Antigua and Lake Atitlan

Trip Start Mar 28, 2005
Trip End Jun 09, 2005

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Saturday, May 21, 2005

Alison and I have now visited the beautiful colonial city of Antigua, where you have stunning views of the volcanoes surrounding the city. Unfortunately bad weather has finally caught up with us, I kid you not - it's colder than Scotland and wetter! I'm really thankful for that rainjacket you bought me Radha, and I can finally verify whether those expensive hiking shoes are waterproof!
We also made our way to the beautiful, mysterious Lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes and continually shrouded in mist. After staying one night in Panajachel, we took a boat trip across the lake to Santiago de Atitlan. This village was a bit of a disppointment, with crowded, dirty houses, but we still managed to visit the house of Maximone, the religious icon worshipped by the local people. The ceremony was intriguing, if not a bit comical, with the priest praying to a wooden idol draped in colourful shawls and with several cigarettes in the mouth. The room was also decked with paper decorations and strings of lightbulbs. To top it all, we heard the tunes of jingle bells being played from the twinkling lights and decorations! Pretty tacky!
The next day we made our way to the big sunday market of Chichichastenango, as colourful and cheerful as the name would suggest. Before getting down to some serious bargaining at the stalls, we first made a pilgrammage to the top of the pine hill behind the village, where religious ceremonies are performed to a stone idol signifying the god of fertility. Our aim was to ask the priest to ask the god for help in finding hardworking, sober husbands, a ceremony often performed for many a guatemalan lasses! Sadly (or maybe not!) the priest was too busy and we'll have to leave it to fate to find us good partners!
Our last day in Guatemala was spent climbing the active volvano of Pacaya. A truly adventurous experience despite suffocating from the sulfur fumes! The highlights were most definitely watching the lava flowing down the cones and skidding downhill through the black spree afterwards.
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