Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Legendeary colonial city: Antigua, Guatemala

Yesterday's post about Casa Santo Domingo reminded me of the pleasures of visiting the small UNESCO World Heritage site in a little town 45 minutes outside of Guatemala City called Antigua (meaning old or antique in Spanish). Antigua is now home to one of my dearest friends, Maritza (we call her Titi Mari out of love). She wistfully left the corporate grind just last July to explore what life could really be like if you lived it by your own rules, took some unpaved roads and explored what living a "lifestyle" really could be. Now, I am not an envious person (really I am not!) but it still takes my breath away to think about her journey, not just the destination, but her inner journey upon which she is now content to listen to what had been screaming from within for quite some time. She reminds me to never squelch my desires of waking up in a little Spanish village or the smoldering night lights of Madrid...  One day it will happen, it is in my five year plan. Yes, I am the "bohemian planner". LOL!

In the meantime, here are some pictures I took of my trip to Antigua last year as I, along with our dear friend Juliana, dropped off Maritza at the door steps of her new life. It felt more like dropping off our daughter at college and traveling back home to an empty nest. That part was sad.
Thankfully, we have skype and regular visits.

The Antigua "welcome": the Santa Catalina Arch built in the 17th century. The arch was originally intended to connect the Santa Catalina convent to a school, allowing the cloistered nuns to pass from one building to the other without going out on the street - where they could not be seen as women.

El Volcan de Fuego, the "Fire Volcano"

La facade of the old El Carmen church, which spontaneously erupted
into a wonderful mid-afternoon market.

Our hotel during our stay the Palacio de Dona Leonor. This is the courtyard area.
It was amazing to wake up to every morning.

The many rooftops of this ancient city are remarkable. The colors are so vibrant, like no other.  

During our visit we took a day trip to the famous Lago Atitlan. Unfortunately, it was a little foggy when we visited but still wonderful. The town of Panajachel was delightful to explore.

A little sip of cafe from the Filidelphia coffee plantation came with lots of love.

It was market day at the Chichi market.

The many doors of Antigua's colonial past beckoned to take in the centuries old stories. Who lives here? What lies behind these doors? How many families have called this home? Wish I would have knocked and asked... next time.

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