All fine and fair done for here. We cycled for 5 days in a row until yesterday when we arrived in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. My birthday was well celebrated with a beer and a shot glass of a B52 alcoholic concoction. The cycling has been challenging but my gears problems have improved and Dad has been back on the bike since 9 December.
The last time I blogged was when we were staying in Jalapa on 7 December which was the first day that Dad did not cycle. On the following day, 8 December, Dad also did not cycle and it was a 91km humdinger of a cycle for me over two serious mountain climbs to the town of San Jose de Pinula where we overnighted. That was a really tough ride but I managed fine although a lot of people got thoroughly lost in a town en route to the destination. There were also few coke stops on that day and so it was a battle to cycle without the much needed coke a cola. We had good scenery on that day while cycling down the two climbs and when we arrived at the hotel, five weddings had already taken place in the hotel on that day. Unfortunately the town was unsafe according to hotel staff and therefore Dad could not walk around and had to stay at the hotel for the whole day after being transported there on the truck.
On the following day, 9 December, Dad got back on his bike for a shorter day of only 50km to the picturesque town of Antigua. This town was once the capital of New Spain and has beautiful architecture and in particular there are beautiful old churches. Most of the streets are cobblestone which makes cycling uncomfortable and in fact I got a puncture on the cobblestone in Antigua en route to the hotel. We arrived in the town before 1pm and had time to walk around and find lunch. One of the specialities of Guatemala is jadeite and there are several shops in Antigua that sell jade sculptures at very expensive prices. The Mayans believed that by dressing a jade mask over dead people´s faces in tombs would preserve their bodies forever even though decomposition took place upon the entire dead bodies. Therefore I guess you will find many jade masks in tombs without finding bodies of the Mayan people.
We carry on. Yesterday of course was my birthday ride and we cycled 84km from Antigua to Panajachel. It was also quite hard with two serious climbs. I also had a puncture at the top of a hill but fixed it myself for the first time. We finished the ride with stunning views of Lake Atitlan with a backdrop of three imposing volcanoes. I can tell you that I have probably never seen such a beautiful lake with blue skies and a mounatainous backdrop. Then it was party time. Everybody came to the poolside at the hotel and drank beer and even I enjoyed one local Guatemalan beer. Later we we went to a restaurant and I celebrated by eating two pizzas but avoided becoming intoxicated with alcohol which may may have been the idea of other TDA cyclists to get me fairly well watered. I was a beautiful day for me and I was glad to have company at the restaurant. Thank you TDA.
Thank you again for all the birthday wishes and I wish you a happy festive season Noreen, Julie, Mike and Mom.