We had enjoyed a very decent meal in Santa Cruz the night before. Prepared by our German host it was a 6 course degustation meal. Totally at odds with what we had eaten the past few months. Needless to say we were wrapped.
We take a ferry across the lake to a town called San Pedro where we hear there is a Spanish language school catering to travellers. Martina, Allison and I enrol for their express 5 day course. We need to get better to navigate ourselves around given our fellow travellers and us will be broken up soon.
Back to Santa Cruz our appetites awaiting another delightful meal. First though Sean and I hike up a trail to the nearby town. Relatively deserted except for a few kids kicking a ball around in the town square which also has a basketball court. The baskets removed and the posts of the backboard being used a soccer (futbol) goals.
The kids take an interest in us and soon we are kicking the ball around with them and get into a game. The 8-10 year old kids running rings around Sean and I. We retreated back down the hill our tail between our legs so to speak.
We enjoy our lovely meal with a bottle of red. Very nice. In fact we had noticed some of the food being placed out in the sun in the morning. On enquiry we are told that they were tomatoes that were sun drying all day. So we were enjoying freshly sun-dried tomatoes on our meal this evening!
The next morning we have a slow civilised start to the day enjoying coffee in a garden alongside Lake Atitlan. This lake is a massive volcanic crater that has filled with water over time and has sprouted numerous smaller volcanos around its perimeter. An impressive sight.
Today we say farewell to Sean as he is headed back to Canada. Calls from the water of ‘Pana Pana, Pana!’ signals his departing ferry to Panachel. Soon after Allison and I are on a similar ferry heading the other way to Casa Del Mundo ‘House of the World’.
Casa Del Mundo is a relatively upmarket international hotel looking quite majestic when viewed from the lake towering high above the water. The stonework making it look like a medieval castle.
Inside it feels extremely posh compared to what we have been staying in. Beautiful grounds and furnishings a wonderful view from every window high above the lake. A pool also which gently trickles into the lake in which you can also dive into off a rocky diving platform.
Our room is up high above the hotel with an even more dramatic view from our balcony with the lake and volcanos ‘San Pedro’ and ‘Atitlan’ visible. After swimming and lazing around most of the day we head up to the room and kick back on our sun lounges overlooking the sun setting behind us changing the colours of the lake at the same time.
A bottle of wine opened as we stream our ipod through the stereo system in the room. It feels partly like the Amalfi coast and very chilled. Dinner is called and we sit down to a large communal table with all the guests. A different clientele to what we have being used to, yet they were all more interested to hear our backpacking stories. Nice to be able to flick between ‘the good’ life and the ‘backpacker life’.
Morning arrives and we make the most of our surrounds before the ferry arrives. Another swim, another helping of bacon and eggs at breakfast. Check.
Martina and Juli arrive on the morning ferry and we join them jumping into a crammed boat and swiftly being whisked back to reality. We head over to San Pedro to prepare for our Spanish school. We check in to our hotel for the week, grab lunch and sadly say goodbye to Juli, Martina’s friend and our companion for the last few weeks.
We head out for dinner and watch the movie ‘Motorcycle diaries’ at a restaurant/bar managing to avoid the large scorpion that decided to walk through the restaurant mid way through the screening.