Blogs from Antigua, Capital Region, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean

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Fri 23 November - Day 28 to 28 - Antigua Returning to Antigua bought us hotter weather and familiarity. We had loved Antigua the last time we were here but had noticed it was quieter as the Festival of Flowers was over. Tom & I found the Barrister Café on the edge of the Central Square. They served wonderful cappuccino and a spicy soup with avocado. We also visited an old church which was devastated by one of the earthquakes has now been converted into small sections for the purpose of learning carpentry, electrical and other trades. We then visited a travel agent to see if they could take us to a good spot to view the Fuego Volcano which was erupting constantly. He quoted an exorbitant price so went back to the hotel Posada Los ... read more
Active Fuego Volcano at sunset Antigua Guatemala (1)
Christmas in Guatemala (1)
Antigua Guatemala (3)


Fri 16-Sat 17 November - Day 21 to 22 - Antigua We arrived around 2.00pm after negotiating the busy, large city of Guatemala, at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua, one of the most delightful colonial towns in Central America. After booking in at the very friendly Hotel Posada Los Bucaros in our spacious room with 2 double beds and a single bed, Alfredo took us on the usual orientation walk around the city. The local indigenous could be seen throughout the cobbled streets and plazas of the city in their colourful costumes, selling their crafts and textiles. They are very short people, wearing colourful blouses and full skirts. Often, they were carrying their wares on their head as well as carrying a baby in a wrap. As the cultural centre of Guatemala, Antigua was an ... read more
Active Fuego Volcano outside Antigua
Antigua Guatemala - Flower Festival (27)
Pam Climbing Volcano Pacaya outside Antigua


Cj writes: Last night - our first dinner post-Exodus tour - we went to an Argentinian parilla (steak) restaurant. All very good (note to self: in Central America ‘medium’ evidently equates to ‘bleeding all over the plate’, what in the UK we would describe as ‘capable of being resuscitated by a good vet’) ... but then we had to get back to our hotel at the advanced hour of 8:30 pm. Having been warned of the dangers of walking, we eventually managed to flag down a tuktuk (yes, the little 2stroke things found all over India, and now exported here). (SC - We were helped in finding the tuktuk by the armed guard outside the restaurant. That tells you all you need to know.) We agreed a price, and set off. The streets of Antigua city ... read more
Cathy gets to grip with Cowboy steak
Restaurant interior
Antigua sights


SC writes: A few last comments from Antigua Guatemala.Because of it's history (built in 1543) and "impressive beauty" Antigua was declared a WorldHeritage site by UNESCO in 1979. It is the second most visited destination in Guatemala and has certainly enabled us to chill out after the trip - despite some minor security worries. (E.g. We went into a couple of small local grocery stores yesterday in search of nibbles. Each had a cash desk behind stout iron bars - like prison cell). Having said that we have not had any sort of problem at all, beyond haggling with taxi drivers.... read more
Another volcanic vista
Another ruined monastary
Impressive displays at Paseo de los Mueos


SC writes in catch up mode: Saturday was a very long travelling day, where we crossed back into Guatemala, bumped over a thousand sleeping policemen, climbed up to 2,500 meters and enjoyed some fantastic scenery. That got us to Lake Aticlan, a huge volcanic caldera dating bake 60,000 years, surrounded by three huge newer volcanic cones - spectacular scenery and even better sunsets.On Sunday we toured the local area,first by boat across the lake to two smallish villages. One was an arty crafty enclave where Cathy succumbed and bought some small painting. The other included a women's cooperative that produced woven goods from scratch. Cathy tried her hand at cotton spinning as you will see. In the afternoon ... read more
Cathy tries something new - cotton spinng
Local couple
Market shopping


SC writes....So here we are in Antigua having waved off our touring companions. Surrounded by three more volcanoes, Antigua is "impossibly cute" to quote Lonely Planet. Cobbled streets, low colonial buildings that give nothing away on the out side but usually reveal beautiful interiors and gardens within. Our hotel is one such building and we will be very comfortable here. It is only 10 minutes from the centre of town but the streets are VERY quite at night and we have been advised to take a taxi when returning to base after evening meals !! Security is clearly an issue. So what does regrouping involve? A) Getting 20 lbs of laundry done at the local lavanderia. That's what you get after about 18 days travel. All good.B) Finding a place to get Cathy's back pack repaired ... read more
Volcano overlooking Antigua
Craft Market
Smallest cafe ever?


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 ... read more


MARKET DAY There are men without legs women with no eyes an hombre with no arms with which to beg the shock shiver of seeing a burnt leg withered hanging from a silver crutch while they all split the sea frothing around them those yelling all in deep voices mazanas cinqo por diez mamita mamita fresas libra por viente at the edge of the darkened thickness inside of this market a threshold between the world above and below day and night dreaming and wide eyed in this maze ah maze means nothing here a weak withered word trying to wrestle a la dereche a la isquerda smoking incense hanging over blackberries fist sized I exagerated but isn't this an exageration all forever of it that would bury a city in fruit flesh chicken legs shining livers ... read more
EARLY LIGHT
IMPRESSION
CIRCLES OF COLOR


ADIOS VOLCAN One should never turn his back to a volcano certainly never her back certainly never at night and never when the moon is a silver slice hammock hanging the sun sunk behind Acatenango black and imposing brother Fuego standing to her right the sky purged heavy clouds melding with the great dark sky early stars sparkling through and she shouts oh my god oh my god look and seven people turn out there on the roof to see Fuego spewing forth into the night an enormous showering plume of red molten rock glowing electric into the sky then falling through the air a cosmic firework to land flowing down then sparkling orange down Fuego's shoulders down down then fading but Fuego again erupts not yet exhausted a bright fire geyser from deep earth a ... read more
JUST WAITING
DAYTIME ANTICS
STREET AND VOLCANO


READ THE DOGS Certainly they are dirty filthy tangled but they lounge about on black cobbles their lids half mast somnolent opium eyes they wander between legs with no fear of the kick rarely a rib showing a man with a straw sombrero and garlic strung over his shoulder cradles a jaw in one hand while the other strokes the mottled skull teats hanging low and swaying from the scratching and another asleep between shotgun slung men in blue and even the pretty one with the yip is washed white and combed and in a day from sleeping under the cars is smeared and matted and waiting under my chair Camilo they are in the sun in the shade soundless save for the shepherd next door who in basso lazily barks in the middle of night ... read more
TWINS AND THEIR BROTHER
GARLIC GARLANDS




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