Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Twenty Four Hours in Antigua, Guatemala

This is the view we woke up to our first and so far only morning in Antigua! That's Volcan de Agua in the background.
Our last days getting the boat ready to leave were occasionally miserable. During the middle of the day it was really hot and once the boat was up on the cement yard it baked us. We had to remove and fold the sails and canvas, wash down the walls and floors with vinegar and water, and lift up the dinghy to be secured on the foredeck. Scott had several things to do on all the engines and I sorted out our food supplies and cleaned out the refrigerator. We couldn't stay on the boat and I didn't mind a bit. We can't use the toilet while it's on the hard. We took a very pleasant room at the nearby Mar Marine Yacht Club - for $25 a night a good deal - air conditioning and U.S. TV stations.
 In a few days we were finished and on the road. The 5 hour bus trip to Guatemala City took 7 hours but it too was air conditioned and we were not working. Heaven. As we were too late to catch our scheduled bus on to Antigua, they sent us by taxi at no cost. Rather nice we thought. And once there it was lovely. At Walt and Honorees suggestion we stayed at Chez Daniel with our very nice hosts Daniel and Maria Elena (chezdanielantigua.blogspot.com or facebook). Our beautiful $49 a night room included a great breakfast with croissants, french bread, butter, jam and juice. We took their suggestion and ate that night at La Pena del Sol (lapenaantigua.com) - terrific meal and live music. Unfortunately it was a rainy night so we didn't get much of a walk but did have time in the morning as my pictures show.
Antigua was founded in 1543, the third capital of Guatemala, and served the Spanish as their governing center for most of Central America and part of Mexico. In 1717 and 1773 it was hit by terrible earthquakes and much of the town was destroyed. The capital moved once again, this time permanently to Guatemala City. The city was ordered abandoned but of course many did not. Today it has about 34,000 inhabitants.
We'll be back here for sure when we return in January.
And when we looking over the roof tops to our right, more
volcanoes appeared. The one farthest left had a plume
of smoke rising from the crater.
The narrow quiet street where our
Bed and Breakfast - Chez Daniel - is.
The lovely tree lined streets are paved with cobble stones.
A small church near our B & B
This little girl and her mother are dressed in
quite the western fashion but the baby is still
carried the traditional way.
This woman is in traditional costume and the embroidery
 work on her apron and blouse is very fine.
This Tuktuk driver would love to take me for a ride.
Broad tree lined streets just out of the main center are lined
with homes, many ex-pats from USA and Canada.
Local buses try to outdo each other in color and decoration
This "fashionably" dressed young boy is getting his
 shoes shined. Imagine!
Vendors sell everything and often only one item each - here
freshly cut mangoes
One of the several churches destroyed, we assume,
by earthquakes with only it's facade intact. 
The extensive and beautiful central park is surrounded by
old buildings.
A group of children line up for a walk.
We lucked out by being in Antigua when the
Tour de Guatemala went through. It was early morning
and huge crowds had turned out to greet the teams.

We had never seen an all xylophone band before. They
sounded great.
I guess when you're signing a male fan's
clothing, his back's a good spot.
Motorcycles/Scooters are a popular way to get around
and often we see whole families on one.
Another partial facade testifying to how often earthquakes
have rocked this town.

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