Ruins and Chocolate Cake

Trip Start Apr 23, 2009
Trip End May 23, 2009

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Where I stayed
The Black Cat Hostel Antigua

Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

There are 3 buses that depart for Coban/Lanquin daily; 4 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Unfortunately we were too late for the morning bus. Antigua is a postcard perfect town, very similar to what Starbucks uses as the logo for their Antigua, Guatemala coffee. No matter, it gave us some time to take care of a bunch of chores like laundry, Internet, updating blogs....

Thanks to the historical seismic activities, Antigua had many ruins to explore. A list of the ones we visited with entrance fee and whatīs there to see:

- Le Merced (5 quetzals). The fountain is the largest and likely the most beautiful in all of Antigua.

- Catedral de Santiago (3 quetzals). A romantic place to live out Indiana Jones fantasies.

- Las Capuchinas (30 quetzals). To see what it was really like back then, a fully restored convent and museum.

- Colegio de San Jeronimo (30 quetzals). Not really worth the entrance fee. You can see it all by walking around back and for free!

- Iglesia y Convento de la Recoleccion (30 quetzals). The largest and most rambling of the ruins. Completely unrestored. Thereīs a nice shaded lawn to sit and relax. Great to climb, explore and generally be nosy.

- Iglesia de San Francisco (unknown). The catedral is definitely worth a visit but we couldnīt get into the ruins. The guard closed up 20 minutes before closing. If you go, go early!

Stacey was told by someone on the island that there is a hotel in Antigua that was a convent. After searching all day, we finally found it at the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. This place was simply amazing and so beautiful itīs almost surreal. If it werenīt for the $250 per night price tag weīd have spent an evening wandering around the candlelit halls and swimming in the pool that was formerly the fountain courtyard. I had to wonder if God minded his houses being turned into a luxury hotels? Seems to be a bit of a trend these days.

The 4 a.m. shuttle to Coban City tomorrow was canceled due to lack of people. We defaulted to the 8:30 a.m. to Lanquin for 160 quetzals direct from our hostel. Yes, yes, we are indeed backpacking and this certainly is a splurge. The chicken bus would have cost 60 but we would have had to go to Guatemala City first. No thank you. Juan Carlos at the hostel told us itīs a 5 hour ride. No offense, but somehow, Iīm not so sure about being told the time or schedules in Guatemala.

After days of searching for some good chocolate cake, we stumbled upon an American owned restaurant and gourmet shop called Epicure. The best truffles weīve ever tasted, well worth the 7 quetzals per one price tag, not to mention my Kahlua chocolate cake with almonds. Iīm still salivating at the thought. After that delectable appetizer, we went to Cafe Flor for dinner. The owner is an El Salvadorian piano player and his partner is a Japanese singer/musician. We were the only diners that late into the evening and missed the live musical entertainment. Jose and Kaori decided to hold a 2 hour private concert for us of his and her compositions, some modern pop and classics. The food and atmosphere was so good, nothing could have topped this night in Antigua.

Jose and Kaori are looking for a roommate to share their house in Antigua. Inquire at the cafe!
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