K- Antigua is generally regarded as the jewel in Guatemala's crown and the "must see" City. However when we arrived there on Sunday we didn’t really take to it - although very pretty the main square was packed with tourists, there were 4 high-end coffee shops on the square alone and we found it a little Disney. However, since then we have explored the side streets and the local market and we have both changed our minds. There is a good mix of real life and tourist comforts and lots of great food and we are considering re-visiting it at the end of the trip in order to attend Spanish school and then perhaps travel through S America. Lots of time to decide that though!
Whilst in Guatemala we also spent 3 nights at Lago de Atitlan – one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. And it really is - the pictures do not do it justice. Unfortunately it rained for a lot of our visit but on the positive side we had lots of opportunities to model our matching travel raincoats – an unworn legacy from our time in Miami - very subtle and very chic don’t
Dressed appropriately for the rain after our 5 course dinner in Santa Cruz
We had only planned to stay for 2 nights at the Lake but the third night was forced upon us due to a road closure caused by torrential rains. Our mini bus turned back at a road that had basically turned in to a river – a river with collapsing sidewalls over a steep cliff. When your local driver (who prefers to overtake on blind corners) suggests it’s dangerous then its prudent to concur!
We are not complaining – we have traveled Central America in the middle of the Green (aka Rainy) season and the only real wash out day was yesterday and we still enjoyed it. We ended the afternoon in a small hotel watching repeats of “The Mentalist” on TV and eating take away fried chicken from the stall outside. Not exactly a hellish travel experience!
Whilst at the Lake we stayed in Santa Cruz de Laguna – a very small town with only 3 or 4 small B&Bs scattered round the Lake. One of them is however renowned for its food (this was not a coincidence!) so we treated ourselves to the $10, five-course meal. It was superb. The highlight was banana
Lake Atitlan - Santa Cruz Laguna
Even in the rain this was beautiful
soup, a dish that could hold its own on any restaurant menu anywhere in the world and the best soup I have ever eaten. We persuaded the owner to talk us through the recipe, which I will try out on some of you in due course.
On Thursday the rain finally stopped, the locals reconstructed the road and the 9am bus got us back to Antigua in good time so we spent that afternoon catching up on email, reading and walking around the streets in the search of yet more food! Antigua has a lot of restaurants plus street stalls and markets but our find of the day cost 3 Quetzols (50 cents) from a hole in the wall– frozen bananas coated in chocolate. Delicious and no guilt attached! Bananas are the new super ingredient it seems.
Having picked up Marks new traveler bracelet (yep!) which he had ordered 3 days before as his wrist was too large for a standard one, we then caught the overnight bus to Flores in order to see Tikal, another Mayan ruin. Blog to follow........
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