Crossing mountains between Panajachel a San Andres Itzapa
First night after leaving San Pedro we spend in town on the other side of the lake – Panajachel. It is bigger, touristic and there is a good bicycle shop. We buy some spare parts (to add load to our luggage), a belt and strap at a local seller, food and 1kg banana bread. Strong thunderstorm comes in the evening and it looks like the wind will break the windows – the rainy season comes.
Early in the morning we are cycling again. First 15km are uphill. There is some traffic, so we cannot make the climbing easier by going left and right, but we also don’t need to push. Slowly on the lowest gear but steadily and the increasing difference of the altitude between us and the lake makes us feel satisfied. The climb to Godinez takes 3 hours because we have a pause to repair a flat tire – again caused by the puncture resistant tape.
Because we studied the profile of the track before (we are prepared today) we know that there are two options – steep uphill with elevation difference of 700m in 6km but with incredible views on the lake and volcanoes or less steep paved road through mountains. Because of 25kg luggage and 3 weeks of doing nothing and the clouds in the sky we choose the “easier” option.
First part is really steep but then comes a downhill. Was this the top and from now on it is going to be just downhill? 🙂 No, not in Guatemala. Next 15km are mostly steep uphill with some steep downhill parts, two ford crossings, destroyed road, holes in the rock walls… why is it so difficult to reach the top? And why we need to go 10 times down to climb again?
This questions are now in my head… Maybe it’s because we should appreciate more the top… or to enjoy the moments and views… or to have time to greet locals and see their smile … or to learn to be patient and endurable… and maybe to implement these skills later into our lives (despite all of this we’ll still accept the help from others – hitch hike – and enjoy the tops).
Finally in Patzun and (more or less) downhill. With wind in the hair again! In the last 40km we need to climb only 4 hils (!) and we get to San Andres Itzapa. We are destroyed, because today’s 70km with total climb more than 1000m was too much.
We walk around the village looking for the organization Maya Pedal, where a bicy-driven machines are build from old bicycles. We don’t know what to await, if we will be able to sleep there one night and if they still exist (Eva and Ahmed stopped here and told us they are ending). Suddenly from a door of one house a lady with big smile talks to us: “Maya Pedal aqui, por favor adelante y bienvenido!” (Maya Pedal is here, please come in and welcome!).