Churches of Antigua Guatemala and Last Supper

Trip Start Feb 01, 2012
Trip End Feb 21, 2012

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What I did
Tanque de la Union
San Juan Catedral
Iglesia de Santa Clara
Iglesia de San Pedro

Flag of Guatemala  , Sacatepéquez,
Friday, February 17, 2012

Why is it that I can't remember what happened today??   oh, it is slowly coming back.  I got off to a late start with my shower and trying to sort out what I needed for today.  Clare and I met David in the lobby to go for breakfast.  We went to Cafe Barista on the plaza and saw Roger already there, then Sarah and Terry arrived.  The coffee was good and I had egg on ciabatta I think. 

We then returned to the hotel to meet up for our city walk.  We had a local guide who led us around the city pointing out the various important buildings, with a focus on the churches -the Cathedral, San Pedro, Santa Clara and San Francisco.  I think there were more, but I can't remember them at the moment.  I noticed a young woman in furry boots tagging along with us and thought she was a tourist who crashed our English-speaking tour and commented to Clare, who informed me that she was his girlfriend.  To further add to the tale, David told me that this "guide was in a suit as he was going to a wedding after the tour which is why his girl friend came along."

We walked through several churches and I took a photo of a door knob and Lou reminded me that I wasn't supposed to take photos.  At San Francisco, we saw all his tombs.  It seems that he was given a more prominent tomb once he was canonized.  The Pope traveled to Guatemala.  Hermano Pedro is the only saint to be canonized by the Pope outside the Vatican. There was a stall selling candles outside the church and the guide told us that the colors signified what people were praying for.  Someone mentioned black candles (for death) but the guide had never seen any being sold there.  Lou told him about the ceremony at Maximon's shrine where the man was praying for the death of two men who were going to shut his road and he used the black candles then.

When the tour ended, Lou took us along with her to a jade museum/shop and then to her favorite designer jewelry shop.  We didn't stay long in the jade shop but found a lot of appealing pieces in the other jewelry shop - all one of-a-kind designs.   From the jewelry shops we moved on to the craft shops and at some point we stopped for something to drink and eat - mid-morning refreshment.  More shopping followed.  There were some typical tourist places where we were hassled by the shop owners and then there was one huge craft market where you could wander and be left alone to purchase all sorts of little things as well as some major purchases of huipils that could be very expensive.  I admired the huipils but bought some postcards for 1 quetzal and some other little things.  We were followed by sellers of pipes, jewelry and textiles and soon wanted to get away from it all, so we stopped for lunch.  Clare wanted to try the Pollo Compero fast food restaurant - Guatemala's answer to KFC.  In fact, Lou had told us previously that KFC had come to Central America and people tried it, but went back to Pollo Compero and KFC left Central America.  There are other fast-food places around the various countries we visited, especially in San Jose, Costa Rica, but I haven't noticed many in Guatemala.  Pollo Compero  was different in that it had sit-down service with waiters and waitresses and it took quite awhile to get our check.

I don't remember the order of events but I think we decided to walk around town for awhile and then work our way back to a shop where Clare saw a leather bag she wanted to buy.  While she was there, I booked my coffee tour.  I had only planned on asking whether the tour went on Sundays but since there seemed to be a limited number of English-speaking tours, I decided I should probably book.  This appeared to be a different tour than the Coffee Bus one that Lou had pointed out.  I also found out that there is a shuttle to the airport for $10 that I can book from this place as well.  I might try the Adrenaline Tourist Agency that Lou recommended just in case this one isn't reliable.  By this time, it was getting late so we headed back to the hotel to get sorted out for the group dinner.

This sorting out seemed to take an exceptionally long time because we didn't quite make it down when we planned and were the last to get downstairs.  We gave Charlie the tips for Lou and then we all headed for the restaurant.  It was quite nice - up on their upstairs outdoors balcony.  I had a really nice spinach-cheese quesadilla, a Negra Modelo dark beer from Mexico and flan with strawberries for dessert.  We said our good-byes to some of the group and a few of us went with Lou to a bar.  I thought we were following Kerry but I didn't see her.  Naomi lent me some Guatemalan money for a drink of aguardiente (not sure of the spelling) - Guatemalan fire water - mixed with hibiscus I think and mineral water.  It was sweet and quite pleasant.  Lou was ready to head back and Naomi and I followed with the rest leaving as well.  Naomi and I made plans to go out to dinner tomorrow to the French restaurant on 4th Avenue that serves absinthe.

Back at the hotel now.  Not much going on.  Clare packed for her 10 am departure to the airport and I started my entry for today.  The power went off so I am using my headlamp, but I am finished now and going to bed.  It is nearing midnight.

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