Letters from my Gap Year: Guatemala

Looking back at my travel adventures the longest and most impressive trip I took was undoubtedly my gap year. That is the trip I will forever look back on as embodying my lust to get out and see the world with reckless abandon, when I truly believed there was nothing that a roll of duck tape and some iodine couldn’t fix.

I was going to rework them entirely just keeping the places in all but name. But what they gained in contemplation was overwhelmed by the lost glimpse into this world through my 21 year old eyes. So I just added links, corrected my lazy teenage spelling, and otherwise I let them be. Here’s the first one…

Dear all,

Arrived in Guatemala on Monday nite shattered from a 24 hour journey and left for Lake Atilan the next day. The lake was beautiful, surrounded by 3 towering volcanoes and huge. We had to get a tiny speed boat to the village in which we were staying which tested both my sea legs and my patience (bartering with my limited Spanish proved more difficult than I had anticipated). Hostel was great, very laid back, right on the lake shore and met lots of other travelers doing similar routes.

The next day I took Miss Taite for a gentle stroll along the lake which turned into a full on 3 hour hike, and it was only our second day. Did I mention we set off at 7.30am, you would expect nothing less. The views were fantastic and it was well worth it. We walked through a few tiny villages and the locals were very friendly, they may well just have been laughing at how silly we looked but I prefer to think they just liked us.

Having left Lake Atilan we went to a famous market town for the day. The market was massive and so colourful. The smells were often interesting too. They sold literally everything you could imagine so it was rude not to snap up a few bargains. Greatly improved upon both our Spanish numbers and our powers of persuasion.

Today we traveled to Antigua on the chicken buses. They are fabulous old school buses which seem to have unlimited capacity. The roads are not too bumpy although the drivers seem to like overtaking on steep downhill corners at full speed. Its a good job were so tightly packed in that you can barely see out of the windows. Traveling has been surprisingly quick tho, we always seem to be directed to a bus as soon as we arrive in the middle of town with backpacks and looking a little lost. A refreshing change.

Antigua is a quaint old colonial Spanish town, with red and yellow buildings. Its very tourist orientated with lots of cafes, restaurants and even a McDonalds! Food is generally good and quite cheap so no need for them yet. Weather here is glorious, I might add. For the rainy season there is surprisingly little rain.


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