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03.08.09 Mexico: Leaving Zipolite
We are leaving Zipolite today. We are leaving the Mexican coast, forever. It is our last evening at the ocean, almost fullmoon again. We had been here for one month. Where has the time gone? On one hand it feels like we have been here for one week and on the other hand it feels like we have been here for months... We love listening to the ocean. It will be strange when we don't hear it anymore. Our visa runs out pretty soon, so we are going to take the bus up into the mountains to San Cristobal, stay there for a few days and take off on our bikes from there to the border of Guatemala. A few days ago we had thunder and lots of lightening, almost continuous. Much more lightening than thunder. You could see them behind the clouds. For more than 60% the sky was as bright as during the day. You could see all the crabs on the beach running around like crazy... And then during the night we had a 3 min storm. As our palapa was quite open, all our stuff flew around. Our road map was high in the air when I caught it. We checked out at noon and stored our gear in a different room. Good bye palapa... No more moscito hunting rituals anymore. The bus to San Cristobal left at 10.20 pm. Our friend Antonio gave us a lift to Pochutla, from where the bus left. We threw both packed bikes on his truck and left, up the hills. He was very upset because he took out his first dog ever on the road. A whole pack of dogs was using the road as a playground. And then not much later, his car made funny noises, then stopped. Are we ever getting out of Zipolite??? The lid of the water cooler came off. The water was splashing everywhere, at the end was no water left in the cooler. Good we had some water in our drinking bottles. After we filled up the radiator the car started moving again, yay! We really made it and placed ourselves and our bikes into the bus. In 11 hours we would be in the mountains in San Cristobal.
Resume: Zipolite-San Cristobal, 11hr bus ride.
LINK: Photos 0884-0888

04.08.09 Mexico: Arriving in San Cristobal
We arrived in San Cristobal at 9 am and found a nice, quiet and cheap hotel. The air was fresh and cooler, no humidity anymore. We were in 7200 feet (2300 m) height. It felt like being in a different country. We are in Chiapas now, the state where so many Mayas live. We walked through the old historical town and amoungst all the Mayan people. They look so beautiful. Their hair is black, long and braided. Their skin is dark and the facial expression is quite strong. They reminded me of the Tibetan people. They wear colourful Mayan clothes and sell their handmade crafts on the street and on the market. We wanted to pick up our parcel which had been sent via a courir. We asked 5 times for directions, how to get to the depot and we got 5 different answers. One way to get to know the city... The temperatures dropped in the evening, I even was a bit cold during the night. We don't need a fan going anymore, that is for sure. We even had blankets. I haven't felt cold for a long time. What a beautiful city. People played drums on the square and other people danced to it. It is a popular destination for backpackers. All these narrow streets with old and colourful houses, artistry street lights and marimba bands make the city look cosy. And the food here is so good and healthy. They even have smoked salmon with goat cheese and capers with avocado. During the night will be completely silence, no ocean anymore. But is is nice not to have grease in the face all the time anymore from the hot humidity, the air is nice and fresh. No moscitos here...
Resume: arriving in San Cristobal.
LINK: Photos 0889-0900
08.08.09 Mexico: Arriving in San Cristobal
I really enjoyed the hot shower. It has been the first hot shower since quite a while.It feels like fall; fresh wind and it gets chilly in the evenings. I washed all the bags on the roof of the hotel. It was fullmoon.... The mountains look so beautiful. Children were selling stuff on the road. Somebody told us that there are ruins in a neighbour town, called Chamula. We took a shared taxi to Chamula. After 30 min we got there, it was a Mayan town. We walked over the market where the Mayans sold food and handmade crafts. We asked for the ruins, but there were no ruins. "Ruins, what ruins?" We were told to wait a few thousand years. Then somebody told us that there were ruins in Zinacantan, another Mayan town about 10 km far away. So we took a transport to Zinacantan. When we got there we asked for the ruins, but there were no ruins... Either we are really bad tourists or we just ask the wrong people. I guess this trip is not about ruins, it is about self discovery. Hm, maybe it is about our ruins inside of us. At the end we took a shared taxi back to San Cristobal and walked over the market and enjoyed the good international food here. We even found a Libanese and an Austrian restaurant. Oh, I really enjoyed the Austrian food. I was really thrilled. It pourred in the afternoon. Usually it raines 1-2 times a day during rainy season. In winter time the temperature drops to 9 degrees below. The people here don't have insolated houses...
Resume: Stay in San Cristobal for 5 days.

LINK: Photos 0901-0948 , videos 113-114
09.08.09 Mexico
It rained during the night. We had a last healthy organic breakfast and left San Cristobal at 10 am. The clouds were dark and the morning was chilly. Later on the sun came out. We are riding towards the border of Guatemala, on the Panamerican Hyway. We climed from 7200 feet (2300 meters) up to 7900 feet (2500 meters). All in a sudden we past lots of pine trees, cornfields and grassy areas. The air smelled so fresh. After a while we stopped in a town at a market and ate roasted sweetcorn, sitting on the footpath and watching the people. Then we had a 12km long downhill and dropped about 600 meters, the air got warmer. Once we saw a huge valley that opened up on our right far below. There were also clouds down there. We left the pine forests and made it to Comitan today. This was a Mexican town, no Mayans anymore. A big marimba band was playing at the square. It was Sunday today, everyone was out. It is our second last day in Mexico. Our visa expires in 2 days. Have we really been in Mexico for 6 months???
Resume: San Cristobal-Comitan, 65km, 18-35 degrees, cloudy, started at 7200ft (2300m), ended at 5000ft (1500m).
LINK: Photos 0949-0956 , video 115
10.08.09 Mexico
It rained when we got up. We were on a plane, the road was quite straight. We passed so many cornfields. After about 20 km we had a 20 km long downhill. We saw the huge valley in front of us. It took us 30 min and we dropped down about 800 meters, from 1500 meters to 700 meters. It was like diving into a different world. The altitude dropped, the degrees climbed. They climbed at least for 10 degrees. The air got hotter and hotter. We dropped and dropped, I felt the air in my faceI had overwhelming feelings. Back to where the bananas grow. The border of Guatemala is pretty close, about 40 km far away. The downhill lead us into a big flat valley, there were no hills anymore and the street was straight. Yes, we are back in the heat. In the distance we saw the big mountains of Guatemala. I guess, we have to pay the price tomorrow for all the lost alstitude... On one side we were sad to leave Mexico but also on the other side we were excited to move on. When we left Comitan this morning, we had 19 degrees, and in the valley, our little bike computer showed us 45 degrees. We stopped for very well roasted sweetcorn, rockhard dry and black. 2 little children, they weren't older than 8 years, had a little stand on the side of the road. They had a roast, where they somehow kept the fire going with wood. Wow, these 2 little children were running a corn business. They didn't go to school as their parents couldn't afford it. The corn we had was so hard, you could hardly shew it. And the other corns on the roast were on one side completely black. But the children didn't seem to mind and were happy. It was afternoon when we arrived in Cuauhtemoc, the border town. We were at the base of these big mountains. It was strange, our last day in Mexico, and in front of us were the mountains of Guatemala. It had been 6 incredible months. We checked into the only hotel in town and had a room upstairs. We carried all our gear plus bikes up the stairs. We got to the end of the valley, to the end of the road. From now on we are going to be climbing... It was hot, tomorrow night it won't be hot anymore where we are. We had our last dinner in Mexico and bought a skinny hungry dog some sausages. Bhinti also gave the sausages to the waitresses, and they took them and ate them. We had a beautiful view at the base on the mountains.
Resume: Comitan-Cuauhtemoc, 73 km, 19-45 degrees, started at 5000ft (1500m), ended at 1700ft (500m).
LINK: Photos 0957-0968 , video 116
11.08.09 Mexico and Guatemala
It was a warm night. We had the fan going and didn't need any sheets. We had a big and sunny room. It felt nice waking up at the base of the mountains and listening to the birds. We left at 10am and rode the last 3km to the border, riding into the mountains, leaving the valley. After 30 min we got to Mesilla, the border town of Guatemala. The town was full of live and chaos. We almost rode pass the immigration on the side of the road as we didn't see it, thinking we were still in Mexico but we weren't. So we stopped and got our stamp and changed money, after some bargening, at one of the sales man on the street. There waas a gate we rode through, there was no customs, no inspections and no military, we just rode through. They didn't even check the stamp in our passport. Wow, we are really in Guatemala now. Lots of rickshas were driving around. We were riding into these beautiful mountains. There were lots of mountain villages which we didn't expect. From the distance, the mountains looked so remote and wild. We stopped in 'La Democracia', looking for a hotel. There were some but they were on the mainroad and upper class. At the restaurant were we had late lunch we asked, if there are also hotels in the city center. The answer was yes. So we rode 1-2 km steep downhill and uphill to get there. We were looking around and asking people, but there were no hotels. The people are rougher here, less shy and more direct. They were staring at us and came really close. Lovely people. We rode back to the main road to one of the hotels. That was our first night in Guatemala and there was no cheap hotel, only a posh one for Guatemala quite expensive, bizarr. Guatemala had a different time zone. Instead of 8pm being dark it was dark at 7pm.
Resume: Cuauhtemoc-La Democracia, 23km, 28-43 degrees, started at 1700ft (500m), ended at 2500ft (800m).
LINK: Photos 001-002 , video 117
12.08.09 Guatemala
I got up at 6.30 am as I was so excited and also scared to take on these mountains. We were on the road at 8 am. Clouds were hanging in the mountains. We passsed lots of mudbrick houses. People were sitting in front of their homes and did weaving. An elderly woman sat on the side of the road in the grass with her cow and her sheep, letting them eat the grass. We passed cornfields that were placed on the slopes of mountains and even a 1.5m wide strip on the side of the road. The river on the ride hand side of us was joining our tour. Sometimes we saw it deep down in a canyon. Once we saw a cornfield on the other side of the canyon on a steep slope. To get there people had to harness themselves over there. The rope was still there. We find it quite amazing what people do to survive using every quare meter of available land. Lots of butterflies were flying around. At 3900 feet (1200 meters) we saw a restaurant and stopped. They played marimba music. There was a little waterfall, it was so nice to listen to it and also to feel that the air got fresher and a bit cooler. A pick up truck passed us with a donkey in the back. He was just standing there and enjoyed the ride. Children were yelling 'Gringos, Gringos' to us. Lots of cars and busses gave us a welcome toots. The mountains were really steep and we climbed higher and higher. At the end I got slower and slower until we finally arrived at the village where we decided to stay for the night. We climbed up to 5000 feet (1500 meters) feet and spent 5.5 hours on our bikes. Enough for today. The village was 1 km off the main road. The road to that town was so steep that we pushed our bikes up. Finally we got there and looked for a hotel and a restaurant. None of them was there. What do we do? I man asked us what we were looking for and we told him that we were looking for a place to stay for one night and that we have a tent with us. He took me to a store while Bhinti guarded our bikes being surrounded by lots of curious children. The woman who worked there make phonecalls and asked around. She found somebody where we could camp, it was her aunt. The man showed us the way and we had a warm welcome. They were indigenous people, like the whole town (94% are Mam, which is the name of the tribe). Here we were, in a little town off the road where only indigenous people live, being able to camp with a lovely family. 5 other indeginous lived here. They studied to become an English teacher. The woman where we stayed has 8 grand children which had an English and Spanish lesson by an American when we got there. They were singing songs to train some vocabulary. We set up our tent and asked for a restaurant. There was none in town but 'comedores'. We walked to a 'comedor' and had dinner. A comedor is one room with a big table and lots of little seats around it, a stove (wood and gas) where they cook, another table where they prepare the meals and a sink where they do the dishes. All happens in one room. The people where we stayed were so lovey, happy, always laughing and warmhearted. We are in Guatemala, what a big difference to Mexico. It felt so nice to be in the tent again. What an eventful day.
Resume: La Democracia-San Sebastian,50km, 23-35 degrees, started at 2500 ft (800m), ended at 5000 ft (1500m), we climed 2500ft (750m) today.
LINK: Photos 003-018
13.08.09 Guatemala
What a nice night in the tent. We got up and I talked to one of the students that live here. They study 6 years to become a teacher in Spanish and Mam (Mam is their first local language). A guy from the States lived here too, the only American in town. He teaches at schools and also the little grand children. It was so nice here and the people were so welcoming. We asked if we can stay for another night, no problemo. An indigenous girl came by and asked me, if I can help her with her English. She had a script with her. We sat together for about 2.5 hours while Bhinti maintained our bikes. Here we are in a traditional town and camp in the yard with an indigenous family... We had breakfast at a comedor. People live so simple here. The comedor was made out of concrete blocks without a window. They had the door open. We walked through town and saw a man taking his pig for a walk on a leach. Children were playing at the square and everybody was looking at us and we were looking at them. It was Thursday morning and the children were not at school. Their school starts probably at 1.30pm and ends at 7pm. We wanted to buy some vegetables but didn't find any. There is a food market 2 times a week where people get the chance to buy vegetables. We went back and it started pourring. We hoped our tent would hold up, and it did. It stopped in the evening.
Resume: Stay in San Sebastian.
LINK: Photos 019-021
14.08.09 Guatemala
Another night in our nice little tent. We packed and the lovely woman made us yummy breakfast. When we left I had tears in my eyes, I liked it there so much. We only spent 36 hours there and it felt like we were part of the family. We got their address. There are no street names and number. So the address includes the name of the perosn, the name of the town and the name of the state, that all. We left at noon. Turkeys were running around on the side of the street. We kept climbing, from 5000 feet (1500m) to 5700 feet (1700m), then we got kind of on top the mountains for now. We rode to the capital of the state Huehuetenango. The city was also called Huehuetenango, but people call it Huehue. The city was full of life, traffic, people and chaos. It reminded us a bit of India. We found an accommodation in the center and explored the city. There were not many restaurants. I guess, people don't eat out here so much. We walked through the street market. This city is so alive...
Resume: San Sebastian-Huehuetenango, 25km, started at 5000ft(1500m), ended at 5600ft (1700m), 27-35 degrees.
LINK: Photos 022-023
16.08.09 Guatemala
We stayed here over the weekend as the traffic is crazy. We explored more of the city. Stands, people, music, traffic, noises, talking, the streetvendors are yelling. We had budgies at the hotel right next to our door. There was some life music at the square. You could hear the life music, loud music coming out of a car and another car passed with huge loudspeakers doing advertising. I love this craziness. And just down the road is San Sebastian, a completely different world... There was a powercut in the evening and people got out their candles, quite a romantic chaos.
Resume: Stay in Huehuetenango for 2 days.
LINK: Photos 024-030 , video 120
17.08.09 Guatemala
Motorcyclists wear jackets and helmets with the matching number of the number plate of their motorbike. We started the day with climbing, from 5600 feet up to 7000 feet. After we got there, what happened? Yes, we dropped again to 5000 feet. And what happened next? Yes, we climbed again. I got slower and slower... At the end I got a flat tire so we stopped on the side of the road and fixed it. Afterwards we lied down on a piece of grass and had a good snooze. And what happened next? Yes, we climbed. And what happened after that? Yes, we climbed more. The clouds were really dark and we could hear loud thunder in the distance. We stopped at a 'comedor' (simple restaurant, where they mostly have only one dish) on the side of the road, we were back in 7000 feet hight. It was cold, the wind was chilly and it started raining. We asked if we could camp here and the owner offered us to stay in his living room, sleeping on the floor. Yes yes yes! We had a hot soup and a hot shower. It took a while until I got warm. The people here were very serious about us and asked a lot of questions. There was the owner with his 35 years younger wife, his brother and 4 girls who worked in the kitchen. Lovely people. We were allowed to sit in the kitchen, in the heart of the 'comedor'. They made us feel really home. Sitting in front of the fire place... His brother told us that he has 11 brothers and 68 grand children, imagine that! I took photos of all the people and they were surprised that I didn't need a film for the camera. Outside was a tiny hut, it was the tortilleria, the production side of the tortillas. A lovely women worked there, 3 hours every morning. She makes 300 tortillas by putting the dow between her hands and clubbing her hands together. Most of the people in that village don't have hot water. But the people where we stayed do. They use the fire in the kitchen to heat up the water. It runs through a pipe directly into the bathroom. We sat up our camping mattresses on the floor and got out our sleeping bags. They wanted us to stay here for at least 2 days. We were in the clouds, it was raining and it got dark, 12 degrees only... People wear gloves here. We went to bed at 8 pm.
Resume: Huehuetenango-Chiquival, 35km, started at 5600ft, ended at 7000ft, min. 5000ft, 12-35 degrees.
LINK: Photos 031-036
18.08.09 Guatemala: Chiquival
We got up and walked straight into the warm kitchen. They say, if they want warmer temperatures, they drive down to the hot coast and get there in 2 hours. If they want cooler temperatures, they drive up into the other direction. We tried to make some tortillas in the 'tortilleria', it was not so easy. I think I was quite clumsy. We walked up the road to get some diesel for our camping stove, Bhinti washed the dishes and washed our clothes, we cleaned our bikes and did some maintanance work. We did yoga on the grass and watched the pigs and goats. Somebody in the village had a Yacaranda tree. People make tea out of the leaves. It is good for parasites. So we went there and got some branches. The people climbed on their roof to reach them. We dried the leaves and put them in a plastic bag. The girls in the kitchen work from 7am to 10pm for 15 days in a row without break. Then they have one day off, where they sleep almost the whole day and they do their washing, then the new cycle of 15 long days begins... They work so hard here. We felt honored to be in their kitchen, it was so nice there. They played nice music and Bhinti and I started dancing...
Resume: Stay in Chiquival for 2 days.
LINK: Photos 037-042 , videos 118-119
20.08.09 Guatemala
We got up and packed. We had our last breakfast in the kitchen and said good bye to everybody. Again, saying good bye to lovely people, it is so hard... We left at 9.30am. We saw lots of people who carry heavy stuff on their backs, even little boys carry heavy wood. I could smell the rubber of some oncoming cars, we know what that means... We climbed, uphill and more uphill. Big loud busses, they call them chickenbusses, overtook us and left a big black cloud of exhaust behind them. Lots of these buses give us welcome toots, their horn is really loud. They carry lots of stuff on top of the bus. Once we even saw a sheep on top of it. They transport what they need to transport. On the side of the bus is a ladder. The person who organizes the luggage on the roof climbes the ladder up and down while the bus is on full speed. No sweat! Some people greet us even through their loudspeakers. Normally they use them to do advertising and to sell their stuff. People take their pigs and sheep for a walk to let them eat the grass. A mother with her children washed their clothes in the cold river. What a different world it is up here. We stopped at 8000 feet hight and looked down to a vast valley. We could see our own breath. Whenever we thought we were on top of the mountains we kept climbing. Up at 8300 feet were only 15 degrees. We were looking for a place to eat, but there was none. We stopped at a kiosk and had some chips. A mountain women walked by and looked at us. I offered here some chips and she grabbed the whole pack. Good for her! We kept riding and we finally dropped, we passed lots of sweetcorn fields, it was blue sweetcorn. Simple humble mudhouses were tucked away in cornfields. Lots of dogs, chicken, pigs and sheep were running around. It was so green here. In the distance we saw a vulcano. At 3pm we arrived in San Cristobal Totonicapan and found an accommodation and rested. We boiled some tea and had an early night.
Resume: Chiquival-San Cristobal Totonicapan, 42km, started at 7000ft, ended at 7000ft, max. 8300ft, 17-25 degrees.
LINK: Photos 043-052
21.08.09 Guatemala
Today we left our bikes at a lovely couple that run an internet cafe on the other side of the road where our hotel was. They were really lovely people, so was their garden and their pets. They had a duck that was running around, also in their house. The duck had big feet, a small body and a long neck. It was the most unusual duck we have ever seen. Her name was Pijiji. And then there was Lucas the parrot, sitting in the tree. His home was a truck tire, which was hang up on the tree. They had a simple outdoor washing area, a rocking bench and an arch made of flowers. We left almost all our gear in their kitchen including the bikes, had only a shopping bag with clothes with us and took the 'Chickenbus' to Quezaltenango, also called Xela, which is about 12km away. This city is a big tourist destination with lots of history and culture. We walked to the bus station from where all the chickenbusses left. It was crazy. Lots of chaos, tooting, there were so many busses and everybody was shouting their different locations. The busses were packed. They put all sorts of stuff on the roofs. Have I already mentioned that once we saw a sheep on top of it??? After 45 min we arrived in Xela. Xela has lots of narrow streets, made of cobble. The footpaths were narrow too. These streets were built for horses. If the builders would have known that sometime in the future cars will squeeze themselves through these streets... You could see a vulcano. Xela is a backpacker destination. It has about 20 Spanish schools spread out in the whole city. It really is a student city with lots of activities like Salsa lessons, it has a music school, a small movietheater where they show each day a different movie, bookstores, lots of shops and lots of bars, cafes and restaurant with good international food. We found a great Spanish learn and review book. It was heavy though. I was holding it in my hands and thought of carrying it with us or not. The man behind the desk said straight to us: Ah you are on bicycles... It made me laugh. At the end we bought it and also a map of South America. We unfolded our new map in a restaurant. This is definetely the biggest map I have ever seen. It covered more than 2 tables. We got excited riding through South America, climbing the Andes...
Resume: San Cristobal Totonicapan-Quezaltenango (Xela) by bus.

LINK: Photos 053-058
26.08.09 Guatemala
We spent some days here in Xela and took a minivan up to the hotsprings. They were natural sulfur springs, up in the mountains, up in the clouds. We passed lots of agriculture fields. The air was so fresh up there, the mountains so green, even firn was growing there. People wore their clothes in the pools. We saw hardly any people in bathing clothes. I had some trouble again with parasites and one doctor back in Mazatlan recommend us some pills which we got. I took them but they didn't work. So I went to the pharmacy and they told me, that these pills were for a sore throat! Well, I must say, at least my throat felt very well. That doctor in Mazatlan hid his nose in a huge catalogue for about 5 mins, going through the pages until he told us which drugs are for parasites. Right... He didn't have a clue and gave us just some other stuff... So many stories. There were many Second Hand shops. We decided to get some warm clothes for these hights here. I got long pants, a t-shirt and a sweater. Wow, wearing something different after all these months... I felt like a new person. It got quite cool in the evening. We were excited to wear our new sweaters! We spent lots of time at the square where we studied Spanish and watched the people, all these beautiful spirits. What is going on in their lives???
Resume: Stay in Xela for 5 days.

LINK: Photos 059-092 , video 121
27.08.09 Guatemala
Time for us to take the chickenbus back to San Cristobal Totonicapan. The traffic was crazy. Good we weren't on our bikes. The lane in the direction where we were going was stuck, hardly any movement anymore. So the busdriver just pulled out and drove on the other lane, the lane for the oncoming cars. He drove fast and he kept tooting his horn. He must have felt very confident. The oncoming cars made space and drove as much on the side as possible. It worked... Other busses on our lane left some space in case the busdriver decided to go back into the correct lane. So after a while he got back into the correct lane... We got back to our bikes at about 9.30am. We left without breakfast, had some fruit. We didn't know we had a long steady climb ahead of us. We climbed from 7200 feet to 9200 feet within 20km. We met 2 cyclists who were training for a race and talked to them. They offered us some food. How did they know, the universe works in mystery ways... The temperature dropped to 12 degrees. We rode through the clouds, the wind was cold. We kept climbing and climbing, there didn't seem to be an end. Up in 9200 feet, people worked on the road, most of them wore beanies and gloves, working so hard. Some of the men wore skirts. We were in the clouds, sometimes we had hardly any vision. Finally we dropped down on the other side. I was cold and I really was looking forward to the warmer temperatures again. We kept riding downhill and the degrees climbed, yay! The downhill took 20min only and we were back at 7400 feet, after only 10km. We rode through a village, but we couldn't find any restaurants or comedores, so we kept eating our emergency snack food. I was tired of climbing today. It started raining. We finally got to a small city and found an accommodation after we pushed our bikes a steep uphill through the crowded town, walking through a river of water, garbage and other 'stuff'. They had 2 small rooms. One for us and one for our bikes. The family itself lived on top of the house, on the roof underneath a tin roof. They made dinner for us and brought it in our room, nice service. Eggs, beans, sausages, french fries, tortillas, ketchup and tea. I was so glad I didn't need to move anymore. We locked the room where our bikes were withouth having the keys. We asked for the key and they said, they don't have it for this room. So the little boy opened the door with a big knife. The doorframe told us, that that hasn't happen for the first time. This was a town where only indigenous people live. We lied in our beds and listenend to the children who played outside and on the roof. It was cold and I didn't even know the name of the town, I was just happy having a full tummy and lying in my sleeping bag.
Resume: San Cristobal Totonicapan-Nihuala, 36km, 12-24 degrees, started at 7200ft, ended at 7500ft, max. 9200ft.
LINK: Photos 093-098

28.08.09 Guatemala
After the family made us breakfast we left, heading to Lake Atitlan. The houses in that town were all humble, they all had imple tin roofs. It was a sunny day. We rode on a freshly paved road. It was as wide as an aircraft carrier, and smooth. It was a nice ride, riding up and down these beautiful mountains. After a while we stopped at a fruit stand on the side of the road and had some apples, sitting on the grass and looking down to a beautiful valley. In the distance we saw another vulcano. That was one of the vulcanos, that are directly at the lake. Many houses were in the middle of cornfields, the valley looked like a painting. Clouds moved closer and closer. We found a comedor and stopped. They had only one dish, which is enough for us. These people here are so humble and so friendly. We started to drop down and were excited to see the lake soon...The lake we have heard about so many beautiful things. We had dropped a lot and expected the lake to be close to the altitude where we were. All in a sudden we were in traffic chaos, riding through Solola. We were surrounded by these crazy chickenbusses and in front of us was a big market. People, people, people... Somehow we made our way through that chaos and kept going down. All in a sudden we saw the lake in the distance. The lake was much further down, majestic mountains and vulcanos surrounded it, clouds moved over the lake. Wow! We dropped almost 3000 feet in 10 km. Our brakes were holding up pretty good. When we arrived at the lake we were in 4800 feet altitude. The air was so much warmer, so comfortable. We found a nice accommodation. It was a simple room in a courtyard of a family's house. All the rooms opened up to this courtyard. We shared the batchroom with them. We were the only tourists in the house, had a simple, nice and clean room. We walked to the lake. There it was... What a beautiful lake. The vulcanos dropped into the water and clouds were dancing around the vulcanos. The evening sun tried to penetrate through the dark clouds and created a beautiful light pattern. It got dark and we started to stroll back to our room, along the busy shopping street. There was one shop after another, beautiful hand made stuff they sell. This is a big destination for tourists. There were neat little restaurants and rickshas were driving around. When we got back to our room, lots of people were praying and singing in the courtyard. They had a candle burning in front of a Jesus painting. We sneaked to our room. We were almost in the middle of that.
Resume: Nihuala-Panajachel, 46km, 19-28 degrees, started at 7500ft, ended at 4800ft.
LINK: Photos 099-111 , videos 122-124