Saturday, 12 January 2013

A magical morning in Guatemala

Crossing the boarder from Belize into Guatemala was quick and easy so I arrived in the town of Flores early afternoon.

The town is on a lake and is quite cool for a local Guatemalan town, with a relaxed laid back kinda vibe. We wandered the streets, checked out a random cake stall and popped into the shops. I picked up a beautiful blanket ... well you never know when its going to get cold in Central America!

It was coming up to Christmas so the locals were in full swing with their Christmas decorations. I got chatting to a family in english (me) and spanish (them) while they were madly putting up thousands of Christmas lights around their house. They invited me in to their home to check out how they had transformed their lounge room. Crazy right? But they were very proud ...

There was a large christmas tree in the town square. Rather than have a star or angel on top it had a chicken head. Not a real one, but still a chicken head. Well the logo for the local beer is a chicken head so I guess that's the connection???

You will need to look closely but the tree is at the end of the street...

Flores is used by tourists as a base to visit the Tikal ruins.

I decided to join the group to watch the sunrise over the ruins .... so prepared myself for a 2.30am wake up.

Wearing nearly all the clothes in my pack, I grabbed my torch and jumped on the mini van.

We walked through the jungle for about an hour in the dark. We were deep in the jungle, what was I thinking??  Then we climbed a pile of stairs and up a towering pyramid. And sat in the dark. And sat.

The howler monkeys were serenading us as we huddled together in the cold.

Next thing the sun started to rise, siloutetting the pyramid and the jungle canopy.

What an experience .... it was totally magical.

We then had a walk around the site. The pyramids rise up out of the jungle and some are over 60 metre high.

The Mayans settled in Tikal around 700BC and had built a series of stone ceremonial structures by 200BC. By the middle of the 6th century Tikal covered an area of over 30 square km's and was thought to have a population of over 100,000.

The ruins of Tikal weren't discovered until 1848. What a find it was ... thousands of ruins hidden by the jungle. The most impressive structures for me were Temples I and II.

And nearly impressive as the ruins was the amazing expresso I discovered at a little kiosk on the way out. Sometimes its the big things and other times its the little things in life .... on this day I had it all.

All the pics...
Guatemala - Flores / Tikal


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