The most beautiful city in Central America
Trip Start May 23, 2010
32Trip End Aug 31, 2010
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Emma and I can't get enough of Antigua. As a place, it's simply spellbinding. Even with some dense cloud cover obscuring the volcanic panorama, the city remains thoroughly beautiful. Its cobbled streets are home to pastel-painted, plaster fronted buildings and more ruined churches than you can count (the result of numerous earthquakes down the years)
More storms overnight and an overactive cockerel nearby meant I slept lightly, but we made the most of our last day in town. During the course of the day, we visited Las Capuchinas, a ruined convent from the 1700s that used to be home to an order of Nuns would virtually imprisoned themselves in its walls and communicated with the outside world solely through a hole in the wall (NB I don't mean a cash machine). It's a very atmospheric place and is now home to a museum of religious artefacts that were found both there and in other ruined sites throughout the city. We also visited the Catedral de San Jose's ruins, which sit behind the current Catedral. These were pretty eerie, especially the small crypt that is found beneath the old nave, accessed via a low staircase. Here, a soot-blackened carving of Christ on the cross is found in front of a table where offerings are burnt by the local Mayan community
At around 5pm, when another downpour started, we headed back drenched but happy to our hostel and waited for our ride to Guatemala City, where we were staying overnight ahead of our flight to Costa Rica. The rumours of another impending tropical storm to follow-up Hurricane Agatha seemed unfounded. More grim was Guatemala City itself, a seedy, grimy and chaotic den of iniquity, where every scene looks like a mugging about to happen. Happily we stayed outside of downtown and kept our fingers crossed that no natural disasters would disrupt our flight the next morning (though secretly, we'd have loved an excuse for a few more days down in Antigua!).