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Written on: Wednesday August 26th, 2009

A journal entry from: Cycle Mexico - Panama

August 22nd - 25th

Leaving Shaun and Toby behind in our hotel in Guatemala City we set off for Antigua. It was a 90 minute bus ride into a different world. Antigua is a beautiful colonial town and World Heritage site, and was the colonial capitial for over 200 years. There are many impressive churches and ruins and the town is situated inbetween three volcanoes (one of which is active). There were quite a lot of tourists, and the city is quite oriented around them.

We stayed at a lovely little hotel, with a menagerie of dogs, fish, terapins and a parrot who liked to squak "hola" if prompted. There was a rooftop with great views of the volcanoes and town, where we could sit and have breakfast in the morning or a drink at night. We spent a bit of time exploring the town and visiting some of the sights. There were lots of different restaurants and we ended up eating Thai, Greek and Italian food while we were here.

We decided that we wanted to climb up the active volcano, Volcan Pacaya, and signed up for a tour. It was an hour bus ride to the bottom of the slope and a vigorous 90 minute climb up to one of the vents. It was an impressive climb over old lava flows and volcanic debris, difficult to keep ones footing at times. As we neared the vent it began to get hot, and soon we saw ret hot lava spewing out down the volcano. A few stray rocks rolled down from above now and again so we had to be careful. We didnīt have much time to eat our sandwiches and watch the lava before we had to set off back, in order to be off the steepest part of the mountain before dark. We really enjoyed the experience, seeing the volcano up close and the impressive volcanic rock formations.