A Travellerspoint blog

April 2013

To the ruins of Copán!


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It was early...4 am. We left for Honduras, and because we had to go through Guatemala City, which is one big drama at rush hour, we had to leave very early. We had breakfast somewhere along the way, after we passed Guatemala City. After passing the border it was still about an hour drive. We arrived at the site around 9.00 am.

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Copán is very beautiful. It's not as big as other Maya cities, but an important one. There are a lot of hieroglyphics that tell much about the history of the city and who ruledand lived there. There was also supposed to be many written documents, but unfortunately the Spanish invaders burnt all of it. Besides that the Copán River that ran close to it (and has been moved to run around Copán now) destroyed quite a few places of the city by erosion.large_938978_1368303508390.jpg

What is different about this site is that it has stelae, we never saw it anywhere else. Each one was also decorated with hieroglyphs ont the side and it was decorated at the back.

Altar Q, as it is called, is a famous monument on the site. It depicts the 16 rulers of Copán, each one connected to the previous rule, the 16th one connected to the first. It is believed that the 13th ruler, 18 Rabbit, was the greatest ruler of Copán, based on the number of structures and monuments constructed during his reign.

Next there is the Ball Court. This is different from the other ones as wel. It doesn't have rings, but heads of macaws on the sides, three on each side, and is smaller then the others and has slopes near the walls, not straight walls. The most special about this site is the hieroglyphic stairway. It is a big stairway completely full with hieroglyphs and statues, that's why it is a very important part for archeologsts. In front of the stairway is the stela of the 15th ruler of Copán.

We also saw real macaws there. They also have a breeding program, to build up the macaw population again.

It was very hot though, like 37 degrees celsius at around 11 am. So if you go there, go as early as possible if you can. It's probably more enjoyable if you don't have the feeling you're melting on the spot ;)

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

A quiet day in Antigua


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large_938978_13682201053637.jpgNo major sites, no busy schedule, just a day to ourselves. We had a nice breakfast of blueberry pancakes at Cafe Condesa. I took what i thought was a nice cup of black Oolong tea...it reminded me of China. It wasn't a cup though, but a little teapot...for like four cups :). And it was really nice.We also had lunch there, the sandwiches are also great, and the cappuccino is delicious.

After that we decided to walk around town a bit, there are plenty of old churches, monasteries and such to see. Also there are little markets, shops (i especially liked the ones not around the central square) and a big market near the bus station. A very cheap one to if you like haggling ;) There was also an old ruin a little bit urther down the road, an old church that collapsed during a great earthquake (Ruinas de la Recollección).large_938978_13682201061207.jpg It's very nice to stroll around, it's also reasonably easy to find the way around. Antigua is a colonial town as well, with the square, city hall, cathedral and such, but more beautiful that San Cristóbal in my opinion.

In the evening we had a nice dinner at Las Palmas...that was untill the live music started. Firs it was just a band with xylophones and flutes, which was ok at first but quite annoying after 1 minutes where you are not able to communicate with each other....and after that they continued even more, while there as a show...that lasted for like an hour as well. so even though the food was fine, the entertainment was unfortunately not so entertaining.

We also forgot it was May 1st at midnight, so we woke up from fireworks that sounded like gunshots...it was really weird because it was a lot of noise and we didn't have any idea what was going on...

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

On to Guatemala! Panajachel and Santiago Atitlan


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large_938978_1368199005235.jpgIt would take a long time, our trip from San Cristóbal to Panajachel, Guatemala. About a day. So when we got there we ate something at the hotel then went to sleep. I took nachos and it was delicious!! A lot though, it was an appetizer on the menu but more then enough for me.

The next day we took a boat to Santiago Atitlan, one of the many indian villages located in Lake Atitlan. It took about half an hour to get there. We saw a woman with a hat made of ribbon i think, a couple of meters long. She showed us how she made it. After that we had a walk through the village, along the shops and stalls. We got a ride in an old pick-up, standing up like the people travel there. We visited the 'House of Maximon'. Each year one family is chosen to take care of Maximon, if they have money to do so. They put him in a house, and honor him with mostly liquor and sigarettes. It's an honor for that family to do so and they deserve respect from the community. We visited the church, and the local school as well. After that we walked around a bit, had a drink and then went back to Panajachel. From there on we went to Antigua.

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Mexico/Guatemala 2013 - San Juan Chamula Photos


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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

San Cristóbal de Las Casas


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large_938978_13681957521838.jpgCathedral San CristóbalOr San Cristóbal, or San Cris. We arrived here the night before, and it is such a lovely city! It was colder then the other places we visited, because it is situated in the mountains. At night it was so nice and busy, lots of people, music, artists, everything. We had dinner at a place called Revolution, it was more a café, but the food was delicious.

San Cris is a colonial city as well, as you can see by the way it is build, it also has a big square, like Mérida, with a big cathedral, a city hall, lots of shops, there was a market as well, with everything from clothes to souvenirs. There are people selling handmade table cloths, little wooden animals and necklaces and such. It's a very colorful city as well, all the buildings have a color, not just the color of brick tey're build with. It is a really nice city to walk through.

In the afternoon we visited San Juan Chamula, a Tzotzil Maya town. The church is a very special one, there are no benches, the floor is covered with pine boughs, and everybody, every family, has it's own corner or piece of floor, where they put down candles and pray. They don't have priests, they do everything themselves, their own prayers, but there are medicine men. There are different colored candles, each with their own meaning, and if it's needed they will sacrifice a live chicken, inside the church.

Other then that unfortunately there wasn't much to see there. We went back to San Cristóbal where we had dinner.

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)