Isla de Ometepe

Amigos!

So,….as mentioned we left Perquin to go to the Honduras border. Now, we have some basic principles to make our trip as pleasant as possible. One of them is not to cross borders at the main bordercrossings and always in the mornings. So we have less hassle and all the time….Well, we think the heat did us forget about our own principles, so there we were on a friday (april 23) afternoon at the Panamerican bordercrossing. A hell! It was the hottest day ever, but not a surprise because this area seems to be the hottest in Central America.The fixers (the people who say they will arrange everything) started running after our bikes already a few hundred metres before the border. We were prey for them….Yammie, three bikes with stupid foreigners we can rip off!

fixers

The shitty thing is that with only a few hours to go to border-closing-time and corrupt officials we were forced to work with these fixers. So there we went: office in, getting some stamps, office out, getting photocopies, office in, getting more stamps, office out, getting more copies, more stamps, paying at the bank, etc etc. And last but not least we had to pay money (read: bribes) to ¨the guy who puts everything into the computer¨. Masternegociator Roel had to use his Dutch profession to put some pressure on them, by telling that he knew some people who know some people, who know some people….. Well, end of the story is that we got into Honduras by paying the minumum amount of bribes. We ended our day totally exhausted in the first hotel we saw.

exhausted

Lucky us that it had a pool as well. (not good for the budget though….)

well over budget...

Based on the Hondurian highlights (which were quite similar as many we’ve seen already) we decided to go to Nicaragua the next day. After a good night sleep we were prepared for another borderfest! But this time less hassle on a saturday and we even felt welcome in Nicaragua.

Bienvenidos Dangleberries.

We spent two nights in colonial city Leon to have a saturday night out and to relax in hostel Lazy bones.

lazy bones

On monday (april 26) we took the boat to isla de Ometepe, an island formed by two volcanoes. Also spent two nights here.

Isla ometepe

This morning we headed for Costa Rica. A short ride, but the crossing took us hours again.

Borderfest

No hassle, but all the paperwork and waiting took hours. We wanted to reach the pacific beach, but the rain stopped us in Liberia. We’ll see what’s next: Checking the pacific or partycrash a Queensday reception at the embassy?

Adios.

PS: The hondurian people obviously are also sick and tired of corruption. We found this in next mornings news paper.

Corruption

Perquin

Hot, hotter, hottest! When we left Antigua and its fine climate at 1500m, we went through these three stages. But before we left: on monday april 12 we went to lake Atitlan. We decided not to spend the night there and just make a daytour.

lake atitlan

enjoying the view

The ride was a blast, curvy mountain roads all the way to Atitlan and back. When we got back, we found out that the hotel lady had been stealing from us (money, by saying a different price to us and her manager and we also had an idea where Roels camera could be….since it had suddenly disappeared).

Next day we left Antigua and headed for the El Salvadorian border. To avoid the big city, we took a detour along the coast…..a hot and humid blanket was pulled over us. The bordercrossing to El Salvador went quite smooth, but again all the paperwork took over 2 hours.

El Salvador

That night we slept in Ahuachapan. On wednesday (14th) we had a short ride to El Tunco, a surfers paradise at the Pacific. We took the Ruta de las Floras which should be a colorful highlight. We soon found out why we didn’t see any flowers….we were in the wrong season. Maybe we should read the lonely planet in advance instead of doing it afterwards. The ride took us longer than expected because some mechanical problems stopped us in Sonsonate. Steve’s bike couldn’t be kick-started because of a broken decompression cable. But thanks to the helpfull El Salvadorians, a mechanic came to us and fixed it within a few minutes.

Mechanical problems

That afternoon we spent watching the waves over a beer.

El Tunco

chilling at Tunco

Thursday we had a long ride to Perquin. This mountain village used to be the headquarters of the FMLN during the civil war. In the evening we were subject to a beetle attack. Hundreds of beetles (excited by the upcoming rainy season) all of a sudden appeared and started flying around our heads. So the dresscode was longsleeves and a hat (tenue is met pet en lange mouwen)

beetle attack

Senor frogs had the evening of his life.

Senor Frogs

Next day (friday) we got a tour by a former guerilla and afterwards we headed towards the Honduran border.

civil war museum

To be continued….soon

Antigua

Amigos!

We fell in love with Antigua and have to force ourselves to leave this place.

Antigua

We’ve spent now ten days in this dangerous place. Dangerous because before you know it, you’ll never leave. Surrounded by volcanos, this colonial city with its plazas, bars and nice restaurants  seduces you and before you know it….you’re married. But as real bikers, we can’t be seduced by anything else than a bike,  so we will leave this place soon.

What have we done these days? We did a week spanish course. 5 days 4 hours in a row. One teacher, one student. So, quite intensive. We really improved our spanish. Instead of tres cervezas, we can now order seis cervezas. 🙂

spanish scrabble

But there was also time for some spanish Scrabble and an other day the school organised some sort of reception with local drinks and food. Because they wanted local drinks from us as well, we came in our orange outfits with some Heineken beers and changed the place into the Holland Heineken House.

Holland Heineken House

Monday april 12, after our spanish course we went to climb the Pacaya volcano. We left in the afternoon to climb the volcano and to spend the night up there. The guide was really surprised by the weight of our backpacks for a one night stay. She later found out it was because we brought the entire liquor store up the Pacaya.

Pacaya volcano

It cost us some energy, but it was all worth it. Sitting at a cloudy cliff, with some music and a beer (or wine, or vodka or rum). Priceless……!

Priceless

We set up camp and had our meal up there at a campfire. We slept under the stars because the tent was to small to fit us all.

boyscouts

Got up at 4 am to climb the lavarocks, hoping to see some fresh lava and to watch the sunset. We spent some time sitting on hot rocks waiting. The stones were still that hot, that Steve’s camera bag got melted… It was a nice day.

Lava Rocks

Rest of the days we spent enjoying the city, relaxing, doing laundry, visiting a barber and enjoying nightlife.

Cerro de la cruz

Antigua

We still don’t know what are next destination will be. Going to Atitlan first or straight to El Salvador. The plan is: there is no plan.

We’ll keep you posted!

Adios.

For the ladies

We can imagine that all posts about sweaty bikers and bikes is not really the cup of tea for the female dutchdangleberries fans. To show our sensitive side….here’s a colibrie (hummingbird) picture compilation. We saved the nest from being eaten by a cat…

Colibrie

Mother hummingbird

Mine...mine...mine....mine

Sweeeeet

Palenque to Antigua part 2

Hi everbody, as promised part 2 of our trip from Palenque to Antigua.

Monday april 5, we left Flores and wanted to go to Lanquin. The ride was beautiful and according to the map we also had to do some unpaved roads. We figured that would be about 30 km’s and would take us an hour. At 3 in the afternoon we said goodbye to tarmac and hello to dust. What looked like a short unpaved route on the map appeared to be a 80 km’s curvy mountain route which led us through the poorest Mayan villages.

to Lanquin

to Lanquin

We were definitely off the Lonely Planet trail and had taken quite an alternative route to Lanquin. Although tough, we were rewarded with the most beautiful views and with the real Guatemala.

to Lanquin

to Lanquin

When asking for directions in the poorest villages, we got no reply, or when asking a woman, she even turned her back to us. Finding this not really comfortable at the moment, we later read that some Mayan people don’t speak Spanish and that Mayan women don’t talk to strangers. That makes sense… Why didn’t we read the Lonely in the first place you might ask. Well, that’s because we lost it the day we got in to Guatemala…..

to Lanquin

to Lanquin

By the time the sun was about to set and we had still no idea how far to go and even knowing if we were going the right way, we were already looking for places to set up our tents. When all of a sudden we entered Lanquin. Just before sunset after a three hours, toughest and most beautiful ride ever we reached this little village. Overviewing the day, we were really glad that luck was on our side and we hadn’t had any flat tires or other problems or rain….

Next day we gave our bikes a day off and went on a tour. In the back of a pick-up truck we got a ride to join a cave tour and afterwards to enjoy the views of Semuc Chempey and a rewarding dive in it.

Semuc Chempey

Semuc Chempey

We thought this was the right moment to continue our cannonball competition. This time is was all about the air-time….. Will we ever grow-up? (you don’t have to comment on this).

airtimeairtime

airtime

Wednesday April 7, we continued our journey through Guatemala. We headed West and again some unpaved roads. But this time in the morning instead of late in the afternoon. Again a tough ride with really steep hills. Quite a challenge when going down hill on a sandy road with heavy bikes. That day we were stopped by heavy rain and had to stay the night in Sacapulas. On Thursday we wanted to go to Lago de Atitlan, but after taking a wrong turn we got ourselves close to Antigua, so Antigua it is (why why why don’t they have road signs!!! In every city it is up to us how to cross it and how to get on the right way again. We already have driven all the one-way roads in the wrong direction).

The lake can wait for us. Here we will spend about a week to rest, do some laundry, look after the bikes, take Spanish lessons and ofcourse enjoy this great city and it’s surrounded volcanoes.

Soon more about Antigua.

los Dutchdangleberries

Los Dutchdangleberries!

Palenque to Antigua part 1

Hola Amigos

Arrived in Antigua and it’s time to take some time to look after some things,….like doing our laundry. After two months of sweat collecting, our motorcycling clothes are now also covered in dust after a few days of unpaved roads through Guatemala.

But what happened before…..part 1. When we left Palenque (march 30th) we headed for Belize. We spent one night in Xpujil on our way east to the northern Belizean border. We crossed the border quite easily. But still, there’s always some hassle in border towns and it takes some time to clear our bikes in and get a local insurance (which was obliged for Belize). We stayed one night in Corozal. Funny to see, that Belize is totally different from Mexico (and the only English speaking central American country). A Caribbean lifestyle. The next morning (april 1st) we drove to Belize city to get the boat to Caye Caulker. We got lunch at slim’s grill along the way.

Slim´s place

In Belize city, we left our bikes and most of our gear in a hostel….(in people we trust). Caye Caulker is a tiny little island where everybody walks barefooted or if you still think that a few hundred metres of island is too much, you can get a golf cart cab.

Caye Caulker

You’ll find the laziest dogs over there.

lazzzzzzzzy

We ate the freshest seafood, spent one night and had a really relaxing day on this Caribbean island.

Caye Caulker

We took the boat back to Belize city and spent the night there. Belize city is not really the place where you want to spent your holidays. In fact…we were glad we were three quite tall Dutchmen instead of a little backpacker girl. On April 3 we left early to go to Guatemala. The ride through western Belize was quite nice and although the border crossing took again some hours, there was no hassle and it went smooth again. It was really hot by the time we continued our ride to Tikal. Just before sunset we arrived in national park of Tikal. We camped in the jungle surrounded by (male) monkeys and…..eh…other creatures.

monkey

 other creature

Next morning we got up early at 5.30 to be the first visitors at the Maya site of Tikal. At 6 we were in and we had our breakfast quite magically on the ruins of old Maya temples.

Tikal

Tikal

Tikal

After we climbed the biggest temple we had the nicest view overlooking the jungle….and muscle pains. By the time we got out, the first buses with tourist came in and we jumped on our bikes for a short ride to Flores where we enjoyed the Los Amigos Hostel. To be continued in part 2.

Tikal

Los dangleberries!