Panamericana 2013

… somewhere between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego


We won’t stay long in Antigua and we don’t adopt a dog

Training Time !

Training Time !

We left AWARE and drove to Antigua to stay two nights before we wanted to head to El Salvador. Well, plans change.

So we ended up staying more than one months. Why?

I helped out at an animal shelter again. This time it was a huge difference to the shelter we visited before. It’s a small shelter with 20-25 dogs. “Unidos para los Animales” trains the dogs, they are healthy, spayed, well-behaved and socialized.

Luckily, Linda, the owner of the shelter was able to find a perfect camping solution for us – we camped at her neighbours house in the driveway, were allowed to use shower and bathroom, had a huge garden for ourself and quiet nights (expect fireworks). The home owners did not live there at this time as the house was under construction.

I walked dogs, played with them, gave them some love and cuddle time, learned a lot about “clicker training” and also trained dogs.


Love u!

Love u!

Also we met Achmet and Mira in Antigua, they also travel in Central America. One day, they hiked Volcano Agua where a small, cute puppy followed them all the way up. As this was very exhausting, Achmet had to carry the little girl down. Well, what do you do after such an experience with a dog? I (sure) would have not thought a second and would have taken her home. Achmet and Mira were waver and didn’t know if they wanna travel with a dog.

As soon as they told us this lovely story about a little dog searching for parents, we kind of persuaded them to go back to the starting point of the hike and see if she is still there. Sure, at the end THEY have to decide if they want a dog – but as they have not been against it, they only needed a little push 😉

And so it came, that Jan drove them to the village where they left the pup behind. After only 10 minutes, the dog found her new parents and was super happy to see them. What a sweet story! Ayla is a very lucky dog who now enjoys a really good life traveling through Central America and Germany.

Love her!

Love her!

This day, I was at the shelter with Linda who got four new puppies from a woman who also rescues dogs. She asked us to foster one (fostering means taking care of the dog in your own home, train usual manners like sit, down and going into a travel box) until the dog is adopted and can fly to the USA which would not take long. Maybe two weeks. SURE! We love to do that. So we fostered little Dora. She stayed with us one day, two days, three, four….

But what happens when you (I) have a cute, very smart puppy for this period of time – who sure was allowed to cuddle with us on the couch? Yes! I fall in love with her and won’t give her back. Also Jan loved little Dora. That’s why we are three again. We are sure that Lissy and Dora will love each other. Finally, Lissy gets her playmate – she only has to wait some more months.

The process to import a dog from Central America to Germany is not easy (it only is from Mexico). You can check for details:

It definitely was time to fly again without motor!

It definitely was time to fly again without motor!

While I was busy at the shelter Jan got in contact with some Paraglider and went to fly several times. Also, he went to a “crazy” airshow with Lindas husband who is also interested in flying. Watch this: If the planes get so close to the people, it can only be in Central America 😉

That’s why we ended up staying more than 5 weeks in Antigua. Also, we spend Christmas and New Year here. At this time we camped at the tourist police and celebrated with a lot of Overlanders. It was a nice group with people from all over the world: Australia, France, Germany, India, Turkey, Chile and Argentina.


300 dogs – 90 cats. AWARE

Hey! Don’t you wanna give us a new home?

After a week at lake Atitlan we want “to do something good” and help at an animal shelter. Online, I found “AWARE”, a dog shelter with more than 300 dogs and 90 cats where help is always needed. We can’t really put our impressions into words.
The street dogs who were hit by a car, who were put on a short leash their whole life, who were hit with the machete or got abused in another way, find a “home” here but unfortunately the hygienic circumstances do not match our German ideas.

Taking care of 300 dogs – to keep the pens clean, to go for a walk with each dog, to provide medical care safely and to give each dog a little love and attention is not possible with this amount of dogs. There are just too many dogs and looking closely into it, it even brought tears in our eyes.

Many dogs are unhealthy, they have skin problems because there are too many fleas in the ground which unfortunately can not be tarred for reasons of cost and also diseases can be transferred quickly. We help two weeks: cleaning pens, walking dogs and just giving the dogs a little love and attention. We also buy wood at a wood factory and build 15 dog houses. We also tile two rooms of the quarantine station and install sewage pipes. After two weeks we leave with a heavy heart 🙁

Also, we bring a little christmas into the shelter 😉

Mecanico. BEefore he came here, he was used as a bait for fighting dogs 🙁

Tolken. One of the most cuddly dogs i have ever seen

Hey, how do you like this model look?

Polly. My favorite

Snook wants to play

That’s Snook. He is super cute, too

And what’s my name?

Sonia is an amazing worker here.

The clinic which needs an all over restoration.

Puppy without name. One of six puppies without mama

Sonia always has a little love for the animals

Hey . Get me out!

Me too!

Black Beauty. She came in the shelter a day ago

She is not only beauty, she also is very well-behaved…but

…she did not come alone…

…she has four white puppies who still have their eyes closed.

Polly. She got hit by a car and her leg got ruined but she still runs as fast as the others 😉

Finding tiles…

…well, not the nicest pattern but rare 😉

With room number 2 we became more creative.

New sewerage pipes…

…and new dog houses.

Yes, also I drilled and screwed 😉

Our new workplace for 5 days

“Sit” Training. These guys are fine as long as I have treats 😉

Iza who also volunteers here. Taking Black Beauty for a walk

The puppies thrive and prosper

Cooking rice and chicken for sick dogs

Hey! Why do I have to be here?

…we wanna go outside for a walk.

Those eyes tell stories.

Unfortunately not every dog is healthy

This guy has only three legs but he does not care…

A very nice husky mix…

…with a lot of energy.

He is anxious and needs a lot of love.

An old, blind lady 🙁

Cute but cheeky

The puppies open their eyes and start playing

They had four siblings who unfortunately did not make it 🙁

We hope the dogs will like them.

Iza takes care of these two. Without her, these two puppies would have died too 🙁


Surrounded by volcanos at Lago Atitlan

Our Camp in Panajachel

After our volcano trip we want to relax at lago Atitlan. On our way we visit the market in Sololá where we do not see any tourists and get our fruit and vegetable ration for unbeatable prices. The market is really worth to see and explore.

The lake covers 130km², is 18km long and surrounded by three volcanos. The lake basin is volcanic in origin, filling an enormous caldera formed in an eruption 84.000 years ago.  Around the lake there are several small villages like Pana(jachel), San Pedro and San Marcos. Our first destination is the biggest village “Pana” which we do not like much. Our camp however provides a beautiful view to the lake and volcanos.

With the water taxi we reach the surrounding villages. San Pedro is famous for its party time, drugs, fireworks and souvenir stands – not really what we’re looking for. So we only spend half day here before we headed to San Marcos. We were told that there is a beautiful Campground so we pack our stuff and head this way.

The road to the small village is steep – really steep. While driving down we’re already asking ourself how we will ever get back up…

San Marcos is very quiet. It kind of seems dead. The motto here is: Meditation, Yoga and Relaxation!  The Camp is a little outside and we have to torture the trailer on a bad off-road route. But it’s worth it. The place at Pierre is amazing and we stay for one week.


Our Camp in Pana

Café in San Pedro – luckily we can get coffee in every village

Main road in San Pedro

Poor street dogs at the market in Sololá 🙁

Oil change needs to be done

Yummy chocolate fruits at the market

Somebody wants to join? 😉

Market Sololá

You can buy the living chickens…

…or the dead

Usually the vendors sit on the floor and pile up their fruits and vegetables in front of them.

The locals don’t wear colourful clothes.

Butterfly farm in Pana

Butterfly farm in Pana

San Marcos. Lucia and Jan having …

…fun while splashing into the lake.

“How do I get back up?”

Bread! Real bread. Our tipp:

…while you’re at the lake. Check Posada Jaibalito…

..super nice food and super cheap.

Also these guys know how yummy it is!

Our view…

…our BBQ 😉

To get into the small and steep property of Pierre we needed some helping hands.

Back to the main road… It’s even too steep for the Toyota who has to pull the trailer….

…we had to take several breaks.


2.000 mts in height on one day. Volcano Acatenango

Fuego! Nearly within our grasp.

Dieser Trip wird unvergesslich bleiben. Bevor wir gestartet sind, wussten wir, dass es nicht leicht sein wird den 4.000 Meter Hohen Vulkan “Acatenango” zu besteigen. Wir wollen es natürlich dennoch und bereiten uns seelisch und moralisch darauf vor indem wir uns immer wieder sagen, dass es nicht leicht wird aber wir immerhin unser eigenes Equipment wie Zelt, Isomatte, Schlafsack und Trekkingrucksäcke dabei haben. Somit müssen wir uns nicht mit den “alten” Leihsachen der Touranbieter herumärgern. Mit vollgepackten Rucksäcken startet unsere Tour morgens um 9 Uhr. Es ist steil, wird steiler und bleibt steil. Ein Alptraum aber wir werden immer mal wieder mit traumhaften Blicken aufs Tal belohnt. Leider wurde Jan Höhenkrank und hatte eine seiner schlimmsten Nächste oben im Krater. Außerdem brachte uns unser Guide an einen Nachtplatz von dem aus der aktive Vulkan “Fuego” nicht aus dem Zelt zu sehen war. Um einen Blick auf den Vulkan zu haben, hätten wir 50 Meter aus dem Krater laufen müssen. Keiner von uns wollte allerdings noch einen Meter laufen und wir blieben fast den ganzen Abend im Zelt. Somit haben wir es verpasst den Vulkan aktiv zu sehen. (Wir wir im Nachhinein erfahren haben, gibt es einen Nachtplatz von dem man aus dem Zelt eine super Sicht auf den Fuego hat! Wir ärgern uns grün und blau aber das nutzt nun auch nichts mehr)


Uff… it’s getting warm

Step by step

It wasn’t that funny – we’re only smiling for the pic 😉

We get nice views every now and then.


We still feel good…

..but then it gets cold…

..colder and steeper…

…it is so difficult to walk as it is all sandy.

Yeah. We reach the crater. Now we only need to setup the tent.

Unfortunately we did not see lava…

…and as our photographer was sick we do not have any pics of the vulcano 🙁

GOOD morning. Luckily Jan can get up.

And pose for a pic

Looks like on the mood, doesn’t it?

Well, don’t know if the moon really looks like this.

Fuego! But it’s not erupting.

Yes, of course it does!



Our Guide! Thank god he was able to carry Jans backpack.

Getting down is not easier than coming up…

Think our faces say everything.


It was COLD.

400 Meter weiter unten wird alles einfacher...

400 meter further down it got much easier…

…and Jan was fit again!



Colourful houses, ruins, police and a lot of Cafés – La Antigua

La Antigua

After another long drive we reach Antigua. We like the city with its cobblestone, cafes and colourful houses and ruins. Unfortunately there is no campground but we can park at the tourist police. It’s not really nice but it’s free and they offer restrooms and showers (super cold though) Also it is very close to town. In less than 5 minutes we can reach the center afoot.

Standing on Pick Ups while driving is usual here, as well as the loaded trucks.

Poor street dogs everywhere.

La Merced. One of the many churches in Antigua

The artist market

Yuhu, a little smile

Coffee Roasting workshop

Hmmmmmm what a nice smell.

Guate Java, a nice little cafe in town

The people here love to the the pics on the camera

Chicken Bus

Chicken Bus

Security in front of each shop

Catedral de San José

Catedral de San José

Catedral de San José

Catedral de San José

Catedral de San José

Catedral de San José

Catedral de San José

Catedral de San José

Okay, Antigua is a little touristy 😉

“See that?”

In the choco Museum…

…it smells like? Chocolate!

Do we buy this?

Lunch in a traditional restaurant.

You can buy so many paintings from the city

Arch of Santa Catalina. An emblem of Antigua

The kids can sleep no matter how loud it is

Luckily Laundries are not rare here .



Coffee Tour in Coban

Red and ripe coffee fruit

Coban is a famous cafe region so we have to visit a cafe farm here. We head to “Cafe Chicoj” in the mountains. After asking the locals several times about the street conditions we recognized that their answer is always “yes” but in real the streets are NOT GOOD.



Unfortunately the first plantation we went to, did not offer tours today. But sure sold good coffee.

Si Si. The road is good.

Only roads which do not exist anymore are bad roads 😉

A little puppy welcomes us at the plantation

Cute little thing who only wants to play.

We get to know everything about coffee and its growing process.

A Zip Line adventure is also included….

…first we thought this is weird…

… but it was fun!


Some are still green…

…others are ready to be picked.

Coffee plants everywhere.

There has to be time for a kiss always!

This machine will peel the bean out of the fruit.

Unsorted coffee fruits.

After the peeling process they get washed and sorted.

At the end the beans have to dry and they use this oven to make a good heat.

Really funny coffee tour at finca “Chicoj”