Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guatemala, Antigua. Thanksgiving.

Rio Dulce weekend last weekend for our visas. three days of school and then we were off to Guatemala again. This time to stay with my best friend since middle school. Kate and Alison went to the island of Utila, Matt and Philip went to the Pacific coast of Honduras and the three of us girls went to Guatemala City and then on to Antiqua. Guatemala stole my heart once again.

I was grinning and happy the whole weekend. In brief summary we ate. drank. shopped. ate. drank. looked a beautiful things on repeat for three days. 

Our journey began early Thursday morning. After learning that the only available bus tickets were quite expensive on a fancy bus we paid and made our way to the executive plus ticket waiting room for coffee and cookies. We boarded the bus only to find that our seats nearly reclined completely. (Funny story, on the first leg of the trip to Copan there were only two expensive seats available. I sat in coach :)) See picture here:

All in all our long journey that departed San pedro at 10:30 did not arrive to Gautemala City until 8:00. It was long. Three movies, served drinks. Lunches served. Boarder crossing. and we arrived. 

Our phones did not work on the journey so we trusted that Stephanie knew when we would arrive. She got us at the bus stop and immediately drove to a Steak Restaurant. We walked in and instantly forgot that we lived in our little town in Honduras. With a shared bottle of Malbec with Faye and eating incredible food. It was a long way but come dinner time we were on holiday officially.

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Stephanie lives in a fabulous apartment with charming features. She has a door man who opens the gate when we drive in, delivers water jugs, cleans her car. She has an adorable puppy and her school was incredible. Faye, Molly and I did not want to leave.

Friday morning we woke, had homemade pumpkin pie for breakfast, drank coffee and were giddy for our day ahead. I took her puppy Lola on a walk in the neighborhood. Lola and I had to fend off a few barking dogs while on our walk. Stephanie gave us a tour of her schools campus complete with the swimming pool, ipad locker for her kids, gardens and full campus. (nicer than any school I have ever seen in the states, yes including all those private fancy dancy schools).

After stopping at the Taj Mahal of outdoor shopping places in Guatemala city, for an oh so necessary latte. We were off to Antiqua. (no not the island) 

This beautiful colonial city is surrounded by volcano's and consists of cobblestone streets, lined with resturants, small coffee shops, artisans, gardens leading to old ruins, and churches. We got lost on the streets, admired the blue sky, the sun and the city. We shopped, laughed, sat on roof tops and browsed the market.

We had lunch, with wine, gin and tonic for faye, beer for Stephanie and a long island for molly. Our yummy food was our fuel for our hike scheduled at 2 pm for the volcano. The volcano hike up took around an hour and half. children in the nearby village insisted that it was "necsesario" to buy a stick (walking stick) from them. I kindly looked a boy in the eyes and said "no nesesario". ( I bought him skittles instead). With a guide leading, we hiked as locals rode by horseback alongside offered a ride on their horse for a small fee. Determined to get to the top and enjoy our roasted marshmallows from the heat of the volcanic rock we pressed on. What awaited was a sunsetting on the volcanos that lured over the city of Guatemala City. It felt a bit strange, it was dark with rock and we overlooked for miles. This volcano last erupted in 2010. (Prior it was more cone shaped but is now wide mouthed). It was beautiful yet freezing cold. We roasted our marshmallows, took a bunch of pictures and were ready to run down the trail racing against the sunset and the dropping temperature. The sun had gone behind the volcano before the end of the trail. By the end of the trail we were in darkness.... a bit scary down, and tricky with no light but so worth it.

Freezing cold but yummy marshmallow
Unreal view of Fuego. (Volcano)

 After arriving back in town we got ready quickly to go out for dinner and drinks. We shared a plate of nachos with margaritas. Friday night did not disappoint, Stephanie took us to an Irish bar called "rileys" where we danced and stayed for the rest of the night..... Around 4:00 am we made our way home and were ready for some sleep. Here are some pictures :)

Doing the Kristina dance. Apparently I snap my fingers and shrug my shoulders. 

Saturday morning I woke up around 8:00 am. Feeling rested Stephanie and I decided to go to have brunch. (I attempted at getting Molly and Faye to join but Faye kindly yelled from her slumber "Go away, go do some yoga or something!"Not arguing with her I simply told her we would be back before 11.  I must say Stephanie had bragged about multiple things that we would do on the trip and I thought for sure some would not live up to all their hype. But i was wrong. The brunch place, was incredible. A former monastery is now home to a beautiful hotel with courtyards, fountains, gardens and ruins. We ate what was probably my favorite meal since moving here. Everything from traditional guatemalan breakfast (eggs, beans, meat, tortillas) to omelette's  fresh breads, fruit, bacon, oatmeal, pupusas (corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, vegetables, meat etc.)

We finished breakfast and walked back to meet Molly and Faye. Our day was spent sightseeing, wedding watching (we saw four different weddings happening around town), food and drink eating, and wine tasting. All of us bought things to take back home with us... Antiqua this day made me officially love you. Every corner, every shop, every secret garden behind walls.. you were magical.

After sharing what we thought would be a cheese platter (in all reality it was four small tiny pieces of cheese with toast for four people, we were starving and it was ridiculous). We headed back to Guatemala City. (on our way home we saw someone exiting a chicken bus, yellow school bus from the states that is now a public transport bus, out of the back on the highway. This man had his backpack, opened the latch, held on to the ladder next to the door and closed the door. The bus was most likely going to slow down to drop him off but at the time it was still going regular speed, crazy crazy crazy)

In town.

The flowers were so pretty.

Wine shop. So nice.

Colored walls, cobblestone, blue sky.


Cheers everyone.. here is your fancy cheese plate :)

Our night was intended to continue in Guatemala City but what was a long day, and what had been an even longer night kept us at home. We went to dinner, and then found ourselves freezing cold back at Stephanie's apartment. (Side note, when it is 55 degrees or 50 outside in the States you have heat inside, but in central America there is no heat, so it is that cold in your house, and our now central American adapted skin does not appreciate it. We were so chilly). Our bus was set to leave at 6 am so watching Harry Potter in spanish on Stephanies tv and relaxing before our long bus journey was the perfect end to an incredible weekend.

Our bus journey was well, interesting  In short we rode the cheap bus home, that just so happens to sell more tickets than seats which left people sitting on paint buckets and or standing in the middle aisle for the 7.8 hour journey. Upon arriving at the border we realized that we had come all the way North and were at the same border crossing we had made just the weekend before on my birthday(not to confuse you, but on Thursday going to Guatemala City we crossed the border in Copan, middle of Honduras, and this border is on the coast up North.) We made it to San Pedro, got on our second bus to our town and just as I spoke about how quick this journey was we hit a pot hole and the tire busted. A quick change and a few photos later,.... we were home.

Why yes of course it is appropriate to pull up your collared shirt to change the tire.

Please see Molly in the window, posing :)
A bit behind on updates... will try and play catch up this weekend.

Ps: Two weeks from Sunday I am home. CANNOT WAIT

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