We both found it a little strange passing through Guatemala City as it feels like a long time since we have been in a busy city!! Apparently it is the murder capital of Central America - the direct shuttle bus out to Antigua was a very welcome sight!! Antigua is a really pretty, colourful town in spite of the number of times that it has been hit by earthquakes and rebuilt. Thankfully we didnt experience any tremors although there had been one the previous week.
As a coincidence, a girl from the gym at home is currently studying Spanish here (Fifers are everywhere!!). In retrospect making this our first stop to learn Spanish here would have been a good idea (however we have managed to get by with a couple of words and hand signals as well as entertaining the locals!!). We met up with Emma that night and went to the Sky Bar to watch the sunset behind the volcanoes. Unfortunately due to the cloud cover this wasnt possible. Braved the local market the following day and bought a bedspread (Sara didnt want to feel left out so bought one the following day!) - as to how we get
them home we will worry about that later.....
Had an armed escort by the Tourist Police to the Cross that overlooks Antigua, alledgedly the town has had trouble in the past and they are keen to keep the tourists safe.
The following day we had an early start to climb a LIVE volcano - Pacaya. After an hours bus journey along some dubious roads and negotiating hairpin bends we made it to the entrance to the park. We had been told it was a tough climb at the top but we didnt realise that getting there was so difficult. After a good workout we reached the base of the volcano. Our guide informed us (in Spanish- apparently) that it was too dangerous to make the final climb to the top that day as it was too active (we were quite happy at this as we had heard many tales of broken bones, slipping on loose rocks). Initially it was quite disappointing as the cloud was so low we couldnt see much and this quickly cleared. Everyone in the group sat and watched the earths molten core spewing out of a big hole. The pictures are disappointing but honestly
Cerro de la cruz
that is lava rock - an amazing experiance to see!!
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