Monday, November 14, 2016

Ancient Ruins of Tikal and Modern Flores

Blessed to have a friend come visit for the week recently!  I met her in the airport in Guate and we flew up in a little bumper plane to northern Guatemala: the Island of Flores.  It was charming, adorable and super fun.  

The island was originally discovered and built upon by the Spanish a very long time ago (yes, too lazy to look it up) but there is a story that when Cortez came discovering he left his favorite horse with the people who lived near by.  The horse unfortunately died so the people buried it in the lake.  I lost something in translation but there is now a statue to the horse and whenever there are waves on this very calm and very beautiful lake, they say the horse is alive and kicking under water.

Back at Flores we entertained ourselves with boat rides, hikes up to creaky, ready to fall apart observatory towers, and kayak rides to a zoo located on a nearby island.  

We also rose at three in the morning for sunrise tour of Tikal, the ancient Mayan ruins located about an hour and a half away.  We arrived before the generators had kicked on and walked in pitch black through the jungle on a little dirt path.  The guide stopped along the way to shine his flashlight on tarantulas, poisonous snakes and piles of ancient stones covered in grass and moss.  Eventually we ended up at Temple IV, most famous for its appearance in Return of the Jedi and climbed up rickety stairs to the top.  We sat and listened to the jungle wake up, listening as the howler monkeys, known for their appearance in Jurassic Park (they were the cries of the dinosaurs) greeted the dawn.  The clouds blocked the sun but the mist rising and the sounds around us provided an incredible experience.  I think we lucked out because even though it was 98% humidity, we didn't get more than a few drops of rain before the sky cleared and we were able to hike around the ruins with sunlight and blue skies.

The food was delicious, not that I'm exactly a connoisseur at this point (believe me, everything tastes good...and the very least I'm willing to eat it).  So much to see and do!  And so much fun with a dear friend!

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