April 2018 - May 2021
Currently traveling
  • Day1

    Packing like a Champ

    April 9, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 2 °C

    I wasn't planning on blogging this trip, especially since it's just a two-and-a-half weeker, but then I read someone else's blog about how to pack for a trip and I was motivated. In her advice, amongst others, she said she brought 12 pairs of underwear. 12. Backpacking. The entire concept behind backpacking is being self sufficient and clever about what to bring, pieces that have multiple purposes. I have 3 pairs of underwear - 2 of which I like and rotate between everyday, one of which is likely to stay in my bag until the very last day when I give up on laundry and wear them for my return. Side note - why is it called a pair of underwear if it's just one piece?

    I have with me my brand new, never been broken into Lowe Alpine Z Duo 30. 30L of beautiful, sleek black organization. Although truth be told - I don't know if it's actually less then 30L or if Jack's 20L bag is actually bigger then that, but my things fit quite snug in my bag, and fit in the exact same "snug-ness" in Jack's bag. Who knows.

    Before every trip, I pack everything I want to bring with me inside the bag, to make sure it all fits, and then I remove what I'll be wearing on the flight. That way I'm 100% sure everything will fit along the way. Pleasures of a small bag - no overhead compartment is too small, no mini bus is too packed, I can keep it with me on any transportation instead of paying the fee to stick it underneath or on top, and it's light enough to carry with me during the day if we don't plan on returning to the same accommodation at night (which is always because for some reason, Jack likes to 'switch it up' everyday).

    Packing list (for warm weather, where we plan on hiking) - keeping in mind, my clothing is mostly men's, so this list is more user friendly for the masculine folk, I'll include a list of Jack's packing after :

    Sexy backpack (30L)
    Pacsafe day bag (with my anxiety, this is my security blanket, definitely not a must, but gives me peace of mind - it has these theft proof features like you can't cut through the fabric and zippers clip shut)

    Clothing:
    3 shirts - one long sleeve for cooler days, 2 short sleeve t-shirts (quick dry, antimicrobial to stop them smells)
    2 sports bras (one which looks decent as a swim top)
    3 underwear (quick dry, antimicrobial)
    1 pant (quick dry again, always important to dry overnight)
    1 pair of shorts (you know it, quick dry)
    2 pairs of socks (antimicrobial is most important, it's impressive how long they won't smell)
    1 pair of hiking shoes
    1 pair of walking sandals
    1 belt (my weight fluctuates everyday when traveling, mostly since I can't eat for my first few days, yay anxiety)
    1 thin sweater (since it will be mostly warm weather)
    1 rain jacket
    1 bathing suit bottom (shorts for me)
    1 bluff (that round neck scarf thing - useful for neck sun protection during hikes, can be shaped into a hat if cold, and classic sweat rag)
    1 sarong (my towel, my pillow cover, my added bus padding, my beach cover, anything!)

    All of my clothing fits in 2 packing cubes. Packing cubes are a must - keeps everything organized and compact. So when it's colder I can wear my long sleeve t-shirt, my sweater and my rain jacket while using my bluff as a tuque. Layers.

    Cosmetic bag includes all mini travel size bottles - shampoo (my short hair can live without conditioner for a few weeks), soap bar in a soap box, sunscreen, hair jel, toothbrush and paste, pill bottle of mixed pharmacy, razor, tweezers, and a 'mini' first aid kit which basically consists of 2 band-aids and polysporin (my nursing friends would be ashamed).

    I have a 'laundry baggy' which has a laundry soap bar (not liquid), a travel clothe line, a universal sink plug and I threw in a couple hydration tablets in case Jack decides to get food poisoning again.

    Odds and ends :
    Baseball cap
    Headlamp
    Water bottle
    Steripen (our new baby - look it up, this thing sounds awesome - with our water bottle, we should be able to sterilize any tap water abroad and therefore avoid buying bottled water)
    3-way plug splitter (if fighting for a plug in a dorm - I can split one 3 ways)
    Pack of MiniEggs - a must.

    In the day bag:
    Camera (I used to have a DSLR but found it too heavy and big, I now have a Sony a6000)
    Tablet (mostly used for airport entertainment)
    Cellphone
    Wallet (obviously)
    Pens (literally only for immigration cards)
    Phone and tablet chargers

    That's it, that's all. Never bring an 'in case', never over think it, everything is washable and dries overnight. Always keep up with laundry - washing underwear and a t-shirt every night takes 4 minutes and allows you to carry a much smaller load. You just have to get used to seeing each in the same outfits on repeat.

    Jack's variations - she's in a 20L Osprey Tempest backpack. Her packing cubes are higher quality then mines which allows her to really keep her clothing compact and organized. As for clothing - she has a summer dress, 1 pant, 1 tank top, 1 undershirt, and 1 t shirt, and has a dress shirt to throw on top of her tank top or undershirt. Obvious all quick dry, mostly antimicrobial. 2 socks, 2 underwear. She keeps her makeup to bare minimum - mascara, eye shadow and lipstick. She has hiking boots, they're huge when comparing to my hiking shoes but with the volcanoes she plans on hiking - apparently necessary. And believe it or not - they fit inside her bag, none of this tied to the outside and flopping around non sense. Her 'day bag' is a miniature purse the size of the travel book. Oh ya - she has the travel book. And an eye mask - princess needs her darkness to sleep.

    That sums it up. That's advice from two very light packers. And when I cross other traveller's with 50-60L bags, my shoulders hurt for them. You take away the movability when you add all that weight and size.

    Have fun travelling! I'll let you know how Guatemala goes! Booked the tickets Friday, left Monday, don't have our first night booked because we're hoping to arrive at 645pm as scheduled, and head straight to the bus station for an overnight bus to Flores. We'll see how that goes!
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    Carole Richard

    Wish we could pack so lightly! Thanks for sharing. xo

    4/9/18Reply
    Kelsi Mannseichner

    I like how your apartment moved to the US since Friday.

    4/9/18Reply
    Kelsi Mannseichner

    Also, have fun! ❤️

    4/9/18Reply
     
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  • Day2

    Nap Time

    April 10, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 37 °C

    Success! At least for the most part. Landed in Guatemala city around 6.40pm, made our way to 3 ATM machines in the airport - none worked. Used our little US cash to get the taxi to drop us at the Linea Dorado bus station, because apparently public transportation, especially after dark, is a no-no. Used a credit card to purchase our bus tickets leaving for 9pm. Again, no ATMs to be found, not that I felt very good about looking for one. Guate is known for it's pickpocketers and purse-snatchers, so having no cash on us was A-OK with me!

    Took a mini walk 2 blocks down from the bus station and randomly stumbled upon a street filled with vendors! Found a guy that accepted our 2USD and he made us our first of likely many tortillas. The bus ride itself was thankfully entirely uneventful. Mostly consisted of me bitterly watching Jack sleep like a baby. I'm am still amazed, to this day, at her sleeping abilities.

    The thing with night buses - we arrived at 5.45am. Not much open at 5.45am. Not much at all. We got to Santa Elena which was what we booked for our bus, and the driver started going down the isle yelling "Flores! Flores!". Having to wake up (well Jack at least) and gather our things at 5.45am on a random side street only for the two white girls to get out of the bus alerted our spidey senses! Thankfully a white dude joined us in wanting to continue to Flores, and there was a lovely tourist van waiting for us to get in. Turns out it was included in the price of the ticket to get us to Flores, a little island, but the big bus couldn't go on the bridge. Apparently sometimes you can trust the people! The sun was out, so we set out to explore Flores at 6am!

    Within 1.5 hours we had circled the island and made our way into it's town Centre. Turns out - planning a full day to explores Flores was not needed. Flores is a miniature island, connected to Santa Elena by a bridge / causeway. Santa Elena is a huge town and yet our travel book (and a friend's wise advice) says there's nothing interesting there, all traveller's stay on Flores. Which is hilarious if you look at a map. Flores is tiny! Not even a kilometer in diameter. But beautiful colors everywhere, every building has it's own unique look, people have been very welcoming and nice. There's water all around us (obviously, it's an island) with beautiful green hills on the mainland. It's just very clearly a construction made for tourists. Considering how pretty it is, I'm ok with that!

    Tired from the long journey over, and hungry, we set our eyes for breakfast and a bed. I ate more then half! I call that a success for a second meal somewhere strange! See that's the thing with central America - the countries tend to be very similar, so this all seems familiar. I don't feel entirely lost. So I get to eat!

    Find a bed that will allow us to check in at 8am - check. Nap - check for Jack. I again watched her sleep bitterly - with what seemed to be palpitations but would likely kill. Maybe this isn't as familiar as I thought.

    After a well deserved 2.5 hour nap (we're on vacation!) we set out to wonder around town. And then found ourselves on a boat taxi heading to San Miguel. Then hiking to a view point were I was winded and sweaty by the end. Then wondered around trails to make our way back. Then boat taxi back - which this time around was half the price of our way over. Trick - always get on a boat with locals. Don't ask the price. Look at what others hand over and either give the same, or if you can't tell hand a bill over and put your hand out expending change. This way you look like you know what it should cost, even though you have no clue.

    Our Steripen's first day out! We filled our water bottle in the sink at the hotel. Steripen'ed it. Finished the bottle along our hike, found a random hose spraying into the street. Filled our water bottle again and Steripen'ed it. We'll see by tomorrow if any of this is a good idea, but so far I feel like it's my best purchase yet!

    I sign off, while I enjoy a Frappuccino - like a grown up with money! Jack is justifying our lavish spending as a birthday gift for herself - I think we can afford the 4$ drink!

    Oh ya, it's Jack's birthday. Woop Woop!
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  • Day3

    Tikal

    April 11, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    The "can't miss" Mayan ruins, Tikal. We're not usually the types to do the big name attractions while travelling - Jack skipped Angkor Wat in Cambodia for Pete's sake! But we decided to make Tikal the exception since neither Jack or I had ever seen Mayan history. Thankfully it wasn't overcrowded at all! A quick 70Q (12$CAD) each for transportation there and back (an hour away from Flores, where most people base themselves) but no guide. Fear not, thanks to our trusty travel guide and my maps.me GPS - we could make our own guided tour, reading about the different sites from our book, confirming we're at the right one with my phone.

    Side note - shout out to the app maps.me, free maps that I download before every new country onto my phone - my GPS can follow me incredibly well throughout the country. I can even look things up like hotels or ATMs with no internet needed. I've been amazed at how much details, including trails, the app has. You literally can't get lost, which makes me incredibly happy, where as Jack finds it 'too safe' or 'no fun'.

    What to say about the site itself? It's huge. So many pyramids, so tall, so many stairs to climb up for view points - all of which are worth it (which means a lot coming for me!) Just the walk from settlement to settlement was absolutely beautiful jungle-esk trails, birds chirping all around. Google photos - there aren't too many words to describe massive rock pyramids built 1300 years ago hidden away in the jungle... My take away from Tikal though is I'm not climbing the big volcano, no way!

    As every super touristy spot overcharges for food, we were good backpackers and brought ourselves lunch! We were hoping to grab fresh tortillas but since Flores is a bubble for tourists, there are no street sellers to buy tortillas from. So we grab the toasts from our breakfast, peanut butter and bananas. Open-faced banana-peanut-butter sandwich, winner!

    Once back in Flores, the heat of the day called us to the water! A quick swim with the locals is always a good experience. I call my swimming time "the jaw dropper". I'd love to say it's because I look so good in a bathing suit, but no. I still often pass as male, so when I dip in a body of water, even with a t-shirt on since it seemed like the right thing to do (all locals were fully dressed in the water), my shirt tends to kling to my chest and down the jaws go. I tend to avoid eye contact with anyone around me at all cost, but Jack gets the full effect.

    Backpacker tip #? - eat dinner next to the place everyone tells you to go! Locals and tourists alike were telling us to go to Skybar for a drink - it's 2 floors up, great view on the water. We went to the restaurant behind it, 3 floors up, with the same great view and food half the price. We could see Skybar was full of tourist from where we were quietly sitting, alone in a nature-friendly balcony, petting the family dog.

    To end the day - I'll be real with you all about a moment of disagreement that comes up every once in a while between Jack and I. She likes the challenge of finding the cheapest way of doing anything. It's both a question of budget, and being closer to the locals. I agree, for the most part. But when everyone on the island can sell you a bus ticket to Rio Dulce, our next destination, for 100Q (17$CAD) I'm not going to look for hours for another solution. Jack on the other hand will spend 20 minutes on her phone during drinks on a lovely patio, then another 15 minutes once back in our room to figure out where the local buses leave from (not on Flores, somewhere in Santa Elena which is right then and there at least a 30 minute walk) and how we get there. I on the other hand, can appreciate that we are both successful adults, and we can afford the few extra dollars of convenience. In case you're wondering, I won. So we booked our Shuttle Bus to Rio Dulce.
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  • Day5

    One Long Bridge, One Long Night

    April 13, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Our wonderful tourist shuttle bus dropped us in front of the Backpackers Inn in Rio Dulce. The dilemma - break our rule about staying in the first place we check out, or look elsewhere which will likely be more expensive? From everything we've read, these dorm beds were as cheap as it gets. We continued our stress-free streak and stayed in their 16 bed dorm (thankfully, we only had 2 roommates), and said no thank-you when we were offered sheets and pillow for an extra 15Q. If we're only paying 30Q for the bed, why would we add 50% to the price? Thinking back on it, 2,50$CAD for sheets and a pillow shouldn't have made us hesitate so long.

    Why the title you ask? Well, we thought the hostel was on the same side of the bridge as the ferry we needed to grab in morning (knowing the centre of town was on the other side), but we were wrong. We crossed the bridge 3 times. 1.1 km long, curved bridge which means uphill for half of it. One long bridge.

    Crossing the bridge for the first time was to head for the Cascadas Caliente! Hot waterfall in Finca El Paradiso. Jack finally gets a taste for her "collectivo", the beloved mini vans over packed with people. We went to the street corner our travel guide suggested, and spoke to the man standing outside a minivan. And by spoke, I mean we said "cascadas caliente?" to which he replied by pointing to the empty and unattended van across the street. One thing we've learned about this trusty transportation method - it leaves when it's full, and not before. This empty van isn't giving us hope. Little did we know, within 5 minutes a man would emerge from the corner yelling a destination we don't understand, people started piling into the van, and he walked to us and asked "Finca El Paradiso?". Sometimes, being white and clearly foreign helps, because yes, yes we are going to Finca El Paradiso. Please show us the way. Which he did. To the same van. Success!

    Absolutely amazing experience. 45 minutes in a minivan and we're dropped by the side of the road, where a farmer stands from his bench and signals us over. He then asks for 15Q per person, the entrance fee. Sure. Then said something in Spanish, of which I understood "caminare" and "quince minutes" or something along those lines. Don't worry - my Spanish is improving by the day! My interpretation - follow this path for 15 minutes to your destination. Done.
    On this path, we meet farmer number 2, who introduces himself and does this one arm side hug to both Jack and I, sweaty cheeks touching, ever so slightly awkward. But nice guy... Finally, we meet farmer number 3, who says (at least what I interpreted) that his job was to watch our stuff while we go swimming. You got it!

    Off we go in this clear, cold water. Swim up to the waterfall, sulphur smells increasing by the inch, and touch this incredibly hot - can barely get under - waterfall. The feeling of your body being in cold water yet hot water falling on your head was surreal. I haven't seen too many sites as cool as this one. Just a few local families enjoying the same beautiful nature setting. We stayed 2 hours taking it all in, and as we start leaving a tourist group arrived - 15 of them. Our timing was perfect!

    As we wait for the collectivo back to town, a lovely gentleman called Roberto was generous enough to stop and give us a ride back to town. Now some of you might say it isn't safe to hitch hike in Guatemala, to you I say - I wasn't hitch hiking, my thumb wasn't out, he's just a really nice guy! Jack just hopped in the car that stopped near us and I followed. Also, how can a guy who looked for his Barry Manilow music because it was in English, be bad? We all sang "... Copa, Copa Cabana!" together.

    We then proceeded to have the worse sleep ever - sheetless, music blaring from the restaurant and from the other side of the bridge, and massive truck engines roaring when trying to make it up the bridge over top of us. But, 30Q!
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  • Day6

    Jungle Bliss

    April 14, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Our first stay in a reserved room! We actually booked something ahead of arriving, and that's because we're going to the middle of no where. No town. No second option in case it's full. Just this one, secluded, beautiful place along Rio Tatin, a branch off the Rio Dulce. Wooden furniture, hammocks galore, clear water to swim in, and trails to walk the jungle. What more could we ask for?

    We splurged for a private room for 2 days. And by that, I mean hostel beds were 60Q each, so total 120Q whereas the room was 130Q. Tough call. The usual cold shared cold shower, but after a day in this heat and humidity, the cold shower is always welcomed!

    Water side hammocks for a nap (considering the not-so-amazing sleep from the night before) motivated us to go for a hike. I should get paid by maps.me considering how much I promote it, but it allowed us to hike to the Tiger Caves without a guide and without getting lost! Thought the caves were gated and locked (one way to assure people pay for a guide to go), the walk was full jungle, thick vegetation, river and creeks everywhere, and gorgeous. Hot as heck, humid as heck, but gorgeous. I failed at my goal to see a toucan, but I'll keep trying!

    Today was a kayak trip on the Rio. And by that, I mean we rowed very casually for an hour and a half, exploring mangroves and relatively large houses along the waterfront. We've actually been impressed by the money Guatemala seems to have... This is not to be condescending in any way, but from the moment we arrived we've been impressed by their organization - buses leave on time, luxury buses are actually nice, there's provided toilet paper everyone! People who've traveled this end of the world know that sometimes toilet paper is hard to come by, so you bring your own. I have yet to use mine! Gas stations with flushing toilets and provided toilet paper. Impressed. All this to say there's some impressive mansions on the Rio - assumedly vacation homes for some locals.

    Fill in the rest of our day with lounging on the deck, or in a hammock, reading a book or blogging to catch up on previous days (sorry for the triple upload!).

    Even diner was great family-style diner, where for a set price you share a bunch of dishes. Vegetarian options for Jack and everything!

    No need to go on for hours, look at the photos. I'm feeling relax, had myself a vacation for 2 days while traveling, and onwards we go!
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  • Day7

    Livingston

    April 15, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    Where the Garifuna people live. Jack here: The Garifuna are afro-carribean people who came from West Africa and St. Vincent, survived shipwrecks before establishing themselves/being relocated to Roatan(Honduras) and Livingston(Guatemala). Totally different people with a different culture, language, skin color and obviously different vibe. Back to Freddie: It was interesting to walk through the town from one end to another, going completely rural into the residential area and seeing how segregated the Mayan and Garifuna people were. According to one lovely Garifuna man we met, the business and the money is owned by the Mayans and the Garifuna people are mostly on the outskirts of town. Much more of a Caribbean vibe the what we've seen in the rest of Guatemala!Read more

  • Day8

    Guatemala City

    April 16, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ 🌬 18 °C

    Coming back from Livingston, we took an afternoon bus from Puerto Barrios to Guatemala city, arriving after dark so we made our way directly to the hostel we had booked 2 blocks away from the bus station. I don't venture off in the dark. Jack here: Fred was also a deer, ironically their Mayan birth symbol as well. Their eyes scurrying around, ears perked to the absolute worst case scenario despite it being totally fiiiine. Back to Freddie we go.

    We spent the next day enjoying Guatemala city before making our way to La Antigua. A free walking tour was advertised, so obviously we did that! Met our lovely guide in the central plaza after walking down 6th Avenue (Paseo de la Sexta). We basically just walked around the historical part of the city, Zona 4, which was everything you'd expect from a city - pigeon square and all. Learned about the Civil War. The city had a "protesting" vibe to it with tons of posters denouncing the government for its corruption, speaking against violence against women, Jack had a blast reading all the signs and graffiti. The people watching in Parque Central - pigeon square - was at it's finest!

    We finished off our walking tour in the central market, eating a local meal we couldn't quite recognize and definitely couldn't pronounce.

    As in most big cities, the difference between the rich and the poor became blatantly obvious. Beautiful massive buildings with amazing stone carving next to people who you wonder when was their last decent meal.

    Jack again: I like cities and this one didn't disappoint! Most traveller's skip it, which is sad. It was great to be in a Guatemalan city not particularly geared towards me or tourism but just being itself. As mentioned, the protest vibes helped!
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  • Day9

    Antigua

    April 17, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Antigua, the town everyone loves for it's European style beauty. Meh.
    It was a very pretty town, but not for its colonial features, but rather for its multi-colored walls, gorgeous surrounding mountains and volcanoes, and beautifully maintained central park. Every town has it's central plaza - usually with a government building on one end, and a church on another. This one was no different, but there was always life, kids playing around, ladies selling usually relatively useless trinkets, and men sitting around chatting. It was slightly more challenging to find inexpensive food since this is such a touristic town - everything was geared towards the international patron - Chinese and Italian food of plenty but not much cheap Guatemalan food.

    Being the original capital of Guatemala, it did have some amazing older buildings, mostly churches, from the 16th century - partially or mostly destroyed by earthquakes in the 17th century. Or something along those lines. Anywho - beautiful ruins of churches, with amazing carvings and massive pillars.

    We walked up to a view point Cerro de la Cruz. I was winded and tired when we reached the top, which for me confirmed I wasn't doing a volcano hike with Jack. If I can barely breath after 20 minutes of stairs, there's no way I'm doing a 5 hour hike! How I changed my mind you asked? A cute girl at the hostel convinced me... Lol

    Antigua seems like the town you go to when you've spent a long time travelling and you need a break from it all, and you sit and enjoy a nice latte or glass of wine. We haven't been traveling very long so this wasn't needed.
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  • Day11

    Acatenango

    April 19, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    We started asking the different outfitters about the Acatenango hike for Jack. First one - 129$ US, but they don't leave until Saturday (we are Tuesday at this point). Next one - 89$, also only leaves Saturday. Better price, not better timing.

    Finally we stumble upon Wicho and Charlie - a hostel which offers its own hike. 450Q, so 62$ and they offered free breakfast the departure morning, which the others did not! Now I know price shouldn't mean everything considering this is a big hike with lots of equipment needed, but we did read a couple reviews and they seemed just as well reputed as the others. Bonus - their Basecamp was already set up, so we didn't have to carry a tent like the other outfitters, score! In comes cute girl - telling me I'll regret not doing it, that it's easier then people make it seem, that if she can do it, I can do it... I didn't want to give in, considering I've regretted every hike I've ever done, but she spoke my language : "10 minutes into it, I wanted to turn around. I said fuck this. I tried to come up with an illness that would allow me to turn back. But I pushed through and it was so worth it". Sounds about right. So I signed up, and hired a porter named Balthazar to carry my backpack for me. I had a borrowed winter jack, hat, gloves and 6L of water in the bag! It weighed a tone! Lol. I loved that man, best 200Q I've ever spent.

    Side note - we met this little Asian lady when hiking in the Maritimes on our last road trip - when we were walking up an incline (it wasn't crazy long) she was telling us about the power of meditation - she just looked at her feet and counted every step up to 10, starting over and over again. That allowed her to get into a trance like state and she could hike any mountain. She partially outran us and I gave her around 70 years old.

    So her wisdom was utilized - on the day of the hike, I just stared at my feet, and kept putting one foot in front of the other. Kept my mind blank, unlike my usual thoughts of "fuck this, this is shit, I'm turning back". With Balthazar by my side, I actually did pretty good! Granted, it helped everyone around me was slowed down by their bags, including Jack who was carrying my 30L bag, with 2L of water, this borrowed whitish winter jacket and a few extra layers of clothing. That energy bunny though was unstoppable, encouraged me throughout, was always first in the pack, first to want to keep going, it was both impressive and annoying. :)

    The average hiking time is 5 hours - we did in 4! They likely say 5 hours to make you feel proud when you arrive early, but who cares, 4 hours bitches! Balthazar did great - this 5 foot tall beer belly middle age man never broke a sweat, was barely ever winded. Says he does the mountain twice a week. Just ridiculous.

    Got to the top - popped open my Coca Cola can I bought as my reward (well that Balthazar brought) and ate my awesome chocolate brownie (food supplied by hostel). Perfect reward for 4 hours of almost torture. Trick is - we aren't at the rim yet - just at basecamp. There's another hour and a half to go, but I won't have to worry about that until tomorrow.

    As the sun set, the cold set. Slap on extra layers, zip up my gorgeous baby blue puffy jacket I borrowed, and sit close to the fire while the crazy energy bunny decided she didn't have enough and did the Fuego hike - an added 3 hour hike up the active volcano connected to ours for a closer look at the lava. Jokes on her - the clouds set in for the exact same time she was on this extra hike - she only got to see the lava once back at basecamp. I felt so bad for her, yet so happy with my decision not to go! Jack here: I loved all of it! Super proud of Freddie and myself for kicking ass. Even the Fuego hike was worth it!

    Wake up at 3.45am they say. Walk up for sunrise they say. After a sleepless night, mostly kept awake by the cold and the rumbling of the volcano next door, 3.45am was no fun. But up we went to the summit - the worst 1.5 hour yet, steep uphill on volcanic rock on which every second step you slip back one. It was so insulting to work that hard to being your foot up for the next step only to loose progress because of the rocks. Shitty hour and a half. I started getting into my usual negative head space, so to try and get out of it I started using my one hiking stick with both hands singing over and over again in my mind "row, row, row your boat". It actually helped. Fyi - only 3 out of 6 of us did the summit hike, so extra points for me!

    I'll let the photos speak for themselves as far as the view for camp and the summit. Final conclusion: Regret 2/10. Glad I did it.
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