After arriving at the bus station in Quetzaltenango (a.k.a Xela ... shorter, straight to the point ... I like it!), we quickly caught a taxi and told him to take us to the black cat hostel which we had heard so much about, and read about in the Lonely Planet book. Off we went and we soon arrived at this very run down looking shop with black cat written on it. The driver assured us that this was the place (even though we had our doubts) so we went in and did some ‘talky talky’ with the women sitting inside. This in fact, turned out to be a different place, where they teach people how to weave and also offer accommodation for their students, however, in true bossy guatemalan mother style, one of the women told her son to take us to the place we wanted to go to. After a 3 minute walk we arrived in this gorgeous hostel and checked in to our dorm room (practically a private room as we were the only ones in there) and went for a wash, and were overjoyed to find very powerful and hot showers for our use! (The little things in life eh?) We soon headed out to explore and spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the main square and finding various coffee shops. We also went to the office of Quetzaltrekkers, an organisation which does various hikes and expeditions to the surrounding volcanoes and mountains. Ally therefore signed up straight away and booked to go to Tahamulco the day after next. We soon headed out for something to eat and found a great (and very busy) bar which did some of the best burgers in the world ... good find!
The next day we went to Las Fuentes Georginas, these hot pools about 45 minutes away from Xela. These hot pools were amazing, we arrived quite early so for a while we were the only ones there. Originally the coolest one was pretty hot in itself, and we were reluctant to try the hotter ones. However after a while dipping our toes in and running away screaming we braved it and went into the medium level heat one, which was too much after a while, and by this point, some more people had begun to turn up and crowd our relaxing break in the pools. The biggest pool, the one we had not managed to get into was insanely hot, I am pretty sure you would be able to boil an egg in that bad boy! LIterally after not even a second dipped in the bool, my foot came out glowing with heat (and slightly burned skin!) This whole place was so relaxing and amazing, we both wished we didn’t have to go (they say traveling can be hard work ... I don’t really know what they are talking about ...), but sadly there were now quite a few people there and it began to feel really over crowded.
On returning to Xela city centre, Ally and I split up as we both needed to do a bit of Christmas Shopping and of course didn’t want to let the other person see what we had bought. So after a couple of hours shopping we headed back to the Black cat, Ally then had to set off as he had a meeting about his hike tomorrow so I settled down and watched a little bit of a film before he returned and we both heading out for a curry and an early night as he had to be up at 5 ish in the morning.
The next few days were a little odd on my part as it was weird just being by myself for a couple of days. I had planned to go to all of these museums and Art Galleries (what Xela is known for) which I was really excited for, however when I turned up, all of the museums where shut due to it being near christmas, so I was quite disappointed, but did still have a good time exploring other parts of the city, getting a massage, visiting a lot of cool coffee shops and even indulging in a McDonalds (sorry ...). The second day (wednesday) I needed to go and find out how we were going to get back to Antigua and so was just looking at a map when Calvin and Lindsey walked in, guy and girl who were actually in San Pedro La Laguna watching Pulp fiction in Buddha Bar (see previous blog ... which you should have done already!), after chatting to them for a while, Calvin said he lived in Antigua and they were both headed back tomorrow as well and were about to go and buy some tickets from a bus company up the road, so I asked if I could tag along and they said yeah! So what ensued was a hilarious afternoon, getting to know Calvin and Lindsey (who are both from America, Calvin lives in Guatemala and Lindsey worked in Xela in the past and was coming back to visit and see Calvin, her BFF). These two are (still) great friends and I feel so lucky to have met them, Calvin even offered to let us crash at his place in Antigua for the night which of course I eagerly accepted and thanked him greatly for! SO we eventually bought our bus tickets and agreed to meet up the next morning.
When Ally finally returned from his hike, I had organised a little early birthday dinner (well booked a table) at this AMAZING tapas restaurant, literally the best food I have ever eaten ... ever!! (sorry mum!) So we sat at the table indulging in far too much food while we told each other about our days apart. Ally had a great time on his hike and is very glad he did it, even though did run into a little bit of trouble of the way back as they had to help pull a truck out of a ditch on the side of the road! Of course he was now very tired and so we headed back to the hostel to crash before heading to the bus stop the next morning to greet Calvin and Lindsey and head to Antigua, the ancient city of Guatemala.
Till next time ...