Thursday, April 30, 2015


I had a lot to celebrate last weekend.  First of all, there was the 11km trail race that I won a little over a week ago.  (Yes, won.  At least the women’s category.  It’s the first time I’ve ever come in first place in a race, and I did not expect it in the least).  Second was the fact that as of Friday, April 24th, 100% of my requirements are complete for my master’s degree in International Education. 

Approaching the finish line

Celebrating my masters degree with a
massive turkey leg.
Both of those things are worth a celebration.

So, to celebrate (and to relax after an intensive 2 week master’s course), Richard and I took off for a weekend at Lake Atitlan. 

The weekend was exactly what I was hoping for: a perfect balance between adventure and total relaxation. 

On Saturday, we took our time packing (because if you know me at all, you know I always leave packing for the last minute) and leaving the city, arriving at our hotel in Lake Atitlan around 3:30pm.  The day was overcast, so we had no view of the volcanoes across the lake, but the room was bright and the hotel grounds filled with lush gardens. 

View from the room

That evening, we enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner at our hotel, then called it an early night. 

Sunday morning we woke up to sunshine, but again, fog shrouded the other lake’s volcanoes from view.  Our plan for the day was to go on a hike, and while it was disappointing that we probably wouldn’t have a view, we were still excited about it, and we had a quick breakfast at the hotel before catching a lancha across the lake to begin our hike from the property that used to be Richard’s grandfather’s coffee finca. 

Beginning the hike

The hike took us up a ridge to what would have been a stunning view of the lake and all three volcanoes surrounding it.  Instead we saw mostly blue, but it was still quite enjoyable. 

From the ridge, we hiked into the village of Peña Blanca.  (If you have seen the documentary Living on One, it was filmed there.  If you have not…I recommend watching it).  

Peña Blanca
From the village we followed a quiet road all the way to Solalá, then down the main highway back into Panajachel.  All together the hike was 14.5km (about 9 miles), and I think it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.

A quick stop at the waterfall on the way to Pana

We had lunch at a place called Circus Bar in Pana.  It had great ambiance and great pizza!  However, as I went to photograph it, Richard kindly suggested that perhaps I should just enjoy the moments of my life rather than photographing all of them.  Fair enough. 

After another quiet evening relaxing at the hotel and having dinner there, it was once again an early night followed by a sunny morning.  We checked out early and ferried back to Pana for a delicious breakfast (which I did not photograph) and then a walk along the water.  We finally could see the hazy volcanoes in the distance, so we found a shady spot to just sit and enjoy the view for a while.

Relaxation, celebration, and good company…it was a wonderful weekend!  

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