Antigua (not that one)
Trip Start May 23, 2010
32Trip End Aug 31, 2010
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We met a few new people who told us that our next stop, Antigua, was going to be flooded following the recent tropical storm that had hit the West coast of Guatemala. This was on top of the recently-erupted Volcan Pacaya (guess we won't be climbing that, then!) and the 100m deep sink hole that opened up in Guatemala City, which swallowed up a 3 storey building: http://www.worldinterestingfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/most-amazing-hole-in-the-world-guatemala-sink-hole.jpg
Bad luck comes in threes!
So, it was with some trepidation that we awaited our 9 hour overnight bus ride into Antigua (that's a old colonial city in Guatemala, not the Caribbean island!). Apart from the coldest air conditioning known to man forcing Ems to don her thick sock, hoodie and cagoule in the bus, everything was pretty ok and we arrived, a little sleep-starved in Antigua this morning after a quick change of bus in Guatemala City (we avoided any gaping craters!).
What a place! It's a fantastic mix of faded glory colonial architecture and vibrant coloured building, surrounded on all sides by a lush green mountainous backdrop, with volcanoes (including the bilious Pacaya) peaking through the clouds. Stunning. We waited in the Parque Centrale for our hostel pick up and found the locals really friendly. A local Mayan woman offered me some handmade bracelets. "Something for your wife?". No, thank you. "For your sister? Or your mother?". No, sorry. "What about your enemies then? You must have some enemies!" What? I think she was joking!
Our pick up arrived and took us to probably one of the top three hostels I've ever stayed in, the Earth Lodge. 7km from the city, it's located in a mountainside community in the heart of an avocado farm and oak plantation. There's an eco-friendly theme and our cabana has a tree growing right through the middle of it! A couple of awesome resident dogs and amazing views across the valley and down onto Antigua top things off
The locals around here are so friendly, the women and girls in their beautifully multi-coloured Mayan handwoven attire, balancing baskets of washing on their heads and bidding us 'Buenas tardes' as they saunter past. I steered clear of the 3 year old boy happily toying with a machete taller than he was, though! Nice to be somewhere more authentic.
Right, it's happy hour and I've just been bitten (again) so hasta luego!