Thursday, October 24, 2013

Castillo de San Felipe (Castle San Felipe) - Protection from Pirates!!!

Last weekend we were invited to go with Robert and Yohana to Castillo San Felipe.  It was built originally in 1652, as a Spanish Fort to protect the river against pirates.  Many of the Spanish galleons were anchored in Lake Isabal, and the fort was near the entrance to the lake.  It was almost destroyed several times in the 1600s by pirates, but has been reconstructed in 1955.
Entrance to the Castle, complete with moat and drawbridge
The park like entrance to the castle grounds was very beautiful, with large trees and picnic areas.  The castle is on a peninsula, so the complete peninsula is part of the castle grounds.  We enjoyed a nice walk through the grounds, coming to the castle itself.
 Augie and Yohana
 Road leading to castle
 Graveyard on Castle grounds
 Beautiful trees along the road to castle
 Poster showing castle
 Yohana - our personal tour guide!
 Augie in front on Castle
 Dale in front of Castle
Beautiful picnic areas with canons by the river
The castle moat, with a beautiful view out to the river.  I didn't see any crocs or skeletons!
Once inside the castle, the passageways were very narrow with several direction changes.  This must be to make it harder to attack anyone in the castle.  The canons inside the castle were also in towers with very narrow stairs and openings that could be secured with a plate. 
 Kitchen area
 Courtyard of the castle
One of many cannons
 View out one cannon opening of the river
 Augie and Yohana!  Who's hat is that?
A small church within the castle (Iglesia Antonio Del Castillo)
Narrow passages with many turns between different areas of the castle

 There was one secret passage that we found that didn't have any lights.  We used Yohana's iPhone on flashlight mode to see the way.  It was really dark and the passage had many turns in it.  It finally came out into an area that could have been the sleeping quarters.  I caught a picture of mom feeling her way through the dark passage....sorry mom for blinding you with the flash!!!
Was that a rat or spider by your feet????  or a ghost?

The exit of the secret passage into the sleeping area
Sleeping area, we think!
 Narrow stairs leading up to cannon sentry
 Augie climbing steep stairs to cannon sentry
View from the cannon sentry (Torre de Bustamante)
 Yohana and Augie
 Augie holding down the fort!
Yohana and Dale
 Dale sitting on his favorite cannon!
Yohana, Robert and Augie!  Which one doesn't look like the other???? What's the deal with the hands????
 Beautiful brass cannon made in 1796.
Robert and Augie checking out the inscription on the cannon
 View from the castle back toward the castle grounds
View of palm tree and river from the castle
Roof top view of castle
After we finished the castle tour, we decided to go through the Pirates Museum.  I think it was only 5 quetzals each, less then a dollar, but I am not sure it was worth the price, but was still fun!  The rest of the museum was in a bit of disarray, along with the pools, swinging bridge, and the hotel. 
 I thought that I found a new first mate, but I just couldn't get used to her right handed hook.
Mom also found a man, but the snake scarf was a little over the top! 

Ah, this one is better!  No hook and an orange drink!  Interesting, the same face, must be twins!

The local tour guide, maintenance man, and money taker, posing for the camera!  This explains a lot!

Mom finally found one, but he wasn't much of a talker!

 Poor Yohana!!!!

Umm..maybe we will pass on the rotten boarded bridge over the empty swimming pool tour.  

This hotel looks like a great place for a Halloween Haunted House!  I wasn't sure if anyone lives there or not, but some of the rooms looked like someone was there.
I'm not sure if the hotel was designed with a sloping floor or whether this was an added feature.
We really enjoy our morning on the castle tour!  We then went out to lunch at Backpackers Hotel and Marina.  Remember that this was on a weekend, so Backpackers was really crazy.  See the next post to see the craziness!

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