Monday, August 16, 2010

Excursions



AUGUST 16, 2010


Many weekends while I was living in Antigua, especially on Sundays, I would go on an excursion with friends to something interesting in the area. Sometimes we would walk, other times we would take public transportation. Here are some of the more interesting excursions I made...



EARTH LODGE

One of my favorite places is about 5 miles out of Antigua (20 minutes in a vehicle or 2 hours by walking). It is an eco-friendly mountain lodge and avocado farm owned by a kind, young Canadian/American couple who have really poured their heart and soul into it. http://www.earthlodgeguatemala.com/index.html


One of the times I went there we walked - a beautiful way to spend a lazy Sunday (although the walk there is anything but lazy – mostly uphill!) As we meandered through the lush countryside marveling at the stunning verdant scenery along the way, we were joined by some local chaperones.


video


Once you get to the ‘turnoff’ for Earthlodge, you have to carefully descend 900 feet on a slightly treacherous trail for about 10 minutes (20 minutes if there has been rain.) This photo shows one of the better, wider parts of the pathway:


This pathway really puts things in perspective and makes you appreciate the ruralness of the place even more - for everything has to be hauled down this path by hand (although they recently got a mule which does help a tiny bit!) And when I say everything is hauled in manually – I mean it – all building materials and supplies; no vehicles (even motorcycles) can make it down this trail.


Also to appreciate, is its unique location - perched high above a fertile coffee-laden valley - its intrepid visitors are definitely treated to spectacular vistas (you might want to click on this photo to enlarge it):


Its remoteness also rewards the visitor with a break from the “hustle-bustle” of Antigua! It provides the perfect setting to appreciate their delicious homemade meals on the patio or contemplate life while hanging in a hammock enjoying the views below.


This hammock I'm on is on the private deck of their famous treehouse:


Here is the view from inside the treehouse:


Other accommodations include a two level tree cabin and a rustic dorm. Besides two visits I made there as day trips, I decided to go for some ‘serious’ r&r. So I, (along with about 40 others) went there for a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving:


Here I am gearing up for the feast with good friends Bonnie, Deet and Diane:


Two blissful days of tranquility and stuffing myself with yummy food! And I also partook in other fun activities like a traditional Mayan sauna (ooooh), ping pong and a beautiful hike. The hike was a ‘leisurely’ two hours of up & down in the surrounding mountains on tiny footpaths through the locals’ fields. Here is one of the locals tending to his crops:


I think you would agree that it is a pretty magical place!