Waking up to the sound of cathedral bells chiming, morning light creeping in through the curtains and the smell of fresh coffee wafting up the stairs is a tremendous experience, even if it is only 7.30am.
I shower, dress, pour a cup of that hot Guatemalan coffee and take it up to the terrace and its 360-degree views of the old city of Antigua, surrounded on all sides by volcanoes and church steeples. It's going to be a good day.
A trio of volcanoes named Agua, Fuego and Acatenango, all more than 3700 metres high, form a dramatic and deadly ring around the city. Although it has been flattened several times by earthquakes, Antigua has never been buried in a volcanic eruption, which seems fortunate given the company it keeps.
I realise immediately that I’m going to have to climb one of the volcanoes.
A travel blog, it turns out, requires almost as much attention as a monthly magazine, especially when combined with the daily requirements of life on the road; the constant logistical necessities of transportation, finding accommodation, doing laundry, seeking sustenance and vain attempts at staying in touch with your friends and family.
It’s further compounded by freelance work, which is essential because it brings in some of the cash to fund this trip, but it eats into time that would otherwise be spent being a tourist and writing this blog.
I’ve just finished a big assignment for a Dubai-based magazine, so I’ve declared this week a holiday within the holiday. I plan to spend the next seven days walking the streets of this ancient city and enjoying the fruits of the land, like this excellent coffee and the actual fruits that perfume the air in the central plaza.
My blog has been neglected for some time, but I have resolved myself to bring it back to life this week. I’m abandoning the chronological sequence of events I was trying to maintain up until this post, and fast-forwarding to this minute so I can try to keep up with events as they occur.
I’ll eventually revisit the places that I haven’t yet managed to blog about – Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras (pretty much most of the trip) – but from here on in it’s going to be all about the now. So without further ado, I’m going to wrap this up and go and see Antigua. Just one more coffee first…