Thursday, 10 November 2011

Days 13 & 14: Crossing Guatemala (527 kms) and a day off in Antigua

We left Flores at first light after rising at 5am. While loading up and checking the bikes, a pack of rampaging teenagers heading home after an all night bender was efficiently waking up the rest of the town's residents.

We'd heard that the drive to Guatemala City took 9 hours and our designation was further down the road in Antigua. Ideally we wanted to arrive in daylight and certainly wanted to cross Guate City in light.

It was our most challenging day of riding: plenty of elevation changes, twisties, and towns plus heavy traffic and few passing lanes. We did a very efficient ride with only three stops: breakfast, gas and lunch. As it happened we rolled into Antigua just after 3pm. Guate is beautiful and the drivers were more respectful of bikes than I'd heard.

The day and a half long stay in Antigua was brilliant. We took full advantage of the day off (my first since leaving Ottawa). We lazed around, did some errands, did a little bike maintenance, met some interesting people and soaked in the atmosphere of the old colonial capital. Our home base was a hostel called the Terrace run by a friendly American couple. They were worried about the bikes' security and so we rolled them right into the lobby for the night. This left hardly any room for the other guests to enter, but no one seemed to mind!

With its cobblestone, the town is best navigated by bike and there are dedicated parking areas for moos and scooters: the old BMW GS with 64k miles was pretty. Ruins of colonial buildings from 18th century earthquakes and several prominent volcanoes are the town most notable icons.

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