I wrote the longest post for Antigua and it has somehow disappeared. I’ll try and write it again but I’m sure it won’t be as good.
So far I hadn’t been loving Guatemala and it hadn’t really liced up to my expectations. Protests and shitty bus rides and really been putting a damper on it. After another mamoth bus trip Whitney and I had arrived in the much raved about city Antigua. As soon as we started driving down the cobbled streets I knew I was going to like it here.
We had booked into an amazing hostel calle El Hostal. it was so nice and chilled out and the beds were so comfy. We ended up staying here for over a week. On our first day here we went on a self guided walking tour created by the hostel. Our first stop was at the top of a hill with a cross overlooking the city. It wasn’t a super strenuous walk but we were puffing when we got to the top and I probably should have taken this into account later on when I decided to climb a volcano. Our next stop was an old monestry. There wasn’t a tour on when we got there so we jusr walked around by oursleves. There were a few signs but most of the time we didn’t really know what we were lookingat so just made it up. We then saw a few churches before stumbling on an amazing wine bar. It was here that our tour ended (this is not where the guide told us to end) as we thought we had seen enough and really wanted a wine. 3 glasses of wine and a cheese platter later I had fallen in love with Antigua.
I have never done a cooking class while overseas but some people at our hostel had done one and were raving about it so we thoughtwe would give it a go. It was a little bit on the pricy side but you got a 3 course meal and unlimited wine!! The wine wasn’t great but I guess that was to be expected. The menu we cooked was guatemalan rice, pepian, rallenitos and tortillas . The food was all really nice but I have to admit Guatemal doesn’t have the greatest cuisine. We got a copy of all the recipies so we could make it at home but I think I would struggle to find all the ingredients.
After chilling out and bumming around Antigua for a few days it finaly became time to climb Acatanengo. I had been tossing up weather I wanted to do it or not since I arrived and really couldn’t decided. In the end some boys at my hostel, Ryan, Rob and Sid made the decision for me. They were a fun group of guys that seemed as unprepared as me so I thought if Sid could do it so could I. Then the day of the hike as we were getting onto the bus Rob drops that he has climbed to Everest base campand Ryan is an avid hiker that goes almost every weekend. I was way out of my depth but I had paid for it now so there was no turning back.
I knew it was going to be hard but nothing could have prepared me for how fucking hard it was going to be. I had been on hikes before but this was above and beyond. To make it even harder we had to carry all our things. When I say we I mean Ryan. I still helped out and carried my water, sleeping bag and clothes but pack horse Ryan was amazing and carried all the rest.
By the first stop, around 30 mins into the hike, I knew I had made a massive mistake coming on this hike. Sids legs were cramping already so he decided to bow out and get a chicken bus home. If I had known what was to come I would have run down the hill after him. It was a constant climb from the beginning to the very end. There were only 2 flat parts the entire hike one for about 200m and the other about 40mins.
I was basically on my own at theback of the pack the entire hike. It didn’t really bother me though as I had my headphones in and no one to see me dying. Just when I thought I was at my lowest the heavens decided to open up and start hailing. It was like being shot all over by a million BB guns. Soaked and freezing cold I honestly thought this was the end! I wasn’t going to take one more step and threw my bag to the ground. I was staying here until the group came back.
After sitting there for a few minutes I realised I would literally die if I stayed here as I had no food (Ryan had run away with it) no tent and just a wet sleeping bag. I dragged myself off the floor and continued climbing. What after felt like a lifetime, but was actually around 6 hours I had made it to camp. The boys had got there long before me and had thakfully already set up the tent as I was in no state to help. I was basically hypothermic by the time I got into the tent. Everything was wet and I had gone blue. To say I wasn’t having fun would be the greatest understatment ever made. Rob and Ryan made me eat and eventually I started to warm up and become semi human again.
It was amazingly beautiful at the camp sight. Fuego was erupting every 10-15 mins and we got to see lava flowing out the top. We stayed out for as long as we could but eventually it just got too cold. We all went to bed to try and get some sleep as it was an early start and another huge day. Rob and Ryan happily spooned and kept eachother warm while I froze my ass off and got no sleep.
At 3 am we were back up and climbing again. It was torture!! We were now hiking up a hill covered in ash which is basically the same as climbing a giant sand dune. Amazingly I made it to the top. I couldn’t belive it. I even made it in time for the sunrise! It was absolutely freezing at the top and we were all huddling around like penguins trying to keep a little warm. As soon as the sun was up we were heading down the volcano. The way down was almost as bad as the way up. My legs started cramping so much I had to stop every 10 mins at the end. After a few hours we were finaly back to the start! I had done it!! I couldn’t walk properly for 4 days after and I lost my big toe nail. Was it worth it? I’m still not sure…. But I definitely would never do it agin!