Climbing North

Sorry for the delay in updates. I’m about ten days behind on all this. Out in the wilderness and staying in places without internet makes consistent updates tricky. Also, most of the photos in this post are stolen from the internet as I have yet to pick up a decent camera. Who knew an entry-level DSLR was so damn hard to find out here?

Current Location

I’ve made my way into Guatemala, arriving after a (NEW RECORD!!) 17 hour bus ride from Managua, Nicaragua to Guatemala City, Guatemala. It was a mostly pleasant trip except for the goddamn elevator muzak they played in between a crappy Adam Sandler film and some really Christian piece-of-shit movie about the angel Gabriel mastering kung-fu or something. But that musak is just the worst. It’s more offensive to my ears than the most hardcore Finnish black metal bands or the very worst misogynistic violent rap music. Why? Because that easy-listening crap has no soul, no taste and whenever you replace the vocals with a poorly-played saxophone, the end result is always going to be pretty abominable.

Antigua Guatemala and the surrounding areas:

Anyway. Enough griping about bad music. Two days later and that crap still offends my ears. …and I just contradicted myself.

So after an hour taxi ride from Guate to Antigua, I arrived at my destination for a few short days. Walking around Antigua at night, I kept thinking how much my father would like this place: it’s clean, old, civilised and full of wine. I met a couple of very pleasant Germans and we went out for dinner. I don’t know why I get along so well with Germans – naturally, I have some basic theories- but I’ve met quite a few delightful Germans out here in this part of the world. We ate well because we needed to and then we retired for the night and slept very soundly.

Antigua is a small mountain town of about 35,000 people surrounded by several volcanoes. Today, I intend to climb the most active one, where I hope to melt my boots a bit with some molten hot lava and make shitty jokes to other turistas along the lines of the “hot enough for ye?” variety. The colonial architectural style is colourful and characterful. Markets and restaurants have a variety of great food. Churches, in various states of ruination or disrepair, offer beautiful tourist attractions and uplifting symbolism for the antiquated and decaying state of the modern Catholic Church.

Antigua Guatemala and Volcan de Agua in the background. At roughly 3765 metres (12,375 feet), Volcan Agua is the fifth largest volcano in Guatemala.

Antigua lies in the shadow of a glorious volcano: Volcan de Agua. At the time of writing, I came down this volcano about five hours ago, but I will add another post about this later.

Lago de Apoya

After receiving an invitation I couldn’t refuse from a delightful Dutch woman, I made my to Granada from Lake Nicaragua. I joined up with a bunch of other travellers and we made our way into town for the night. Granada’s nightlife is lively, full of music, tourists, locals, romance, good food, cheap drinks and a lovely setting in the side streets of the old colonial square.

Colonial architecture, looming cathedrals and locals on a common cart. Granada's a bustling, relatively safe, lively city on the northern shores of Lake Nicaragua.

Though I only managed to spend a few hours exploring the city, it seems like a lovely place by all accounts. Our hostel was cosy, cheap and full of Germans (for a change), but I did go out and hit the clubs with an Aussie, Canadian and a Yank as we cruised around until… well, we actually met the Germans again so we partied with them until about 03:00 AM. Then I did 100 push-ups as a nauseating penance for my alcohol consumption and got up at 07:00 for a bus to Lago de Apoya!

Granada's main square has several brightly coloured, well-kept buildings like this. The Spanish colonials tended to treat their main squares with lavish examples of European architecture - often to the deprivation of anything outside.Lago de Apoya

With my Dutch companion, I took a couple of chicken buses out towards a volcanic lake known as the Lago de Apoya. It’s a massive crater lake in the middle of Nicaragua with some of the clearest, most delightfully warm water I’ve ever accidentally tasted. We stayed at a place called the Monkey Hut, which was clean and full of tourists for the day, but reduced to about 15 people in the evening. I had a great time out there, though it was somewhat brief. I needed a day or two of rest after a pretty active week and this was the perfect place to do so.

Lago de Apoyo is about four miles wide (~6.5KM) and some 200m deep in places. It's a massive extinct volcano surrounded by thick jungle and a relatively steep cliff.

One night, about ten hours sun, mild sunburn on my forehead, 200+ pages read and rested bones. That’s how to spend a weekend.

This is a map of my Nicaraguan trail. Follow it north!

Managua to Guatemala

I talked about this at the top there, so I won’t go into it much further. I do owe the bus ride to an Israeli girl I met at Lago de Apoyo, though. I asked what she did and she replied, quite nonchalantly, “I teach people how to shoot tanks” to which I replied that that is probably the most badass thing I’ve ever heard from someone my age. Politics aside, that’s pretty goddamn awesome.

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1 Comment

Filed under Dearest Diary of Mine

One response to “Climbing North

  1. kate

    ya know wat i just realised theres a tiny smiley face in the top right on this page….. wow how observant is that…. or maybe i just have a special laptop, who knows hahaa and ermm just a bit jealous of you, but im off skiing in 2 days so THERE!!!
    xxxxxxxxx

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