I See Colours

Trip Start Jun 12, 2011
Trip End Oct 22, 2012

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Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

After a fairly long journey from Lanquin over some of Guatemala's more 'interesting' roads, we found ourselves in Antigua.  Antigua is an extremely beautiful city boasting colourful colonial buildings, a beautiful park in the middle of the central plaza and surrounded by towering volcanoes.
We checked into Casa Amarillo (Yellow House) which had amazing views of Volcan Fuego, and had a bit of hammock time on the roof terrace.  The best bit about Casa Amarillo is their amazing breakfast buffet of porridge, pancakes, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs and four different types of fruit.  We spent our time ambling around Antigua's colourful streets and visiting as many of the colonial churches around the city as we could (there are a lot!).  There are a lot of expats living in Antigua and it’s easy to see why, with its pretty architecture and the friendly locals, it's the kind of place you want to stay for a while.  It’s also a great place for treats and full of cafes and restaurants so on our first stay we treated ourselves to cake and hot chocolate at one of the garden cafe’s off the main square.  On our way back through Antigua after our time in Lake Atitlan we treated ourselves to an awesome Indian Thali, nom nom.
We were lucky enough to see some of the processions in preparation for Semana Santa (Holy Week / Easter – see Clare’s blog on Semana Santa in San Pedro for more info).  Giant floats weighing up to three tonnes depicting Jesus carrying the cross (followed by Mary on the separate float) are carried by around 100 men followed by a brass band playing a funeral march. The processions last all day starting at 6 am and ending at 2 am in the following morning.  Tonnes of locals dressed in purple robes follow the procession as they take turns carrying the floats.  There are also tonnes of men dressed as Roman Soldiers which we didn’t expect!  There were also loads of street vender's out selling everything from tomales and chocolate covered strawberries to bouncy balls, so the whole occasion felt very vibrant and not so sombre as you may expect.  It was great to see all the locals out on the street marking this momentous occasion in their calendar.  It was also the first time we saw the beautiful alfombras which Guatemalan Semana Santa is famous for.  These are multicoloured elaborate carpets made out of flowers and sawdust and in Antigua over Easter weekend itself these cover all of the streets and can run for several blocks.

We also took a Spanish lesson at one of the hundred’s of local Spanish schools with our teacher the lovely Illiana, which put us in good sted for the upcoming Spanish lessons and homestay we would be going to by Lake Atitlan.
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