Day 9 started with an hour and a half boat tour around Lake Atitlan. We left from the dock at our hotel. As I’ve said before, Lake Atilan is reminiscent of Lake Como in Italy. The beautiful blue lake is surrounded by green mountains and three volcanoes. Some people (clearly relatively wealthy) have built some beautiful homes along the lakefront. Due to the steep mountain slopes, some of these homes are only accessible via boat. No traversable road could be built through, around, and/or down the mountain to reach them.
One interesting story our tour guide told us during this boat ride is that the author of the French book The Little Prince once stayed at Lake Atitlan. If you’ve read The Little Prince, you might remember that the boy kept showing people a drawing that everyone claimed was a drawing of a hat. However, someone finally told him it wasn’t a hat. It was a snake that swallowed an elephant. That shape was inspired by a hill that the author saw while visiting Lake Atitlan.
During our boat ride, I tried to find the cables for the zip lines, but we were unable to spot them.
After the boat ride, we got in the bus for the three-hour ride back to Guatemala City, stopping once for a lunch break. When we arrived at our hotel, we found several workers making one of those colored sawdust “carpets” for Holy Week.
We had time at our hotel to rest for a while before the farewell dinner. I have to say that we had a really nice tour group. You never really know what you’re going to get when you sign up for a group tour. However, I think one of the benefits of going to a place like Guatemala is that you don’t get newbie travelers. Everyone in this group was a seasoned world traveler. We were never waiting on the bus for someone who was late. In fact, we were almost always at least five minutes early. Nobody complained. Nobody snubbed their noses at witnessing a different way of living. Everyone was appreciative of the lovely scenery and the good people we got to meet.
Day 10 was just a long travel day home with nothing too exciting to report, so I’ll just share with you a few final thoughts on my travels and what I learned on this trip.
1. Caravan is an excellent tour company. We were very well taken care of. Basically, we paid about $120 a day, and that covered hotel, transportation, museum entrances, tips for bellboys, a very knowledgeable tour guide, musical performances, and three yummy meals a day. And the hotels were top-rate (they are listed at running from $150-250 a night!).
2. Travel reminds me that experience really is the best teacher.
3. God created something large and beautiful and awe-inspiring when He made the world. I’m so blessed to have seen the few parts I’ve been to. I am even more blessed to have met the people from those places.
4. We may come from different lands with different climates, cultures, and languages, but we’re really not as different as you might think. Most of us believe we were created by a higher power. Most of us want to please that higher power. And we all just want to feed our families and enjoy good times with the ones we love.
And finally . . .
5. If you enjoy a springlike climate and want an exotic-type vacation that will make you feel a little like Indiana Jones, well then . . . you “Gotta Gautemala”!