GUATEMALA: 10.05. - 05.08.2008

TRANSLATED BY GOOGLE: Sorry for the bad qualety

Itinerary: Guatemala City, Antigua, Panajachel, Flores, Tikal, Belize City, Cayo Caulker, Antigua, San Pedro de la Laguna, Antigua, Guatemala, Rio Hondo, Copán (Honduras), Rio Dulce, Flores, Tikal

Cycled kilometers: 919 km     Ascent: 8335m

Preface: Almost three months we were in small Guatemala. Actually one should think, that we have now seen everything, but far from it. About half of the time Nadine was at home in Germany as promised before our departure to celebrate the 50th Birthday of their mother. After his mother came to visit Martin he used the remaining waiting time to upgrade his Spanish skills on Lake Atitlan. When Nadine was back we have, on the way back to our bikes, which we during their absence in Guatemala City in a hostel had left, a slightly longer stop in Antigua, because it was Nadines birthday. When we finally were back on our bikes were was our visa for Guatemala also has almost expired, and so we had to hurry to have time to Belize to leave the country. The two trip to Belize (Martin and his mother), and Honduras (Nadine and Martin), I have, due to the easier reading left remain in the Guatemala section. Nevertheless, I have the two countries also to their own page (sake of justice). Bushcamping was due to the many fences relatively difficult, but at petrol stations, we are always very friendlyrecieved. When we camped at the gas stations in the evening then we mostly got even a cold shower! Guatemala is mountainous and sometimes humid and hot and hence nothing for those who are looking for some easy cycling.
259th Weekly Report 10.05. -- 18.05.2008

Itinerary: Guatemala City, Antigua, Panajachel, Flores
Holiday and visit: With our arrival in Guatemala City there is for us a few more changes. Nadine had her mother promised at our departure to be at home for her 50th Birthday. A promise given easy, because we only wanted to travel 3 years, but because the world is bigger than expected and we still are on the road, this meant that Nadine would fly to Germany for 6 weeks. At the same time was the annual visit of my mother. We had heard that Guatemala should be very hilly, and also because the rainy season is advancing, I asked my mother, to leave her bike at home, so that we can more easily travel by bus. The next 2 weeks, I travelled together with my mother by bus to explore Guatemala and Belize, while Nadine again was at home and celebrated the birthday of her mother with their loved ones.
Chickenbus: The transition from the bike to public transport is also exciting for me. In order to leave Guatemala City we initially run with our entire luggage through the city as the busterminl had moved, but in the end we reach it with the help of the friendly Guatemalens. One of the buses is currently on leave when we arrive, and so we run behind it and jump through the open back door into the bus. At the same time drags the conductor our backpacks on the roof while the bus driver calmly keeps on driving slowly. The so-called "chicken buses" (because thay are so packed) are old American school buses, each with 3 seats on a bank. The benches were, of course, for lean American students designed so that the person making the passage to the middle sits with one side in the air. At least, it's comfortable. Hardly sets the first excitement is clear that our bus driver is actually a racing car driver, with the result that we have difficulties to sit on our places. Once a Guatemalen woman was caught of guard in a left curve and before she know it, she is already on the lap of my mother, which naturally triggers general hilarity. Slightly stunned, however, we arrive 3.5 hours later sound in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan.
Lake Atitlan: The 30 km long and 10 km wide and up to 320m deep Lake Atitlan was a volcanic eruption about 85,000 years ago. The 1500m located in idyllic mountain lake is about three 3000m high volcano surrounded what is already in the 60s many travellers and hippies attracted. Many hippies were the beauty of the lake with its banks located in the Mayan villages not escape and made it their new home. Increasingly more foreigners create a Waterfront and so have the Maya villages now have a sufficiently large international community. Clearly we can not resist with our Packrafts on the lake to paddle and far from the a bit dirty shore we take a wonderfully refreshing bath.
Antigua: Atigua, the old capital of Guatemala, after a whole series of large earthquakes in the year 1773 completely destroyed. While Antigua lay down in ruins the seat of government was moved to Guatemala City. Until the mid-19th century Antigua was populated again and slowly rebuilt until the successful restoration work led Antigua to become in 1979 a UNESCO World Heritage. Today Antigua is certainly the most touristy city of Guatemala, thanks to the magnificent colonia buildings, the old partlyrenovated monastery ruins and the streets of cobblestones. Added to this is a wonderful look at some up to 4235m high and some active volcanoes.
Mayas: The Maya culture existed from about 1800 BC. until about 1000 AD. in an area that today covers the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of Honduras and parts of El Salvador. Unfortunately, on the Maya culture, very few is known and their sudden disappear still is puzzling scientists. Unlike other advanced cultures (such as the Incas), there was never a Maya Empire. Rather, the Maya culture from many separate cities, which also competed among themselves, as it was also the case in ancient Greece. After the Maya had succeeded to cultivate the land and thanks terraces and irrigation canals quite efficient food was produced, while the corn is of particular importance, opened up the space for science, such as the writing, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and calendar on their part. For example, there are many temples to the movements of the sun. Unfortunately, almost all written records of the Mayas were burned from Bishop Diego de loading in the 16th Century, but at least three texts have survived in European museums. Even today there are 21 ethnic groups, each with its own language, to be descendants of the Maya, and their traditions, especially in the mountains is still a traditional life.
Tikal morning mood: We enter the park in the dark and a guide leads us to the temple point IV, from which we the sunrise witness. The guide asks all during the time here to mention what I regard as particularly pleasant. Gradually the jungle wakes up and so we first hear birds, singing their morning songs and then several families of howler monkeys wake up, while over the tops of the trees som Mayan pyramids are visible. Tikal was built around 900 - 700 BC. populated, and against 500 BC. was the first, then smaller stone pyramid was built. Around 250 AD. Tikal had already become an important centre of religion, trade and culture. It followed several disputes with neighbors and between 7 Century. In the 9th century Tikal reached its peak and covered an area of approximately 30 sq. km with about 100,000 inhabitants. In the 10th Century. Long before the Spaniards came, Tikal was finally abandoned and left, so that the jungle reclaimed piece by piece the city. Tikal was re-discovered then only in late 17th Century. but the first archaeological expedition was only in 1848 by the Guatemalan government action. Many international archaeologists have unfortunately taken over the years many art objects back to their home countries where they are now far from their homeland. The excavations of the temple are far from complete and will certainly continue for many decades.
Howler monkeys and ants: On the way between the two pyramids at once, we hear a few howler monkeys high above us in the tree tops. Although the howler monkeys are quite large they can be very difficult seen, because they hide in the leaves. One of our guides made the cry of the howler monkeys and then immediately came the answer from above. A little way away from the path tramples our guide at once next to a few small holes in the ground, and now come in hundreds of giant ants from the building, suspecting an assault and wanting to defend this now. The ants, which incidentally is still a delicacy, are really huge and so we prefer to security distance. Previously, the ants incidentally also used for wounds to "sew". The skin was held together and after the ants with their tongs came to hold it together  and then their head was detached, so that only the punches were left behind to keep the wound closed.
Ball game: For the Mayan ball game was not a pastime or sport, but a religious ritual. Gates served as a small holes in the earth (at least here in Tikal) and the ball was with the upper arms, shoulders, knees and legs are played. For the Mayan ball game that symbolized the struggle between good and evil. Tough seems from today's perspective, in particular the practice that the members of the winning team were sacrificed to the gods. Why should a football team want to win, if it would die afterwards? Presumably it was to be honoured sacrificed to the gods, or perhaps there was even a similar concept as in Islam, where each victim of the Holy War will spent his life  in the heaven. 
Solar calendar: These pyramids were aligned to the sun, each view when the sun is at the northern or southern or turning circle at the equator. Whether the Maya had probably already know that the earth is a sphere?
Toucans: The caves living in tree breeding and toucans you can encountered anywhere in the park. If you knock on the trunk of a tree where a toucan lives he stretches this curious only its huge beak and then his head out to look for potential dangers.
Steep Pyramids: The extremely steep pyramids of Tikal are only gradually grown. First, it was smaller pyramids built and in later years, a bigger pyramid was simply constructed over the old pyramid. There are pyramids, which actually consists of five pyramids and so theyremind me somehow to the Russian wooden dolls. At a temple had an American research team is trying to become into the inner temples, but finally, the whole construction then collapsed. Before the pyramids are often so called stelas, stone slabs, that describe the life of a Mayan prince and his achievements and conquests.
Cayo Caulker (Belize): Because my mother has never in her life been in the crystal clear waters of the tropics to bathe or even snorkeling, so we had a few days for a trip to Belize. Before the English-speaking Caribbean coast of Belize is a whole series of beautiful islands and the second largest coral reef in the world (the largest is in Australia). For sun-worshippers and for water sports it is a little paradise.
Seacows (Belize): Here in the shallow waters off Belize are also seacows home. Seacows, Seaelefants not dissimilar, but do not eat fish but only plants. Our guide tells us that seacows are absolutely peaceful and not even defend them if attacked. Since seacows  are mammals they have breath every few minutes at the surface, and then again on the seabed roots of seaweed to eat. The ripped out then pushes grass-eating on the dugongs, making it easier to detect them. We are fortunate that one of the shy  seacows even comes close to our boat and once even swims under it, but as a girl of our group makes a step it disappears.

260th Weekly Report 19.05. -- 25.05.2008

Cayo Caulker, Belize, Rio Dulce, Livingston, Antigua, Guatemala City, Panajachel


Snorkeling (Belize): The main attraction of Cayo Caulker is about 1 km from the coast, a huge coral reef. With a snorkel tour booked, the only way to the reef to come, we visit a coral gasrden, a Marine Reserve and the so-called shark and ray alley. We are lucky and next huge fish shoals, and many extremely large fish, we can design a green turtle close watch comfortably on the seabed and only grazes to breath every few minutes short swims to the surface. In the shark and ray alley we can qualify for next to a large number of sharks, rays can be observed. The so-called Nurse Sharks are completely harmless, and are no danger for us. A somewhat strange feeling but it is nevertheless, if an approximately 1m - 1.5 m long shark in close proximity quickly and silently through water glides.

Cave at Rio Dulce (Guatemala): From the freshwater lake Lago de Izabal leads the Rio Dulce directly into the Caribbean Sea, past the luxury villas of wealthy families from Guatemala and the United States, a small, one dugongs Reserve, hot springs and a magnificent jungle. To help us with our inflatable boats on the lake outside the stormy wind, we suspend the first stage with a quasi as bus operating motor boat. On the road we stop briefly at a thermal spring and random, we learn that there is also a huge cave. Together with the local guide, for the lucky few with flashlights equipped to go to a small fact-finding tour the almost endless cave system,. 3-4 hours, one would need to view the entire cave to cross says our guide as we already impressed by the first few metres.
Hot Pool: We come in the middle of the Jungle Finca situated on a tributary of the Rio Dulce under and briefly before sunset paddle our boats again to the thermal pool. From other tourists far and wide no trace and so we enjoy the hot water in silence. Fun is that the hot water, only on the surface, because while the top part extremely hot is the water in the deeper layers refreshingly cool. Especially we have a lot of fun with a kind of plankton which is so small that it really can not see. But if you in the night his hands moved it begins to shine on us it looks as if there are many tiny stars magically shot into the water.
Paddle Tour: From Hotelito Perdido we paddle the next day on the Rio Dulce to Livingston on the Caribbean coast. We will go late, so we sometimes something with strong headwind to fight, but the journey along steep jungle covered with dense mountain forests is wonderful. It is hot and so we take now and then a swim, we simply by boats from falling into the water and enjoy the cool wet. Only during re-entry into the boat, my mother minor problem, but ultimately successful masters :-). Passing herons and water lilies, we finally after 3 hours in Livingston.
Xylophone: Xylophongruppe in a beautiful old restaurant in Antigua.
Farewell: Hard to believe how quickly 2 weeks will pass before we can and provide us states has once again tops for my mother. We create it just quickly the photos on a CD to burn before we even in a taxi to the airport sitting, where it also checks in all completely Smoothly runs. So until next time!
261st Weekly Report 26.05. -- 01.06.2008

Spanish course: Actually I wanted during my four "free" weeks to Honduras to dive cycle, but because Nadine now also want to dive, I have the plan later on and I decided to deal with something pleasant to read and prefer my Spanish language skills a little income . So I go back to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan, find a good school Spanish and reserve a course with night a host family. Since I kearned most of my Spanish on my own with books, I now have a relatively large vocabulary and know the grammatical rules in principle, but when you go below it and forget it. So I actually dedicate the entire week only to the deepening of the various historical forms.
Coyote: One lunch, the sister of her husband and daughter for lunch to visit. There is a lively entertainment on mountains, hiking trails, rivers, and crocodiles, and after a few minutes I realized that our visitors Coyote. Coyote also called the smugglers, people illegally across the borders into the United States. I have no idea how the Coyoten also by their own government and so I think subtly in the background and do so as if I do not understand. The conversation revolves mainly around the different routes that krokodilverseuchten rivers and the bribes at the many police checkpoints to the Coyote on the long road north master. Normally, the Coyote needs of Guatemala from 2 weeks for the outward and return journey to the United States. On the evening hake but then again I to do so and that as Coyote here before the police must have no fear, because it is a good source of income for them and they only have money from him. The journey from here in the U.S. costs incidentally 6000, - U.S. $. No bargain, but a lot cheaper than the 14,000, - U.S. $ one of Ecuador must pay from
Respect for animals: According to my family and my Spanish teacher, there is on Lake Atitlan people who can transform into animals. People tell me my Spanish teacher that a few years ago the neighbours a lion, a wolf and a dog in the night along the road. My teacher and her family lives in the last house the deadlock and as the three animals when they began their arrived in at the door to scratch. They had all the fear and have fortunately not open the door, because otherwise the three animals were all killed. The only thing is against the principle that people turn into animals can make salt is spread on the skin, which falls if they are transformed into an animal, then they could not in their human body.
Human sacrifice: My teacher told me that her father a few years ago when road works here at the lake cooperate. At that time, the excavations made on the day the next day always filled with earth. After a few days the construction workers discovered a child that at night the only excavation with a foot motion again filled with soil, but they could sprehen with the child. It was obvious that as the road no longer could be built, and so went diving in the lake to search for the cause of the mysterious operations. The divers discovered at the bottom of the lake, a church where the child was sitting and the child told them that the road only then can build when heads hundred people were sacrificed. Then the government lies 100 criminals, homeless and alcoholics kill, and they sacrificed the road without further problems could continue. At least for my Spanish teacher was no doubt that both events as happened as they had experienced a self and the other her father.
262nd Weekly Report 02.06. -- 08.06.2008

San Pedro: San Pedro de la Laguna is much more quiet and comfortable as Panajachel, and so I decide now from here Spanish lessons. Life in San Pedro is still relatively traditional and while nearly all women nor their traditional colorful wrap skirts and embroidered blouses bear, there are only a few mostly elderly men, the typical here dreiviertellangen embroidered pants and embroidered shirts. Many younger men would also like to wear traditional dress, but as these are costly manufactured by hand, it is now unaffordable for many days and so only for reasons of cost western clothes. Amazing is that here in San Pedro, as indeed everywhere in Guatemala, the influence of the Protestant churches from the United States is growing more and more and there are now more than 20 different Protestant sects.
Bathing Excursions: The Spanish school is located directly on the lake, and though it the first week of almost continuous rains do I use together with Mihai, one of the Romanians also here to learn Spanish, for bathing. We paddle mostly with the Kayukos (wooden kayaks), the school of the lake, where we then jump into wonderfully refreshing but not cold water.
La Nariz: Lake Atitlan is faced with many thousands of years in a titanic volcanic eruption, and so created the lake now used by some volcanoes as well as the mountains like an impact crater surrounded. One of the crater forming mountains looks like a nose and was therefore "La Nariz". Together with Vincente, the owner of the Spanish school, and Mihai we climb the Nariz and despite many clouds enjoy the magnificent view of the lake.
263rd Weekly Report 09.06. -- 15.06.2008

San Pedro
Maximón: Together with Vincente we go by boat to Santiago de Atitlan. In Santiago is still warshipped Maximón, though it is not quite as clear as if it was the deity Maximón. While some believe it was an ancient Maya deity called San Simon and others see it as a Christian patron saint. In Santiago one tells you also the history, that Maximón was a young man who was against the authorities and has helped the poor. Several times he was captured but he could always exempt (which is also the name Maxi món in a Mayan language means). Anyway, today is Maximón approximately 1m large wooden figure, in suits and silk dress and a Stetson hat. In addition Maximón smokes all day sacrificed to him cigarettes and drinking rum. Maximón "lives" for one year by a member of the Brotherhood Cofraida in a decorated room. Maximón moved regularly and many of his clothes are well over 100 years old. From the entire perimeter of the people in Maximón to ask for help and occasionally will also honor him and celebrate festivals. Whether its full schedule, the many rites and his many commitments does it almost as if Maximón today placed in chains rather than earlier.
Kissing Hand: In San Pedro, it was until a few years ago the tradition that when you meet someone older than this respect expressions of the hand kiss. In the last few years, the tradition almost completely dissolved and now comes the most honor only the oldest members of the community attention. Some of the older but can not so easily and so often they see their house for hours on stairs and sit her hand to passers-motion. Only a few still show the kiss, some to shake the hand of western style and many simply raise their hand for the greeting, and wish you a nice day. Especially an older man is "stubborn". He is also whether they are locals or tourists, and so he beckons me often from afar. To drop him without him would be welcome to a difficult challenge, and so I shake his hand mostly, it was always happy. Remember, it is unfortunately not to me, because if I just two minutes later come back to him he looks at me as he would see me for the first time.

264th Weekly Report 16.06. -- 22.06.2008

San Pedro, Antigua, San Pedro

Spanish course: In San Pedro I had not quite sooo good luck with my Spanish school. In the first week was a second student in my family quartered, so I finally in a hostel with a magnificent view of the lake moved bin (the photo is of my bed). My first Spanish teacher understood in its compartment, but was apparently from his job as annoyed that he had no intwerest in teaching. In the second week I had a Spanish teacher, who did not know how he could explain the rules of the grammar form Subjuntivo (a special time in Spanish) and therefore constantly pulled me into any discussions. In the third week I had then is finally a very good teacher, but because she had already two other students, I had only two lessons and they were in the evening from 18:00 to 20:00 clock. As for the fourth week the good teacher was again fully booked and others not every day I should have and must finally abandoned me now but again the search for a new school go.
A reunion: I'm in Panajachel to raise money and in search of a cash machine to me at once the cap and a tourist whose face quite familiar. Less I ask him whether he would be Tim, and he is indeed. We have Tim at the beginning of our journey in Egypt in early 2004 and then met later in Jordan and Syria. Tim had the dream of his money as a travel photographer to earn and now three years since he has done it and works for Rough Guides. Unfortunately, just two minutes later the bus with Tim to Antigua and so will this reunion was only short-lived. Tim, however, is just his job in Guatemala and before it is ready for him to Peru, he has a few quiet days in Antigua, where I then at the weekend visited. The common one and a half days are we really only one coffee and wandered on the other hand, only then if it would have been embarrassing even longer to stay forward. We had every 4 years each of intensive travel and to tell there was only a few moments in which we both remained silent. I remember a photo of Tim to make and I have the old 4 years ago made but although both Tim and his cap already a few years longer on the hump, both have not changed.

265th Weekly Report 23.06. -- 29.06.2008

San Pedro de la Laguna

Coronation ceremony: During the festival in honour of St Peter, the name of the town's patron, was to start the queen of San Pedro Award. The Reina  (queen), the four weeks earlier before the whole town was selected after a screening at the culture should be and then a jury question and answer had now been formally crowned. On this occasion came to the 30 queens from the near and distant hinterland. Main attraction of the evening was undoubtedly the collection of queens. Approximately 1.5 hours needed queens in their traditional costumes, to the 20m long catwalk to the gallery danced.
Festival parade: The next day, then the big parade. Several decorated floats and several bands draw in the morning through the streets of San Pedro. The move is in the zigzag course through the town and so I have the same luck it a total of three times to see! Only on my first position, I have the misfortune in the vicinity of an aggressive ants tribe to stand, my feet so violently attacked that even in the evening, the swelling of bites can see.
Traditional costumes: While in Guatemala, women are often still the traditional costumes worn the number of traditionally dressed men declined markedly. Not that many men do not wear the traditional dress wanted, but the elaborate handiwork produced embroidered trousers and shirts are simply unaffordable for many. 100, - up to € 150, - € cost of a dress and a hourly wage of less than 1.5 € for a Spanish teacher is so prohibitively expensive!
Chickenbus environmentally friendly: San Pedro's contribution to climate protection. If all the buses as environmentally friendly would be to CO2 emissions probably not worry. But then you need a little more time to go greater distances and with the luggage must be a limit something.
Nadine is back: After 6 weeks home leave Nadine is now back. While I'm finishing my laat week of spanish classes Nadine gets used to Central America.

266th Weekly Report 30.06. -- 06.07.2008 

Itinerary: San Pedro de la Laguna

Giant Wheel: We in Germany have Giant Wheels somehow a bit more comfortable, in which the whole family from small child to grandma canview the the world peace from above. With this expectation, we then also in the Giant Wheel in San Pedro. The higher we rise into the air we all the more clear that probably never a securety check was mede on the somewhat wobbly construction. The gondola rocks back and forth and up here seems to even the Giant Wheel to move sideways. In order not from the gondola to fall, we therefore good for safety. As we return to the ground we are pleased that we'll be right back solid ground under the feet will have, but because we are misled. After a few more passengers were invited, the real ride begins. The operator of the Giant Wheel is on his tractor gas right now and we race in high speed repeatedly into the air. After a few wild rounds where we have trust in the Giant Wheel that we no longer fear for our lives, but for safety but we prefer. Ina, work with us on the road, is not much different, but much to her joy, a Guatemalan boy with its gondola, of course, nothing better to do than to jump onto the bench in the gondola. Just EUR 0.5 did the fun cost, but a trip was for all of us more than enough and even a few hours later I felt still dizzy.
Procession: During the festival week, the Saints Peter a few times through the streets of the town. He was accompanied in each of the Catholic Brotherhood in their beautiful costumes and masks and a band.
Civil War: The Civil War in particular in the 80s in Guatemala raged course made even before San Pedro not stop and Philippe, a former victim, told us in an evening event in the Spanish school of his experiences. His story is absolutely shocking. Like many other young Guatemalans was sixteen years damls Philippe in the night by soldiers from the house of his parents and kidnapped a camp. The action sparked a shot and met Philippe in the leg, but he was not treated for this. Fortunately it was only a flesh wound. The following 7 days was Philippe and the 3 other guys were with him were delayed every day tortured. This was the method of torture he was stuck sub-head  into the lake and again after he was pulled out shortly before the suffocation was still one of the methods harmless, although one of his fellow prisoners had not survived. The military had apparently suspected that Philippe and his fellow any information about the guerrillas. On the seventh day was one of the fellow after a further interrogation with the words he was now a "free man" released, but when he marched from the site wurd it back "on the run" shot. Philippe expected now that he eventually would not otherwise be taken, but we on the eighth day he unexpectedly to the jetty to Santiago de Atitlan. He is free! The shot wound in his leg had become so inflamed strongly that it after the short boat trip to San Pedro only with the help of a friend back to the house his family was able to run where it has long held for death. Today, 21 years later, it appears that the internal wounds to be healed well because, while Philippe us his story, he gives us not give the impression that he had any feelings of hatred towards his former tourterers. Philippe Thank you for your courage and your openness!
Baila de la Conquista: Another highlight of the festival is the dance of the conquest of the same several times on the square below. Basically, the dance the conquest of Latin America by the Spaniards, but unfortunately nobody can give me the importance of the individual dances and masks explain.
Drinking break: The Baila de la Conquista each lasted several hours, and especially in the midday heat was for the dancers under their heavy masks and costumes warm certainly not fun, so they were always very grateful if they have a water bag or a bottle of cola got enough .
267th Weekly Report 07.06. -- 13.07.2008

Itinerary: San Pedro de la Laguna, Antigua
Volcano ascent: After more than five weeks now, it was farewell to San Pedro de la Laguna, the small Maya town on Lake Atitlan. On our way back to Guatemala City, we have an intermediate stop in Antigua. One of the main attractions in Antigua is the ascent of the active Pacaya volcano. Without our bikes, we were on one of the many tour players for us with only 20 other tourists in a caravan to the entrance of the National Park brought. From the park entrance footpath led us a good 1.5 hours to climb to the top of a large lava field.
Lava: Lava here directly from the ground and flows slowly paves its way downhill is incredibly hot. Just as some American tourists we also make some Maschmellows above the glowing rock. Even from a few metres away are the Maschmellows in seconds roasted, and do so just long enough how to get so close to the embers stop.
Even more lava: The closer the sunset comes the more the lava starts to shine and to begin just as interesting to be our guide says that we must now return! An hour before by the travel agent assured return date! I think the guide because of the opposition to return early date, and in response I get aggressive: "If you are not back to the bus are you need a ride home ownership opportunity organize and extra pay!
Guide: Where we are on the Guide. In principle we have no confidence in the guides, and so we prefer to go on a tour on our own. Well on the lava, as we wanted to do this and so we have the third time in the last five years, a guided tour. The performance of the guides provided by Barco Tours was pretty poor. Already on the bus he gave for 5 Quetzales some walking sticks with the comment that a wall corners in the initial burning hot lava absolutely necessary, since one in the hot rock would burn the hands. Hardly we get off the bus, there is the same walking sticks but only 2 Quetzales. When the lava were the sticks but virtually useless, since one of the great heat eh several meters distance had to keep. When our guide ascent lost twice four and two of his sheep and it has therefore only noticed because of other participants, he pointed out. After the guide us prematurely, then back down the lava field has pushed he was again pointed out that two of his sheep, which, incidentally, with flip flops but with good initial wall corners of the mountain on the tour were lost again. When descent into black night was our guide so deepened in a discussion with the only four Guatemalans his group that he twice about half the group lost! Fortunately, we met the second time in the Guide to another group which, with enough flashlights equipped, had no problems finding the way. Although 3 / 4 of its participants were from the United States except of course he said "tip" no Word English, but barely back on the bus, he called for it immediately. A nice next to us Americans had only a few coins to insert our guide, but with the remark "I want a tip, not charity!" were rejected. While the "excellent performance leader" of our guides, we pointed that even with a tip to reward whereupon we schnippische the remark "Thanks for the tip 'capture. We are a richer experience and our tours in the future without Guide certainly enjoy double again!
Double Birthday: Hard to believe but Ina has on the same day birthday as Nadine, and what would be more than to celebrate together. Ina ended their Spanish course one day earlier and comes to us in Antigua, where we then, after the two birthday extensively with children had phoned at home, by Ina even baked a birthday cake to enjoy. Ok. actually it would be located in me the birthday cake to bake, but the one we had no stove and the cream cakes Nadine rejects the baker, as it has a little indigestion. In the evening we would consider with Jessy, whose girlfriend also his birthday today but still in Australia, through the bars and in the third pub, we discover then finally by the birthday children desired drinks on the map (and there are even). A cocktail is the girls but enough already, and so is Jessy heavy heart with us well before midnight back into the hostel. Faith that was for the most boring Jessy birthday celebration of his life, but Jessy is also a typical Australian, who has no problems with his first gin and tonic already in the early afternoon to mix.
268th Weekly Report 14.06. -- 20.07.2008 

Itinerary: Antigua, Guatemala City, Guastatoya
Settlers and Internet translation: Directly after canoeing on Lake Atitlan, Nadine lost her nw cap, as a few guys annoyed them. Our hostel owner was able to make out who the cap itself and has had taken us to his house accompanied, but the "Finder" of the cap was so drunk that he had problems. The words he brings, we can be with difficulty and hardship shows that the cap while he was drunk lost it. At least the good that a serious alcohol problem was obvious. Fortunately, however, Ina expected for next week visit from Germany and will please David but asked for a new cap for Nadine to bring (the Nadines mother had already concerned). The only flaw in the matter, we must again wait one week. So we spend our days also in Antigua. Daytime makes Martin to the English translation of our website, while Nadine new extensions for our travel version of the board game "Settlers of Catan" from the Internet runterlädt and playing cards bastelt. The evening is of course the new versions out, if not Ina Nadine or of the hard days are already too tired :-).
Cut: Nadines fork was about 15 years and hard use by them and UFO now completely over. Just as it is for us a good one proud owner donated UFO Nadine even 6 years and 67000 km after the purchase of a new second-hand fork! I use the new fork in Nadines context and as these neatly above rausschaut I think to myself, "the dung is too long, thought it fit UFO had cut off." So I make a mark at the end of the Steuerrohrs at the fork and go to a gas station where I am kindly lends a metal saw with my fork cut fit. Back at the hostel, I try the fork back into the frame and as I just lead with a ring so me how it is shed from the eyes: Where should I now with the handlebar stem fix? There was also the suspension but be trimmed to fit and I have Trottel they simply sawed off! Now good advice is expensive! True more expensive, because in bikeshop says to me that the cane in Guatemala abgesägte nowhere can exchange and a new fork 500, - EUR would cost. Fortunately, I think, however, a bikeshop in which you join the exchange of the tube accepting the suspension. With an old broken suspension is now fitter and within 15 minutes, the defective pipe from the old fork in my inside. Converted 35,-EUR cost me the fun! A real "Gringopreis", especially when considering that more than a Spanish teacher earns per week, but I am pleased to announce the suspension still have to be saved!
Key forgotten: Now we founf out that we have forgotten our key in a hotel in Antigua. So back  into the bus.
Octane and gallons: When we first time the bottles for our gasoline stove here in Guatemala to fill the filling station, I ask how much because the normal octane gasoline octane and how much the Super here. From an octane number of our filling station has apparently never heard and what he says to me that here in the gasoline gallons sold! (1 gallon is about 3.8 litres). Although I try to explain to him that with octane gasoline quality and not quantity bezeichnetet, but he is still insist that only gallons sold. So we just fill up 1 / 4 gallons "Something".
269th Weekly Report 21.06. -- 27.07.2008

Route: Rio Hondo, Copán (Honduras), Rio Dulce (Guatemala)
Trip to Honduras (Honduras): The famous Maya ruins of Copán, because of their beautiful stone work called "Athens of the new world" are just a few kilometres across the border in Honduras and so we make a detour to the small neighbouring country. A total of 200 km and orderly many additional meters of altitude in humid tropical climate, we act while we can, but the ruins have given us very much.
Copán Ruinas (Honduras): 426 AD. left Yax K'uk 'Mo' Kingdom, went to Copán, then replaced the ruler and built a new palace. Important for the success of Yax K'uk 'Mo' was certainly that just this year a Baktum, an important 400 years period in the Maya calendar (such as for us the millennium), was finished and that a new era began. In the following years, nearly 400 Copán of 16 kings with beautiful names as "18 Rabbit," "Smoke monkey" or "Moon Jaguar" government. The last king, Yak Pasah, incidentally, the first not from the bloodline of the founder came, saw to 4x4 kings in 400 years ahead of the end of Copán, devoted his time to completing all of his predecessors commenced construction projects and had made the altar Q. With his death in 820 AD. and thus an almost vollendetem 400 years cycle was also the end of Copán sealed. Before the city that its heyday had 25,000 inhabitants, then leave forever was a stele was built in the Yak Pasah, the last royal rulers gives his staff to a "king will never prevail on an altar was never completed,". 1576 Copán was first discovered by the Spaniards.
Altar Q (Honduras): On the altar Q are all 16 rulers displayed in chronological order. The first sees Yax K'uk 'Mo' the rulers staff to his successor, transfers and thus the dynasty founded. As the last ruler then Yak Pasah itself, which concludes the dynasty. On top of the altar is the history of Copán presented
Hieroglyphic staircase (Honduras): On the 72 stages of the huge staircase, a total of 2500 to find hieroglyphs. Thus, the staircase the longest hieroglyphic inscription to you today in the Maya world has found. 753 AD. the stairway of the Maya rulers "smoke shell" commissioned by the glorious past of the city to be documented, although Copán already on the descending branch. Since the staircase collapsed and archaeologists, as they discovered more or less only cairns vorfanden, one could, unfortunately, until now only the bottom 15 steps to fully restore
Ball game (Honduras): In a very beautiful little museum in Copán can be seen in a short video film of the Mayan ball game. In principle apply in about the rules of soccer tennis. Played 4, the KG (!) Serious ball but only with the hip. To not right the first ball contact hip to break the players wear a thick padded leather belt. Played the game on the ball on the photograph depicted ball playground.
Stelas (Honduras): The stelas in Copán, about 3m high with stone boulders decorated work, the most beautiful and best preserved Mayan stelas throughout the world. The stelas are something like the history of the Mayans, because they have the steles both the Maya king and portrays his life, works and deeds and other important events with hieroglyphics documented. On the hieroglyphics decorated with 52 A stele (731 AD.) One finds, among other things hieroglyphics from Palenque, Tikal and Calakmul, the importance of Copán stresses.
Water shortages (Honduras): Because of the strong rains of recent days and the so-triggered landslides, the water pipe to Copán Ruinas de capped. Even as we arrived we were of a hostel on the grounds that there is no water, refused. But we find a nice hostel is still in its water tank and can even shower! The next day it rains in the afternoon as currents and so appear everywhere at once bucket to hear the precious moisture to collect. We believe the water from our hostel as a drinking water on the way and so we also pans out and collect a few litres of rain water. Rege water is sterilized guaranteed! (The bucket is the bottom right)
Exhausted! Midday break back in Guatemala: For well over 30 ° C in the shade, feeled 100% humidity and sometimes very steep climbs! Rest breaks and cold drinks urgently required!
270th Weekly Report 28.06. -- 03.08.2008

Route: Rio Dulce, Flores, Tikal
Paddling trip on the Rio Dulce: With our Packrafts we wanted to paddle from Fronteras over the Rio Dulce to its mouth in the Caribbean in Livingston. We start at a wonderful weather and no wind, and even when the river after a few kilometres extends to a lake, the water is still flat. Around noon refreshes but then suddenly the wind. Of course, we have wind and so we need to properly define the tools to deal with wind and waves this situation. We come only at a snail's pace and suddenly we discover a tributary of the river runs parallel to, but well protected from wind and waves. After about 30 minutes but then we ask for safety in a motor boat driver to see if this side also the direction of Livingston, and now know that this arm is an impasse and far away from the actual river. Gone are the dream of wind paddle and so we have to return to the skin flow (later we learn that the information of the motor boat driver was wrong and we follow the side just before the entrance to the canyon on the Rio Dulce would meet again). In the main river and then we also the wind and big waves and properly thanks to the large wind attack surface of our boats, it is the purest heavy Beit. About two hours we only need to find the back to cross the lake and a little further forward then finally in the windgeschützteren Canyon einzufahren. A total of 9 hours we need for the 32 km from Fronteras to the Hot Springs and, accordingly, exhausted and relieved when we finally arrive there.
Water lilies: Lilies, or at least similar water plant, on the Rio Dulce.
Orchids: Of course we can not operate on the orchids, there is some trees grow directly on the water, to smell, especially since we will not even need to leave our boats.
Hot Springs and Hotelito Perdido: Shortly before sunset we finally reached the Rio Dulce Canyon. We have for the first time on this trip paddled blisters on the hands and are pleased that we flow through the last mile are on the Hot Springs something. The Hot Springs are also inundated and even a part of the dock is under water. In the Hot Springs is already Aksha, the boss of Hotelito Perdido, to me the boats immediately recognize. After our aching muscles in the pools something we have relaxed the tempting offer of Aksha us in their boat the last few kilometres to the hotel with them grateful. We are the only guests and entertain us again half the night with Chris and Aksha, by the way their Jungle Lodge 4 years ago on their own work it out from the jungle (
Rio Dulce Canyon: The steep jungle covered with dense mountain slopes of the Rio Dulce Canyon are absolutely impressive, and remind me almost a kleinwenig to Lahn at Balduinstein.
Currency exchange: In the last 5 years we never had our problems Euros to change but here in Guatemala is quite difficult and sometimes sweat. In Flores, because of its proximity to the Mayan ruins of Tikal, certainly one of the touristischten places of Guatemala, we have about 3 hours to 50, - € to change! No, to banks it has certainly not gemangelt, but all banks share only U.S. $! Even the ATMs want our European card is not accepted, but after my T-shirt has a little more dry spots which we finally find a bank willing, to exchange our €. However, our exchanges Euros at a rate of 1:1,5 in dollars in order then to the current market value in the Guatemalan Quetzales changed! 3 hours to 50, - € to replace them and that, where the world just a mouse click away!
And if you're not willing, then I need violence: The truck wanted backwards in the branch enter. But the driver, much too early, so that the semitrailer about 3m above the road runs into the ditch and the truck on the other hand, with halfway moving tires, sticks in the ditch. Now comes a bulldozer and lifts the difficult the back of the semitrailer up and pushes it further towards the way before the semi fell back on the floor. We fear that either of the semi-trailer would break. It was certainly a few times just before that one of the accidents happened, but eventually wins the power. The trailer is on the way and the truck from the ditch! The road block is repealed and we cycle again.
Attention wild animals: No front of the large wild animals we really have no fear (except perhaps for the snakes), but small animals such as mosquitoes or ants teach us again and again but the new fear.
Tikal: Even with Nadine I will see Tikal, but this time we are almost in the garden of a hotel on our tent and can be directly at the entrance of the park overnight. More on the history of Tikal in the first weekly report of Guatemala.
The jungle awakes: 03:45 clock rings the alarm, was short of free stuff from the packed and poorly lit with candles park entrance. A few minutes later, then even the first tour buses and in the great turmoil, I ask Luis Guide whom I also had my mother and we are in for 5, - € instead of 10, - to € with the sunrise tour: Well is accompanied by heavily armed pumping Guns Parkrangern a brief half hour by the pitchblack park to Temple IV, we in the first dawn climb. We are almoust the first and so after witness how different howlermonkey families awaken, start their morning roar and thus wake the remaining virgin forest dwellers we Spider Monkeys, toucans and parrots. With its 65m the Temple IV is the largest structure in Tikal, and so we sit almost directly above a sea of leaves. Thanks to the overnight rain still a lot of hang fog over the roof of the jungle, which gradually from the sun's rays be resolved.
Temple IV: After sunrise we adopt, however, the guided tour and start with the park on your own to explore. Suddenly we discover in a gap in leafes the roof  of temple IV. Here we have above the sunrise spent. The 741n.Chr. Temple completed IV served as a backdrop, incidentally a rebel base in Star Wars
Temple II: Long before the masses everyday tourists arrive at the Grand Plaza, we can already impressive 44 high temple in the morning I enjoy the sun. The temple was in honor of the wife of the Maya ruler Hasaw Chan K'awil built. About a wooden staircase on the left side of the temple can even climb.
Temple I: The 47m high temple was dedicated to Hasaw Chan K'awil built, the Maya rulers, after long debates finally Calakmul, Tikals Erzfeinde, beaten. Finish leave the temple, but his son and successor Yik'in Chan K'awil in the year 712 AD.
Rain at the temple V: What actually every day so we will continue in Tikal from those included in the usual rainy season and rain Nachmittagsgewittern caught. As the thunderstorm loslegt we just enjoy the magnificent view from the 58m high temple V. The wooden staircase to the temple leads V is extremely steep (almost vertically and not for weak minds) and before the rain greasy and slippery, we will increase from the over 1400 years old temple prefer down in the Urwal. Just in time before an strong tropical rain came.



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