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Traing Day – Day 5


Posted by | Evil Kristos | January 21, 2009 | 1 Comment

I, formerly known as his Evilness Kristos the Graceless, so unfit that fat American tourists laugh at me, made a decision: I shall climb a volcano! Stop laughing, I’m serious!

Lake Atitlan is everything I expected. It is breathtakingly beautiful, a natural wonder words can hardly describe. The lake – 1500 metres above sea level – is surrounded by mountains. Three of them are volcanos and oh lord they are pretty.

I got up 6.30 this morning because sunrise is the best time to see it. Later in the day it often is overcast, especially the top of the volcanos is quickly covered in clouds. I set my alarm but I didn’t even need it. I was so excited to see it that I just woke up. This is highly unusual for me. To wake me up at that time in the morning you’d normally need a jackhammer.

It was awesome and I mean so incredibly beautiful it blows your mind. The lake peaceful in the foreground, some little boats floating around for no particular purpose and in the background, threatening the mighty volcanos. What a scenery! This certainly is one of the things you should see before you die. The only way to make this more spectacular would be the volcano blowing up but I don’t have to tell you that I have no need for that. The way it is is just fine.

Sunrise at Lake Atitlan

Sunrise at Lake Atitlan

Since I was up anyways I decided to go for a walk. After I had decided that I want to climb one of the volcanos I first wanted to test my non existent fitness. Put it this way; I’m worried. Today’s walk was a piece of cake still I was knackered.

I picked an easy target for day one. The neighbouring village according to my South American Handbook was only four kilometres away. Even I should be able to do it. Since I am always suspicious of guide books I neglected the instructions (following the road) and decided to find my own way. I kept left at the water front and found a reasonably safe looking rope bridge which I crossed. I entered the “real” Panajachel.

May be I should explain that first. Panajachel might be a popular destination but it isn’t exactly pretty. The setting is awesome but the village itself is nothing special. It does have character though. I prefer it to Antigua.

It still is a tourist trap and rather expensive as well. The bit I dislike most though is that you are treated like a fat rich gringo. You are constantly harassed by salespeople, restaurant people and needless to say Tuk Tuk drivers. The latter I don’t mind, it does come with the job but when someone tries to sell you junk at 6.30 AM it goes to far. What are they thinking?

Anyways, once I crossed the rope bridge things changed. I was in local territory. Everyone was chilled out, people were smiling at me saying not more than a friendly “Hola”. The local village even looks prettier than the tourist part. This’s gotta be unusual.

I followed the shore as far as I could and the view just got better and better. There were loads of people on the beach enjoying themselves. It’s good to see children playing rather than walking around selling junk. So far I quite enjoyed my little walk. It was a beautiful day, sunny but not too hot. Perfect really.

After about half an hour it turned out that the guide book was right about one thing; I should have followed the road at least if I wanted to get to the next village. I had reached a dead end. I didn’t really mind since it was quite beautiful.

People often think that Guatemala is a poor country but in that area I saw some mansions; man you gotta be seriously rich to afford them. I was a little jealous. The place were I stayed was nice but these places were something else. The view alone was priceless but some of these people created a real little paradise.

After I hit the dead end I turned around and tried to find a way to the road. I still wanted to see that village Santa Catarina Palopo. After a while I indeed found a little path that lead up to the road. I even discovered a cute little cemetery. Once I hit the road it got boring though. I went uphill higher and higher but still there was nothing to see. There was always some sort of obstruction so you couldn’t even see the lake. It took quite a while until it got better but when it did it was really good.

Santa Catarina itself was a bit of a disappointment. There really is no good reason to go there. I decided to head back. Walking up and down and let it be on a paved road took its toll. Back in Antigua I had tried out my brand new shiny sandals. I should have tried them before. They are really fancy and techi and I am sure you could climb Mt. Everest with them but not if you got my feet. Within an hour I had blisters at my heels. I’m a city slicker, my feet are soft. At least the hiking boots work out alright. Otherwise I’d be in serious trouble.

By the time I was back in the hotel I was in bits. The shape I’m in I can’t really see myself climbing a volcano. I want to go for the small one but still, this thing is 3020 m high. Even when you start at 1500 metres this is a serious hike. We’ll see. I have another training day ahead. If I manage that alright I’ll go for Mt. San Pedro next. As for now; I need a mighty steak and I know just to right place to get it.

Sunrise at Lake Atitlan

Sunrise at Lake Atitlan

Sunrise at Lake Atitlan

Sunrise at Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan - Room with a view

Lake Atitlan - Room with a view

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

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Comments

One Response to “Traing Day – Day 5”

  1. JD
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 11:29

    Wow – that is breathtaking. Not that I’m jealous or anything, you understand…

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