Two weeks ago we were stressing about what 3 months in a strange place would have in store. With my dad’s stories about travelling in Latin America, warnings in guide books and other anecdotes we’d heard, we could just as easily be heading into a nightmare as a winter escape in idyllic flying sites.
But now, just over a week after arriving in Panajachel, we never want to leave! In fact, we’ve already been talking about “when we come back next year!” We’d planned to spend a month here, a month in Colombia and a month travelling between the two. Instead we’re about to move into a beautiful apartment which we’ll call home for the next couple of months, looking out on the volcanoes on one side and takeoff on the other.
It was a real relief to be able to escape the sprawl of Guatemala City so easily. Even the highly rated retreat of Antigua felt big and hectic. But less than 24 hours after landing in Guatemala, we were stepping off the colourful local bus (where we’d been the main attraction for the past couple of hours) in the relative peace of Panajachel. And a few hours later, having explored the town and found a place to stay, we were being dragged up the hill to take off by the incredibly welcoming gang at Real World Paragliding.
Well, our first flight actually had to wait until the next day. An inconveniently placed cloud in front of take off cleared just as the sun went down. But the sunset views of the lake and volcanoes more than made up for the lack of flying.
The next few days were a whirl of flying, eating, organising ourselves and fighting jet lag – not easy when you have cockerels warring to see who can crow the loudest from 4am every morning. We finally managed our first flight together on our new tandem, putting it through its paces over a couple of hours involving a little XC (reportedly giving us the tandem record on our second day flying here) and a mini SIV, although the new Magnum 2 is so collapse resistant, me hanging off the A risers with both hands and all my weight only resulted in a pathetic little tuck!
The last few days have seen strong wind here (but still beautifully warm and sunny), so we’ve had plenty of opportunity for flat hunting and can’t wait to move into our awesome little apartment. Just in time too – the novelty of eating out wore off a few days ago and we’ve found only one place where the coffee is even approaching strong enough for our European tastes.
So with the weather set to change back to its seasonal light winds tomorrow and the prospect of moving into our apartment on Sunday, things are looking pretty peachy from what could well be out new winter home town!