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Leaving Antigua Guatemala
Antigua, 8 March 2003
As many of you have requested, we've finally uploaded a few pictures from Antigua! Including one of an eruption of the volcano "Fuego" (which means fire in Spanish). You can see the pictures at the bottom of this page.
After 7 weeks of Spanish lessons and 8 weeks in Antigua, we've finally decided it was time to move on. The last 3 weeks we spent in a beautiful house with a pool, private bathroom and clean sheets everyday. It costs 140 dollars a week for the two of us, I highly recommend it to anybody visiting Antigua, it is located: 5a. Av. del Sur #21.
Not much has really happened since the last update, except one minor earthquake, lots of partying, and lot's of Spanish lessons. We have actually gotten quite settled, even acquiring daily habits, like the 6 o'clock meeting of friends (another sign of settlement) at Sky café.
It started to look like we were never going to leave Antigua. The lessons were good, but after 7 weeks of daily lessons, I felt like I had too much information in my head to process. The knowledge somehow needs to settle and get assimilated. The time to leave has arrived.
We are leaving Antigua on the 10th of March, for a month long trip through the north of Guatemala (Tikal), Mexico and Belize. After a month we are planning to return to Antigua, for the Semana Santa, supposedly a big event in Antigua (so big that accommodation prices double) and maybe 2 or 3 weeks more of lessons, to relearn what we forgot during our absence and maybe push things a little further.
An interesting leg of this journey will be the one from Flores (near the jungle set Mayan ruins of Tikal) to Palenque in Mexico. The problem is that there is no road connection! But there is a way: enquiry has shown that it is possible to travel to a riverside town called El Naranjo, and take a boat up this jungle river to a Mexican town called La Palma (the whole journey from Flores to Palenque is supposed to cost around 30 dollars).
After that we will be finally heading south, 2 months later than originally planned. Not that that is any problem, we are having a great time here and that is what it is all about. We've also taken to learning Spanish much more seriously than what is necessary for mere traveling purposes.
Most likely we will fly back to Europe somewhere in July and return to South America in September to continue the trip. This way we will be in Tierra del Fuego during the Southern Summer (Northern Winter). Our summer stay in Europe, will be a good opportunity to visit friends and family in Holland and Estonia while the climate in Europe is at least bearable...
That is it for now, if you want to be informed of future updates of travel stories, send me an e-mail.
e-mail Otto de Voogd
To my knowledge the information provided here was accurate at the time of our visit. However time passes and things can change.
(ATMs for Maestro/Cirrus bankcards)
Guatemala: Only Credomatic ATMs worked with our bankcards. The locations of their ATMs are listed on their site. Only US Dollars can be exchanged, Euros are not accepted.
I do not recommend a particular school, instead what I recommend is just to go to Antigua, look around in some of the 70+ schools and sign up for a week with a particular teacher that you like. If you like it take another week, if you do not, look somewhere else. There is no need to sign up for more than a week at a time. Remember every school has good and bad teachers, so meeting the teacher beforehand can help. There are also freelance teachers, they are a bit more difficult to find but are cheaper (in that case though you need to have some space for the lessons somewhere and you do miss out on the social happenings around a school).
There is no need to organize your accommodation in advance or through a school. You can do it yourself once you are there. I suggest one place in my best places in Antigua story, but there is plenty of places to stay. Staying in a family with other students is fun and helps you to learn more Spanish.
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