I knew I liked this bar…. The Monoloco in Antigua, Guatemala

This one's for you Mick!

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Day 69 – Guatemala City, GU to Antigua, GU

Day 69 – Guatemala City, GU to Antigua, GU     10/29/10     Mileage: 32

 Tracy had a 5:30am ride to the airport, so I walked her down to see her off. After she was on her way, I went back to the room to use the wifi and have breakfast which was included with the room (and was excellent!). Once the bike was packed, I was off back to Antigua where I would spend a week or two in a Spanish language school. In Antigua I went back to the hotel we stayed at two nights ago where I had also stashed my big yellow dry bag for the overnight run to Guatemala City.

Back at the Casa Florencia for one more night...

This time I was on the second floor which has a great view of Volcano Agua...

They gave me a great rate so I ended up staying there again. It was still well over my budget, so tomorrow I’d have to find cheaper digs. I had an early dinner in town and went back to the hotel to enjoy the plush room and wifi.

Day 68 – Antigua, GU to Guatemala City, GU

Day 68 – Antigua, GU to Guatemala City, GU     10/28/10     Mileage: 32

 Another beautiful morning in Antigua and after breakfast it was back to the artisan market to purchase (and haggle for) the last of the souvenirs.

I thought this was an interesting fountain inside the cafe we had breakfast.

And those of you who know me well know why... 😉

 Now it was back to Guatemala City so that Tracy could catch her 7am flight tomorrow morning.

Guatemala City from the mountain road high above the city...

Once settled into the hotel, we walked out to find an early dinner and a few drinks. Tracy also, not surprisingly, did a bit more shopping and, not surprisingly again, bought a new pair of shoes. Back at the hotel we used the wifi and went through the trip pictures, but later we were both hungry again and in the mood for pizza. It wasn’t that late, but the closest pizza joint that we knew would be open was….ummm…Pizza Hut! So, we capped off the night with an authentic, genuine, medium Pizza Hut supreme. I did at least drink Guatemalan beer with it…  😉

Day 67 – Antigua, GU

Day 67 – Antigua, GU     10/27/10     Mileage: 0

We were up and out fairly early and had a great breakfast in a cafe with a cute center courtyard. Next was to get signed up for a sunset hiking trip to the Pacaya volcano later this afternoon.

Walking around the streets of Antigua, with the Agua Volcano in the background...

There are tons of mopeds and small motorcycles around town and in Guatemala in general. They even have special parking for motos on most streets.

 

Tracy in front of the Arco de Santa Catalina...

Once that was done I went back to the room to catch up on the blog for a bit and Tracy did some shopping. We then went for a walk and to the artisan market for a bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel to be picked up for the ride to the Pacaya volcano.

It was raining hard on the way to Pacaya but luckily it stopped in time for the hike...

It took about an hour and a half to get there and we arrived at the base of the hike around 4pm. As soon as the door opened to the van we were bombarded by kids offering hiking sticks and “taxis”.

Sticks and taxis...

So, you might be wondering how a taxi was going to get up the side of a mountain? Well, what they call a taxi is actually a small horse. There were about 15 people in our group and nobody bought a stick or a taxi….at first. You see, the trail is very steep right out of the gate and the guide (who might be in cahoots) set a nice fast pace up the mountain side. All the while, kids on “taxis” are following close behind yelling “taxi, taxi” at the struggling gringos, just waiting for one of them to crack so they can sell you a taxi!

Tracy with the "taxis" in hot pursuit waiting for her to crack, but she didn't of course...

 

The gringo rest stop...where you had the opportunity to reconsider the purchase of a taxi!

Well, we all hung tough…all except a young strapping Israeli dude that is! Anyway, after an hour and half hike we arrived at a ridge around 600 feet below the summit cone. All along the way the views were great as we could see 3 other volcanoes poking through the clouds…one of which was putting on a show spewing ash and smoke.

A view across the clouds to 3 other volcanos. The two others are smaller to the left of the big one.

Here's a better shot of the two smaller (more distant) volcanos. The one spewing ash is called Fuego.

There were no running lava flows today, but this was an active volcano and there were several spots where cracks in the earth were putting out intense heat.

Me and Volcano Pacaya. The fellow in the picture with me is our guide.

Tracy and Pacaya...

One large crack you could look straight down at the red hot glowing lava 15 feet underground….amazing!!

The heat coming out of some of the cracks was intense!

This crack you could see the red hot glow of the lava. Of course it never comes out in the pictures...

Sunset on Pacaya...

The sunset was spectacular...

After enjoying a great sunset, it was time to hike back down…only this time it was dark. Luckily we had my headlamps, so it really wasn’t too bad. It took another hour and change to get back to Antigua, but we still had time to grab dinner before getting some much needed rest.