Leaving Guatemala – Entering El Salvador
It was time to leave Lago de Atitlan, we couldn’t wait to be on our bikes again. Too much sitting and eating, too big bellies…
Now we were a trio: We left San Pedro la Laguna together with Aaron in the early morning on a beautiful lancha (little boat) ride. On the way out of this mountanious region we had lots downhill cruising – what can be nicer than that??? We went back to camping as much as possible in these days and it felt great!
In the small town Brito we accidently met Harco, a Swiss cyclist we knew from earlier in San Pedro as well, again. We thought we could maybe meet in El Salvador for New Year but there he was! Unfortunately, Lena got ill that day. And down at the costal line the heat nearly melt us. So we made only short day stages after entering El Salvador.
El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and has the highest population density at the same time. It is also supposed to be one of the most dangerous places in Central America, but the tiny country surprised us with its superfriendly and helpful people from the very beginning. No more GRINGOOOO shoutings but nice greetings, often even in English: „Heyyy, where are you going?“ „Thank you for visiting our country!“ It seemed like every third Salvadorian tried to jump the fence at least once in his life, worked in the US, came back… and is proud to speak some words in American. Paul, a cyclist from Belgium who we met on the street cycling the opposite direction, said the same. He is already on the road for three years and nine months – impressive and enviable!
The second night in El Salvador we reached the Pacific Ocean, black Volcanoe sand and a wild sea. For us, it was the first time swimming in the Pacific – and we nearly forgot about how amazing a bath in the ocean is after a hot cycling day!
San Pedro la Laguna: Escuela española al Lago de Atitlan
We were so much looking forward to it: learning Spanish and being able to communicate with the people, more than with our few words and mainly using hands and feet. Finally, we decided to spend two weeks at Lago de Atitlan in San Pedro la Laguna to take Spanish lessons and be there for Christmas. San Pedro is a friendly little town and famous for its cheap but good Spanish schools. And not only that, so far it’s definitely the place where we got most for our money in every respect. We stayed in a small room with a great terrace and an incredible view over the whole lake for 2,50 Euro per day each! Check out „Hotel Peneleu“ near to the Santiago dock and the restaurant „Jakuu“ with enormous food plates!
Going to our sweet Palapa school every morning and having loads of homework in the evening we felt like little school kids again. No, it was fun and really nice to stay longer in one place and getting to know some locals. We became friends with Hardy’s teacher Juan and kept on studying with him, his girl-friend and our friend Aaron privately in his little garden the second week.
Since a couple of years the water level of the lake rises so that it slowly swallows the houses and bars at the shores. Despite official warnings a lot of local people still don’t take this problem serious and continue building houses close to the lake.
Velosophics in the sky - and finally at the lake
The Panamerica brought us up to 2700 m so we had an amazing downhill descent of 1100 m to Lago de Atitlan – definitely one of the most beautiful pieces of earth we experienced so far! After one night in Panachajel we put the bikes on top of a lancha and went over to San Pedro la Laguna where we stayed for more than two weeks being busy learning Spanish in school and then with our private teacher Juan - until Aaron and Lisa came… Great fun!