Flores & Tikal.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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la canoa

Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, March 14, 2005

From Antigua it was on to Flores the nearest town of consequence to the northern Tikal Mayan ruins. This was a full day of buses again (3 different ones). We enjoy travelling with the traditional Mayan Guatemalan people on the buses and watching the scenery go by. Flores is an island town in a lake joined by a causeway to its twin town of Santa Elena. We found (at a touts recommendation, something we do not normally do) some very cheap accommodation equivalent to about $10A a night with our own bathroom and met some interesting fellow travellers from Poland, USA and Swizterland. The first evening we went to dinner with the Polish couple and had a great time talking about Poland which was not an intended destination for this trip. Wojtek and Krystina were heading on the next morning but after dinner invited us to visit them in Poland should our itinerary change. Our second day was spent relaxing, sightseeing and attending to the laundry, groceries, Internet etc. we also took a boat ride on the lake at sunset for a couple of dollars.

We discovered that night that at some stage we had been robbed of our binoculars, our corkscrew and a book. We retraced to the times out luggage had been out of our sight and realised it had happened back in Zipolite, Mexico when we had left our luggage for a few hours at the hotel supposedly in their safekeeping. We were NOT HAPPY!!! The binoculars were quite expensive and it is so inconvenient not having the binoculars and corkscrew.
We were telling our misfortunes to some young Swiss travellers over a drink and added that this was on top of loosing our Swiss army knife when we had our camper accident back in Oz. One lad was interpreting this to the other when the one who didn't speak English jumped up and went to his room. He shortly returned presenting us with a Swiss army knife!! It was explained to us that he was in both the fire brigade and the army so had been provided with two issues. We were very pleased to accept this amazing generosity from a total stranger. Renews ones faith!!.

The next day it was up early to catch a bus to take us to the famous Mayan jungle ruins at Tikal. Wow! It is hard to describe the stunning beauty of the ruins that rise out of the jungle. First occupied in 600 BC, most of the buildings date from 300 BC to 900 AD and include 6 towering megalith structures of temples and many other buildings with inscriptions and beautiful carvings. It was all lost to the jungle until discovered in 1848. A traditional Mayan ceremony was in progress in the main square (see photo) and this is not common so we were extremely lucky to see this. We climbed every ruin that was climbable and walked the 10 km or so required to see the most important ruins. Some of the climbs included very high rickety ladders.

Time to leave Guatemala behind. The traditional Mayan people are just lovely. They are small people, gentle, caring with colourful clothes. They never hassle for a sale but are greatful if you buy. They donīt treat us with disdain in that we canīt speak Spanish but laugh along with us as we act out what we want or struggle with our Spanish phrase book. And the buses!!!! Such a theatre in themselves. But climbing the volcano and the Tikal ruins rate so very high. We will always have fond memories of Guatemala. 

Footnote: Tikal National Park is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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