Volcano Fuego smoking away - view from our hotel in Antigua
Whatever we were expecting in Antigua we certainly weren’t expecting this – a major volcanic eruption from a volcano only a few km from the city. As we approach from the north I notice that parked cars are covered in dirt and suspect that there is an eruption nearby. By the time we reach Antigua itself we can see there is a covering of ash, though it’s been raining earlier and the air seems clear.
When we first arrive everything in the city seems pretty normal except for a blitz of people washing cars. By the next morning we can see the smoking Fuego volcano clearly from the rooftop of our hotel. The news of the death toll and destruction has spread through the city creating a sombre mood. We decide to risk staying another night here but quickly find a travel agent and book ourselves onto a bus out of Antigua leaving early tomorrow.
I’ve no idea of what a safe distance from an eruption like this is, but I think that we are too close for comfort. In Antigua people are busy sweeping up ash, but tourists are few and far between. A number of the churches
Car covered in volcano ash in Antigua
are being used as collection centres for good to assist the people evacuated from the areas hit by the lava flows. Checking the internet we see that the eruption is now the number one story on the BBC news site.
For the rest of the day we look around the city. It’s more than enough time, as the city centre is quite compact and there aren’t really a huge number of sights to see, as it’s a place where you can appreciate the city just from walking the streets. I can see why it’s a popular destination, the city is beautiful and there are plenty of fine hotels and restaurants here, but in reality there isn’t that much to do here. Normally people base themselves here for excursions around the local area (including hikes to the volcanos) but clearly this isn’t happening at the moment.
I’m pleased we came and it is an "interesting" experience being so close to a natural disaster, but right now this is no place to be a tourist and I’ll be much happier tomorrow when we are safely out of here.
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