Lake Atitlan – The prettiest lake in the world?
Lake Atitlan, the most stunningly beautiful lake in the world, well definitely among the prettiest lake I have seen in my life. And I’m not the only person to think so. Aldous Huxley (the writer of the amazing dystopia “A brave new world” – a book everyone should read – for those who don’t know him) once wrote: “Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlán is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing.” Too much of a good thing, I don’t know if that is even possible. The only thing I do know is that I ended up spending longer time along the lake and it’s looming volcanoes than I originally planned, about two weeks to be exact – diving, doing yoga, learning food fermenting, hiking, meditating, drawing, reading, in general a lot of relaxing – and I wouldn’t have had any problems spending longer. If I ever end up doing one of those yoga-teacher things (not necessarily for actually teaching yoga) outside of India, this is the place I’d like to do it.
Lake Atitlan is actually one of the reasons I ended up doing a little Central-America trip in the first place. My original summer holiday plans were to travel around my beloved Colombia, and maybe Ecuador, but after seeing some Instagram-photos of the lake posted by a friend (and then finding some decently cheap airfares) I was sold. Also, Guatemala has always had some kind of lure on me. It was where my mom started her traveling adventures many, many years ago, turning her (and later, as a consequence, my brothers and me) into a travelaholic.
Through my childhood I have heard bits and stories of how it was traveling through the country at the beginning of the 80s, during a dark period of the civil war – a long lasting conflict leaving an estimated 140,000-200,000 people killed or disappeared (the grand majority of them being of Mayan decent). Guatemala still has it’s share of political and social problems, and the lake is swarmed with tourists and backpackers, which also obviously has it’s problems. Especially considered the huge amount of the expats staying around the lake in a very similar fashion as I remember I found in Thailand, with pretty much no mixing with the locals, which might result in tensions. But I still highly enjoyed the lake and all it had to offer, and it also turned out to be a great place to do a clown shoot.
Street art in San Pedro la Laguna. “La Semilla Transgenica o “semilla mejorada” altera el orden natural de la vida. Abundancia de hoy; hambre para mañana?” (Translation: “The transgenic, or the “improved” seed alter the natural order of life. Abundance today, famine tomorrow?”)
Learning to make sourdough bread (and other fermented things) at a fermented food workshop with Love Probiotics in San Marcos la Laguna. I recommend everyone who happens to be around the lake when they do a workshop to join it. It’s really interesting and fun working with fermented foods, also it happens to be a lot easier than you’d probably think, no wonder humanity has been fermenting things for thousands of years (and you get to try out some delicious food and beverages as well, which is always a plus).