Wed 28th & Thur 29th September
Antigua was founded by the Spanish in 1543 as their Capital of Guatemala after previous ones were deemed unsafe. In those days Guatemala included the whole of Central America and some of Mexico.
Cathederal from Central Park
Unfortunately in the 1700’s two devastating earthquakes destroyed much of the city and the Spanish moved the Capital yet again to its present location of Guatemala City.
Antigua’s population declined rapidly after the earthquakes and the city has only recently seen a resurgence on the back of tourism. As a result the colourful native Indians are much in evidence selling their traditional wares.
Many of the most impressive Spanish buildings remain in ruins with many being just facades, however, there is a 50 year plan to renovate and reconstruct the most important.
Some, like the Placacio de los Capitans Generales here, has only recently been completed.
Lunch break in Central Park (not quite New York)
There are restaurants here from just about every Country in the World. Bob & Terry were pleased to find the Indian (A Madrass tonight boys).
The whole city has cobbled streets and old colonial buildings are everywhere.
Although tourism and Spanish language schools bring much needed money into the city, poverty is still quite evident.
Terry and I booked a tour to the Pacayan Volcano for Thursday morning. It meant getting up at 5am (ugh). Bob declined the offer and stayed tucked up in his cosy bed.
There were about 10 of us on the trip and when we got to the start of the trek I was surprised to see three horses following us. They were taxis and for a price will transport you to the top should you decide that walking was too much. The rumour was the further you are up the mountain when you admit defeat, the higher the price.
Terry & I made it with the help of a Snickers bar and avoided the ignominy of being transported by horse.
Pacaya volcano last erupted in May 2010 and although the lava has stopped flowing there is still plenty of the hot stuff about. Marshmallows were cooked on the smoking lava. Delicious!
Me sweating off a few pounds (it's pretty hot down there).
Neither of us had been to an active volcano before and as you can see the landscape is quite dramatic.
Antigua has been designated a World Heritage Site and with about 70 schools in the city is also a favourite destination for foreign students learning Spanish, so it is quite a hotspot for travellers and tourists.
Arch of Santa Catalina
School children waiting to cross the road. They are all immaculately dressed in uniform.
Compania de Jesus (one of the many buildings that are currently just facades)
Courtyard off Avenida Norte.
If all goes according to plan we will be heading into El Salvador tomorrow (wish us luck at the border).