Capitol time – Panajachel to Antigua (92k/11,411k, 880m)

(March 1 – written by Dave)

We’ve made it to Antigua – we were really excited to get here to have a look around.  Unfortunately we found that the hotel we booked via turned out to be a little rough.  Kind of hard to take after a long day in the bus and saddle but that’s how it goes, we’ll survive.

But before that, to the day itself.  We met that Panajachel guesthouse owner in the morning over an early brekkie.  Richard moved here in 1999 and is retired military from New Jersey.  Nice guy with lots of stories.  Sorry that we did not meet him earlier.

Our ride up the hill was right on time at 7AM.  Everything fit in the bus easy as we were the only two passengers.  Our bikes had to go on top, which didn’t thrill me but they survived.  The ride up the hill was pretty crazy actually.  Our driver was nice but a bit of a boy racer.  We overtook a couple slower moving cars, which had tp be passed regardless of it being safe or not.  It’s probably also that we are just not used to moving that fast.  Anyway, we survived and in spite of the curves and fast driving, neither of us got car sick.

We unloaded the van, reloaded the bikes and hit the road by 8AM.  We had a climb right away but it was much cooler up on the mountain.  We were happy for the uphill for the warm up.  We were even happier for the morning sun.  After about 5k of uphill we had the first of a series of ups and downs for the rest of the day.  Overall the downs were longer as we dropped elevation overall.  We made pretty good time throughout the day.

Fog ahead

Fog zone sign

Volcano scene 2

Top of the hill – view of volcano

Lillies 1

Seen on the climb – on bikes – in the bus it would have been a blur!

At the top of the second and longest climb we came across a Swiss restaurant.  We couldn’t not stop for a coffee and apple pie.  Call it morning tea.  There was not a Swiss to be seen in the entire place – it was all Guatemalans.  But the Swiss had clearly influenced the pie – it was delicious.  And all the decorations were Swiss – many old photos from the homeland.  It would have been interesting to know more of the story.

Swiss restaurant

Swiss restaurant

Swiss restaurant 1

Happy apple pie

After a few more up and down stretches we came to the town of Chimaltenango and a massive traffic jam.  The road until now had been 4 lanes with a shoulder.  Here it became 2 lanes but the shoulder stayed intact.  We slowly along the shoulder passing tons of cars and trucks.  And even passed chicken buses.  It was hard not to feel a bit smug.  None of the trucks or chicken buses were really moving and thus not gunning their engines.  All our passing included probably some of the cleanest air in spite of the traffic jam.

We eventually made it to our turn at Highway 14 and the traffic died off to almost nothing.  At this point my google maps said one thing and Nancy’s mapsme said another.  We didn’t know which app to believe so we rolled the dice.  It worked out and the last 14k were not too hard, except the last 2k where we hit the actual streets of town – this is another one of the those cute colonial towns with barely rideable rocks (I’m not even willing to call them cobblestones).

Boot town

On Highway 14 – boot being made

We stopped for a cafe on the way through town.  While sitting there a couple folks saw the bikes and came up to us to talk.  This included a couple that saw us last week at the Mexico-Guatemala border – they are headed to Colombia – we won’t see them again for sure.

Made it, cafe stop 2

Cafe – we made it

Horse for sale

Horse for sale – on cafe board

Eventually we made it to our hotel/guesthouse.  It is ok but not great.  There is shared bathroom for 5 rooms and probably 12 people.  The room is tiny and a bit stuffy.  We may look for another place but we’ll see.  We did manage to salvage the room issue with a nice dinner at a nice restaurant up the street.  I managed to find yet another Rouge IPA – these must be gringo towns.

Our shower - safe

Our shower – or make that everyone’s shower

We’ll have more of a look around town tomorrow.  We’ve paid for two nights in the hotel so we’ll see how that goes.  At least we get CNN on TV so we can catch up on what’s happening in the world.

More Rouge

Rogue at dinner

Door of the day

Door of the day

Antigua building 4

Antigua building

Antigua building 2

Antigua building wit icecream seller

Antigua building 1

Antigua building

My senior editor is sleeping so edits may be needed to this post.

14 thoughts on “Capitol time – Panajachel to Antigua (92k/11,411k, 880m)

  1. Good to hear that was a fog zone sign. I was thinking maybe mosquito zone. Now I am wondering if Rogue is really a mega-brewery pretending to be a micro–brew. How does the cost of Rogue beer compare with local beer cost?

  2. Glad you got to start the day with a helping ride up the hill. Flowers were great. The big buildings seem to be churches or gov’t buildings of some kind, but not much in the residential market! Happy to hear the coffee is good!

  3. Looking forward to your posts when you get to Nicaragua and Honduras as I have done surgical missions in both places..Chenadega ,Nicaragua and Comayagua Honduras which is on the Pan Am. So enjoy your posts and have followed you from Alaska .

  4. Great door of the day —and looks like it will be a great place to explore. The shower head looks very sketchy! Hope it lasts through your visit 🙂
    Dave….your spelling of Rogue beer needs some editing – sorry, it’s that Peterson thing again!

    • Haha We have an opening here at LWOP for an assistant Senior Editor. The JD is pretty simple – just be prepared every day between 3 and 5PM your time to receive a draft, read and correct the draft in the next 15 minutes and send it back. Will you be sending a resume to our HR team?

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