24.06.2012 - 25.06.2012
We woke up to sunshine which showed Antigua in its true beauty. Cobbled streets and colonial buildings surrounded by 3 large volcanoes, one of which is erupting.
We celebrated by going for a morning coffee in Parque Central (a plaza) and watching the cosmopolitan crowd going about their Sunday mornings. We then went for a quick stroll through the market before meeting up with some friends in a sports bar to watch the England-Italy game. It was a little surreal walking in off the cobbled streets into this huge sports bar full of locals and foreigners... the vast majority of who appeared to be supporting Italy. We used the defeat to sample a generous portion of Guatemalan beer.
After the game we returned to the hostel for a dinner of pasta, before meeting up with friends again to eat cake in the plaza – an activity instigated by ourselves because we thought the original plan of more drinks was a tad extravagant.
After a less than restful night (possible cake overdose plus possibly the most uncomfortable bed in Guatemala), we went for a trip to the market to hunt for bargains.
The market was so vast and consisted of stalls of everything and anything you could possibly imagine – fruit stalls next to mobile phone stalls next to shoe shops next to butchers next to pay to use toilets! We made several attempts at bartering but it seemed our suggestions were a combination of hilarious and/or offensive to the market-tellers and we eventually left empty handed... but not before we spent nearly an hour searching for the food section in the market which we had been told was cheap and tasty. We eventually found it and it was cheap, and it was indeed tasty - and also extremely filling.
This afternoon we have travelled by bus to Lago de Atitlan, a huge lake in Western Guatemala considered by many to be one of the most scenic places in the country. We have arrived fairly late but from what we have seen it does look pretty special. We are staying in a small town called San Pedro as it is the best place to book tours and activities here – tomorrow we have a guided hike (just the 2 of us and our personal guide) around several lakeside villages. We plan to stay in the village we like the best from the tour as there is a loud bongo club down the road and our neighbours are evidently big fans of Israeli dance music – Lago de Atitlan is meant to be a quite a tranquil place!!