I didn’t think a town could top the picturesque beauty of San Pedro on Lake Atitlán, and then I reached Antigua. Antigua is equally as beautiful as San Pedro but in a very different way. Picture this: the same backdrop of monstrous volcanoes, colorful one story houses of various shapes and sizes, towering antique churches on every corner, quaint cobbled streets…need I go on?
It was quite a bumpy ride from San Pedro but luckily I conked out with the help of a motion sickness pill then BAM! I was woken up in Antigua. I love a bus journey through unknown lands, you meet the most interesting people from all walks of life don’t you? There was Eduardo from Guatemala City who is opening up a hostel in San Pedro; a friendly American girl who is on an action packed adventure through Central America for two months; a Hungarian come Swede who helped build a school out of recycled materials; a Russian come German who seems to have travelled almost everywhere; a sleepy Italian woman and me, a Londoner come Bangkokian forever Irish cailín trying to find the balance between figuring out what she wants from life versus having an absolutely immense time being present IN life.
Talking about ‘interesting people’, I met the most amazing souls in San Pedro. For me, San Pedro started off a little monotonous. Life was Spanish class in the morning, homework in a café, a marathon siesta, meals with my homestay family, some Netflix and sleep, and I’m to blame for the monotony. Luckily I snapped out of it and managed to find a good group of friends to hang out with and explore a little more of what the area had to offer: lake jumping in San Marcos, Friday night pub quizzes at Hostel Fe, late night (11pm!) dancing and beers in Sublime and –mostly- we spent time in a quiet little restaurant called Pinocchio’s where a litre of beer was only 10 Q- that’s about 1 UK pound- and where the service always came with a smile in the form of a teenager called Arnesto who patiently helped us with our Spanish. It was great to meet likeminded souls of various ages, nationalities and backgrounds…all on a different and unique journey. I love to cross paths with people when I travel- either for a short time or more. I learn something from each person I meet, and something more about myself too.
Talking about learning I completed three weeks of Spanish and got myself a certificate! Afterwards, my cyber security come photographer hermano (brother) and I went exploring in the local market and he encouraged me to use my Spanish, somehow I forgot everything! I thought that maybe I should return my certificate! Thankfully I redeemed myself today by successfully asking for directions (about 15 times!) and having a conversation with a waiter- the three weeks of study has definitely been worth it and I can’t wait to speak more Spanish- me gusta hablar español.
That’s all from me for now- I have more churches to pray in, more colourful houses to swoon at, and more español to speak! But before I go here’s a little something for my time in San Pedro and for those I met along the way:
And me? I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for. Because it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something. And if you find that moment… It lasts forever.
The Beach (2000)