Hello! I’ve been quiet on my blog for a number of reasons. In part it has been difficult to find a good internet connection while also having a comfortable space to write. I’ve also been prioritizing getting some rest and slowing down which of course means I got sick, so I am currently getting over a cold. It is hard to believe that I left my job twelve weeks ago, and between walking the Camino and preparing to travel through Central and South America for 5-6 months, I haven’t actually slowed down despite not working.
I completed two weeks fo Spanish lessons at the Ixchel School in Antigua, studying for four hours each morning one-on-one with a great teacher, Ale. The experience wiped me out more than I thought it would. Ale was a good teacher for me in that she was very organized and gave structured review of different tenses. So I felt like a lot of what I had learned in school did come back. However, a classroom setting it so different than really speaking and understanding someone in the real noisy world so I still struggle. It is still too easy to switch to English whenever I encounter someone who gives me the option.
The second week of lessons I did a home stay, renting a room in a house of the mother of one of the teachers at my school. It was a nice room and interesting to see glimpses of the daily life of someone who lives in Antigua. I was the only student at the time though so was often eating meals by myself or attempting very limited small talk with my host. The first week I had stayed at the school itself and enjoyed getting to know the other student who were also rooming there and the staff.
Antigua is an intriguing city, and I go look forward to going back as I am making it my base for travels to other parts of Guatemala. I particularly like seeing the colonial ruins and how they have been preserved or incorporated into the current city. There is an intensity to Antigua. Walking around the city takes much concentration because of the traffic and the cobblestones. Almost every surface is different so I was watching each step. There is no regulated sidewalk or step height. One advantage of cobblestone streets is the the cars could not go too fast so you can cross the street pretty much when you need too.
So after a weekend trip to Honduras (more on that later) I took off to Lago Atitlan, a stunning lake surrounded by at least three volcanoes. I booked three nights at a hotel built on a hill side over looking the expanse of the lake, and just moved for another three nights to a village on the other side, Santiago Atitlan.
On the Monday I traveled to the lake I spent a bit of frantic morning trying to replace sunglasses and earbuds I had left on the shuttle to/from Honduras. I was successful in fling a pair of sunglasses but only after asking five different people where to find them. I also did buy a set of earbuds but turned out I was ripped off as the adapter to make them fit my iPhone 7 was “an accessory not supported by Apple”. That warning of course did not pop up on the screen of my phone until after a song was playing for several minutes while I was on the shuttle to the lake. It didn’t come up during the time I spent testing them out in the store! At least I can use the earbuds on my iPad, and my sister has graciously added iPhone 7 compatible earbuds to my Christmas list of things to bring me when we meet up in Costa Rica.
(Ruins of the Cathedral in Antigua (above and below and also where I took the selfie above). Only a portion of the original church is in use after an earthquake took out the Colonial building.)
(San Jeronimo ruins with Volcan de Agua in the background)
(Capuchina- a former convent. Part ruins and part offices for the city.)
(My Spanish school at a quiet moment when everyone was on a lunch break.)
(Scenes around “Casa del Mundo” my hotel for my first three nights on the lake.)
(And a couple of pictures of Guatemalan textiles:)