How do you like your marshmallows? Flame roasted?
Day 772 (11.05.09)
It seemed to take us forever to reach Guatemala from Lima but finally after 2 flights, too many hours in airports and a hard-bargained taxi we arrived in Antigua. As the taxi took us through the cobbled streets of this pretty town we were glad we'd skipped out on Guatemala City to make this our first stop.
We were shattered having not really slept overnight on the plane (too tempted by the in-flight movies!) so went for a wander around in search of a cheap place to eat finding that it wasn't that easy in this touristy town. We had a meal and then chilled out for the rest of the evening saving a more detailed exploration of town for tomorrow when we had a bit more energy.
Day 773 (12.05.09)
We don't have long to explore Central America so we're trying to fit in as much as possible in our short time here. We spent the morning zigzagging our way around the town through the little streets of brightly coloured houses and shops and ended up in the central square lined with stone-arched buildings.
When we'd met other travellers on our trip
who'd been to Guatemala the one thing they'd raved about was a trip up an active volcano where you could get really close to the lava flow. It turned out that this trip ran from Antigua and so we booked up a tour for that afternoon.
After some cheap lunch in the market we ran through the afternoon rainstorm and were picked up from our hostel and joined by just two other girls for the tour up Volcan Pacaya. After about an hour and a halfs drive we arrived into the park and met our guide Jose.
For the next hour and a half or so we climbed up steadily through the forest and eventually made it onto the open areas of dark volcanic scree with an incredible view of Pacaya, smoking away through the mist. As the mist cleared a little we were able to see the deep orange glow of the lava flow in the distance and this is where we were headed. It seemed a little odd to be going towrds something that you'd normally run like hell from.
We made a hilarious run down the scree slopes onto the main path where we
met up with several other groups of tourists. As we walked over the sharp and uneven rocks to the lava flow you could feel the air around you get hotter and hotter. Watching our step carefully to avoid the vents just next to us where we could see the ground burning red beneath us, we inched our way closer to the lava.
We managed to get within about 3 or 4 metres of the slow flowing but extremely hot flow and stood mesmerised as we watched the molten rock making its way down the volcano taking huge glowing orange boulders along for the ride. It was just incredible to be able to get that close.
We'd been told that you could take along some food to cook in the the lava so we had brought a packet of marshmallows and Jose had cut us a long stick for toasting purposes. We had a happy time pronging our mallows and toasting them (or more often torching them!) in the intense heat from one of the small vents. Delicious and definitely the most unusual way we've ever cooked!
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