gorund to be bare, but instead there were flowers and trees already fully grown after 5 months.

As we reached the crater the ground turned from volcanic soil, similar to wet sand, to rough, sharp brittle rocks and boulders. There was a tiny makeshift trail but it is still challenging making your way to the crater as the ground is unstable. The scenery is amazing as steam is rising from the ground constantly and as we moved closer to the crater you could feel this incredible heat. When we reached the small hole where the crater was we had to be very careful where we stood as the ground was still very unstable and the rocks we stood on could give way at any time.

On our way to Antigua we met a Canadian couple, Darcy and Steve, who suggested taking marshmellows to the crater to roast them over the lava. I have to say it was one of the best experiences we have had so far! As we roasted marshmellows it was so hot and many times we had to stand away as the marshmellows caught alight after just seconds, any further and we would of cooked ourselves, ADIOS AMIGO! The journey down was not as pleasant as we felt very sick from eating half a bag of marshmellows! On the way down we could see the lava moving down the volcano and changing the shape of the volcano as it turned into solid rock.

All our volcanic love

Thomas and Hollie xxx 
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