Questions and answers (about) transport.
Despues de las diez semanas, me gusta todavia siempre viajar :-)
The list with places I have seen within the last 2 weeks is long and could have been a lot shorter if the public-transport in Guatemala was as well as in Mexico and if the people in Guatemala were be able to say: "No se." and not invent an answer if they do not know the right one. If you ask 10 persons in Guatemala the same question, you are lucky if you get 2 the same answers, certainly if the question is about transport...
The old American school-busses they use for public-transport are a little older and shorter than the one they use in Belize. But the drivers think that they can put a lot more people inside...
The following places I have seen within the last 2 weeks, but I will give only a description of the places where I spend some time. In following order:
1- Fray Bartolome; I wanted to follow a different and more beautiful route from Poptun to Semuc Champey and I ended up to spend the night in Fray. 3 Different sources told my that it was possible to go from Fray to Semuc, but when I arrived in Fray it turned out to be impossible. Ok, Fray is not that bad, perhaps a little boring, but lucky I was not the only one who was wrong informed.
4- Semuc Champey, finally. You need a map to see how crazy the route was, but the view was beautiful! Semuc is a kind of a big, low limestone "bridge" shaped by nature. On this "bridge" are some small pools and waterfalls with blue water (when it has not been raining) Underneath this "bridge" seemed almost that the wild river Rio Cahabon disappears into the ground. This is fascinating to see. i heard that it was also possible to go under the "bridge", but because of the rain at night, next morning our tour-guide had to skip that part :-(
7- Biotopo del Quetzal; A nice nature reserve, with a humid but beautiful vegetation. This is suppose to be one of the few places in Guatamala where you can see a Quetzal (they're national bird) in nature. Unfortunately I had not that luck. It was also pity that the trails were not that long and on some you could hear the traffic sound from the highway.
8- Coban; I found it not as bad to visit as most people told me. Just a city with its advantages and disadvantages and its good and bad places.
9- Ciudad de Guatemala, is suppose to be very dangerous, but I had to be there to change my bus to Antigua. On my way to the bus stop I finally found (new) mountaineering boots in my size (12.5) for only 75Quetzales (7.5 Euro)! They even sold shoes in size 15! I want to meet the person in Guatemala who needs that shoe-size????
10- Antigua, or anti car, like someone last week commented, because of the bumpy streets. I found it a nice student/tourist town, that still looks colonial.
For one week I would be one of those student/tourists but in the weekend I first climbed Pacaya and visited Chichi.
11- Volcano Pacaya, a light active volcano near Antigua. The hike on this volcano was nice, especial the last part. Walking on and between black mountains, sometimes surrounded by clouds, it seemed almost as if I was walking in Modor (Lord off the Rings). If the clouds and stinky smoke, on the top, cleared up for a moment, you had a beautiful view in and around the volcano!
13- Los Eneventros
14- Chichicastenango, famous for her handicraft market on Sundays. I agree, it's a good place to buy nice and cheap souvenirs.
Seven nights staying with a local family in Antigua (with 2 other students) and 5 days with totally 20 hours of private lessons Spanish, later. I think it's more difficult and tired to study Spanish than to travel. But I knew that it wouldn't be easy to learn Spanish in only one week. Also with a Spanish/English speaking teacher, while even my English is still not perfect... After all I think I have still learn a lot and it can be useful during the following 8 and a half month...
16- San Pedro; A small local, but also touristic town on Lago de Atitlan, where some "streets" are only 1 metre wide and covered with sand and (lose) rocks. It's not a very beautiful town, but you can swim in the beautiful and clear lake and you can also climb up the inactive volcano San Pedro, from where you have an amazing view over the lake!
17,18 en 19 If you really want to see some local villages you should visit Sant Juan, San Pablo and San Marcos. Only if you 're planning to walk to those villages, don't be surprised if there stops at 16:15h a police car in front of you to ask if you are carrying a gun with you? That was really the first thing the asked my, un poco loco.......