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  • ... such an amazing place and incredibly beautiful view! We took a Tuktuk at 4:30 and after a short 20min walk we arrived. Far away among others, we could see Volcano “Fuego”, for me definitely the Volcano with the best name ever, and it did break out a little from time to time ?. Nothing more to say here, check out the pics!

  • 20 years ago, I bought a silk Mughal court painting just before leaving India, and while it made its slow boat route to St. Louis, I spent the rest of the year traveling. I also spent the rest of my savings, so when we met up again I couldn't afford to get it framed how I wanted. Until last week, and it was joined in quick succession by these two chairs we had made in San Juan. A big empty room now has a painting, two chairs, and a rug. And lots of light.

    Now my best friend's son, my namesake, is traveling in India, and I'm a middle aged homeowner enjoying sitting in my new chair, looking at that painting . The cycle keeps turning, and I find myself thinking, Clark, get a painting, bring it back, and when you've found where home will be, get it nicely framed. But don't wait 20 years.
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  • It's was raining, cold, and I was going 50ish km/h downhill. The water drops were like little plastic pellets hitting me in the face, partly blinding me while I was riding. I therefore graciously accepted a ride in a pickup that was carrying a hitchhiker Id met earlier in the day.

  • After climbing up to the 900 m pass, past many villages along a much gentler stretch of road, we started descending back to the river only to have one of the bolts attaching Karl's front rack snap. While he struggled to extract the broken piece, a pick-up stopped to ask if we needed help, and we met Donald, the director of Choice Humanitarian's SIKAAB'E Development Centre, and US volunteer Jolene. Since their centre was just 2 km down the hill, they offered to give Karl and his gear a ride to their shop where they had more tools we could use to extract the broken bolt. After trying a series of different sets of pliers, the solution came from drilling out of the centre of the bolt. With the repair complete, Donald gave us a tour of the centre, and we learned a lot about how much of Guatemala's agriculture has shifted from self sufficiency to growing cash crops like cardamom, cacao, coffee, and sugar; forcing families to survive on corn and beans bought in distant markets. The main goal of the centre is to revitalize self sufficiency in these communities and provide training in better agriculture practices, carpentry, cooking and hospitality so that people can take knowledge back to their communities and continue to spread positive change. It was inspiring to hear and see the positive impact Choice has had on the people living in the small mountain towns we rode through. The centre has also recently built two cute little cabins with an amazing view over the valley, so should be offering accomodation to two and four-wheeled travellers in the near future.Read more

  • We were lucky to get to climb Volcan Tajumulco, the highest mountain in Central America. Carl picked us up at 3:30 am and we drove through the night to the base of the volcano. The first rays of light broke over the horizon as we started hiking and the views just kept getting better as we got higher and higher. Since it was the Saturday of the Easter weekend, throngs of other people were also hiking the volcano - families with children and small babies, women in traditional dress, and even folks doing Mayan religious ceremonies. From the 4220 m summit we could see many of the surrounding volcanoes, including Acatenango and Fuego (which was erupting the entire time we were on the summit) near Antigua, Atitlan, near Lago Atitlan, Zunil, Santa Maria and Satiaguito (also erupting) near Xela, and Tacaná, the sister volcano to Tajumulco. By noon we were back down at the Jeep gorging on watermelon, and by 3 pm we were enjoying a delicious pizza dinner in Xela. It was a great day off the bikes, and a treat to get such a beautiful day to climb the volcano. Thanks to Warmshowers host Carl for taking us to hike Tajumulco!Read more

  • Cool little island town. We had no money bacuase tours to Tikal are expensive so we stayed in a cheap lake view hostel and eat every meal at this restaurant owned by a very nice lady we called Consuelo. She was the closest thing to a grandmother we felt all trip.

  • A cultural experience awaited us here. Jeff and I walked into a nearby town and saw true underdeveloped, third-world lifestyle. It was sn eye-opening appreciation of the lives that we are fortunate enough to live.
    We also saw some of the beautiful handwork that is done here.

  • After a smooth and somewhat casual border crossing, we made it to Guatemala! We arrived later than anticipated, and so found ourselves hiking an eerie pitch black path round a lake to reach our accommodation. Despite our late arrival, we booked on to the 5:30am shuttle bus to Tikal... whilst getting up at 5 was not our favourite thought, the site is at its most calm at dawn before the big crowds descend for the day. The first 40 minutes we wandered around the vast jungle site without seeing a soul so the early get up was worth it. For us the Gran Plaza was the most impressive point where the ruins have been completely uncovered (main picture). Many of the other Mayan temples around the site are still covered in thick tree roots and vegetation so it took a little more imagination. Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us and by 11am we were drenched through so decided to jump on a minibus back!

    Today we've had a leisurely morning enjoying all the jungle sounds from our cabin and even managed to spot a family of howler monkeys! Another dreaded night bus tonight and tomorrow we will arrive in pretty, colonial Antigua. Good job we noticed our accommodation booking in a completely different city before rocking up there tomorrow with our bags...
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  • After another freezing cold night bus and arriving in Guatemala City at 4:30am we navigated our way successfully to Antigua, the best preserved colonial town in all of Central America. The streets are packed full of tourists (Guatemalan and foreign) as it is Semana Santa - the Holy Week leading up to Easter weekend. We didn't quite realise just how big Easter was here - turns out more of a celebration than Christmas!

    We have been exploring the little cobbled streets and the numerous ruins - the town is impressively surrounded by volcanoes (only one still active) - which are the cause of numerous large earthquakes over the centuries. Today we went on a coffee plantation tour with farmer Timo from a local co op who let us have a go at making our own coffee from bean to grinding it. Fair to say the freshest coffee have ever tasted and even H liked it! We were invited back to Timo's casa for lunch with him and his family at the end of the coffee making for a traditional Guatemalan feast!

    Friday we are heading to Rio Dulce on the Caribbean side, during the main national holiday, so I should say attempting to head there! We apparently have transport booked which will get us there but let's just keep fingers crossed.
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  • Back to warm and muggy climates in the jungle of Rio Dulce, we are staying in a beautiful water lodge which can only be reached by small boat. We are completely cut off from the town until we check out so have been enjoying swimming off the jetty, the sun (when it's not a tropical downpour) oh and trying to sort out the fact our bank card has been skimmed and our money spent in Baltimore (US)!

    It's hot (32C) and humid here but kept manageable by a breeze coming from the huge river. Hopeful not to get eaten by crocodiles or manatees, we are catching a boat about 2 hours downstream to Livingston, a small Caribbean village also only reachable by boat, which is our last stop for a couple of nights before we head back to Belize!
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