WELCOME TO ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA
It’s my first morning in Antigua and I cannot wait to get outside and start exploring. I open the front door to my hostel (Villa Esthela) and head down the alley to the street. Immediately I smell a bakery. It is called the Santa Clara Bakery and Cafe. The bakery is filled with fresh breads, cakes and pastries. The attached cafe also sells fresh fruits and vegetables. I grab an apple and a couple of bananas before wandering the streets and trying to keep a sense of direction so I can find my way back to my hostel.
HISTORY LESSON AND CITY FACTS
Antigua is filled with old Spanish Colonial style buildings, homes and churches. Most restored after an Earthquake in 1773 that ended Antiguas 200 year reign as the Guatemalan Capital. Some of them are just absolutely beautiful and colorful, while others are in various states of ruin and repair. The area’s economy is built mostly around tourism but Antigua is also a coffee producer for Anacafe. This city has many Spanish schools and is a popular destinations for travellers who want to learn the language. There are 3 Volcanoes surrounding Antigua. To the south of the city is Volcan de Agua at 3,766 M high. On the West is Acatenango at 3976 M, last erupting in 1972, and also Volcan de Fuego 3763 M high, famous for being constantly active at a low-level.
STAY ANOTHER DAY
I look up and around me and I’m amazed at the stunning beauty of the volcanoes and the lush jungle and mountains that surround the city of Antigua. There are lots of Tours and Hikes, even overnight hikes offered up onto the volcano. I didn’t get to try any of these but I did decide that I wanted to spend another day in Antigua before I moved on. I managed to find my way back to the hostel and was able to book another night in a dorm as well as my transportation to Panajachel for the next day. I move may bag downstairs to my new room, it’s a 4 bed dorm that i end up with alone in. and back outside I go.
THINGS I SEE ON MY WALKABOUT
A Local Running Group coming down from the mountains into the city running across the Lumpy stone roads. Argh my feet !#!?
The sidewalks were quite high up and barely wide enough to walk on…So I Actually saw a lot of people using those very rough roads that amazed me and broke my heart. *The boy hurrying up the bumpy street with a wheelbarrow full of peanut *The family of 4 on the minibike, *The old man struggling along in his rickety wheelchair, *The couple on a bicycle, and *The sad, skinny horse with tears in his eyes and a grocery bag tied to his butt, clip clopping over the street pulling the carriage behind.
Old Colored buildings with Beautiful gardens, Interesting Museums, Amazing shops, great smelling restaurants And a strangely large amount of pizza places.
A tiny old man with a weathered face dressed as a cowboy stands in a doorway squinting into the sun.
A local vender stands at his cart cutting and bagging up fresh fruit and on another street there’s a women selling fresh-baked goods from out of her car and It all looks delicious!
I run into Tom from Belgium outside his hotel smoking cigarettes with his mates.
I also bump into Terry from Texas and his Daughter at the Burger King. It’s not a very big city.
And my favorite spot was a smaller Park filled with happy families and a large concrete structure filled with water which I learned was a communal laundry used by the locals. Its called La Tanque de la Union.
GREAT BUILDINGS TO CHECK OUT
Captain General Palace City Hall
Cathedral of St James and San Jose Parish
Church and Convent of Capuchins
La Merced Church(Bright Yellow)
Church and School of the Society of Jesus
Santa Domingo Monastery
Escuela de Cristo Church
Nuestra Senora Del Carmen Church
San Pedro Hospital,
La Concepcion Convent
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The day is coming to an end…I grab some beer and start walking back to my Hostel. I plan to go up to the rooftop to relax and try to catch the sunset…..
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