We left Stray Catz securely tied to the dock at Nana Juana Marina and jumped on a bus to Antigua. Kylan met two other cruising kids about his age and had a great time for the couple of days before we left. The marina is part of a hotel and resort so it has a nice pool and grounds. Other marinas in this area have special events on certain nights of the week like movies, games and potlucks. Some even provide a launcha service ( small boat transportation) to and from the event. Quite a community of cruisers here.
In our sense of continuing adventure, we headed inland to what everyone here calls the real Guatemala. (?) It seems very similar only the mountains are bigger. This area seems just as real. Based on our experiences so far, we felt it was prudent to start with at least a week of Spanish language lessons. We found a school online to go to, but as it turns out there are over 50 language schools in Antigua and probably another 30 up the road in the Lake Atitlan area. The schools offer a total immersion option where they place you with a local family. We opted to all be placed in separate families in hopes of faster learning. It didn’t really work like that though, because there were other English-speaking students in the same house. Still it was a good experience.
Antigua is a very old and beautiful city. It is preserved well. The streets are all cobblestone and quite a challenge to walk on. (walking on any street in Guatemala is a challenge because of the driving) There are many churches dating way back. A few were destroyed in earth quakes in the 17 and 1800’s, but the ruins are still kept for history’s sake. There are three volcanoes surrounding the town. One of which is still very active and erupted while we were there. It sounded like a sonic boom, thunder and fireworks all in one. The houses and buildings are up against each other and there is a central park which has activities almost nightly. It is a very popular tourist destination which was nice because you never felt threatened or in danger in the more popular areas. The homes in which Anna, Kylan and I (originally) were within walking distance to the downtown and all the activities. And yes we got together every day probably also not helping our Spanish. All of the old school buses that we used to ride come here to Guatemala to gain new life. They have never looked so good. Plenty of chrome and colors and horns that can be heard a mile away.
We were in Antigua for the last week in February. Leaving on March 1st headed to San Pedro in the Lake Atitlan area for another week of language school. I’ll share more on that in a later post.