Travelled for a few hours into Antigua via shuttle and some terrible mountain roads on the 23rd for Christmas.
Antigua does not disappoint. Cobbled streets, colourful single storey colonial buildings and lovely churches, small enough to walk across in half an hour, various parks for sitting and people watching, views of three surrounding volcanoes – one typically puffing out smoke, and colourful artisana stalls selling traditional clothes, bags, belts (you name it). It is absolutely gorgeous. Eminently liveable (as the expat community attests). The backpackers budget does limit your access to most restaurants and bars in this city, but you can find enough to get by.
Guide book quote:
“If you’re on a budget, this is not your place”
Just How I like my Women Joke of the Day
Antigua is so pretty, but very expensive…
Christmas was a low-key affair (for us). On Christmas Eve we wandered around a quiet town, had a very expensive drink, so headed home and later watched an amazing fireworks show from our Posada’s roof terrace. At midnight everyone lets off fireworks, the cacophony echoing around the mountains, 360 lightshow from the top of hills to the neighbouring property, and smoke… so much smoke. Aside from being visually and aurally stunning, there is a touching connection you feel to everyone in the area doing the same thing at the same time – humans in unison. Even the nuns in the convent opposite were up on their roof watching, as is their habit. Really nice way to ring in Christmas.
Christmas itself featured face-timing, drooling at pictures of Christmas dinner, another fireworks extravaganza at midday, wandering around a quiet town, delicious ceviche for lunch and burgers for tea.
Our festive theme has been “Puppys and Pappys”:
We had booked a lovely Posada as our base, very central and a fantastic rooftop terrace for looking at surrounding volcanoes and mountains… but the best thing about it was the puppy they (Carlos and Hazel) had just brought home – Choco.
Gratuitous puppy watching, if you’re so inclined…
Soooo lovely to play in the afternoons and laugh at her rolling around, falling over, chasing shoes, trying to escape.
Sadly, however, my puppy was just for Christmas.
THE most amazing meat we’ve had since we’ve been away. Had a rib plate with 2 sides for lunch, and back again for amazing double burger. Very tasty Christmas treats.
Pappys also has the best wifi router name we’ve encountered on this trip: Prettyflyforawifi. Hehehe.
Other Important Conversations:
Guatevision (the Guatemalan Chuckle Vision):
“Tamale, to you…. Tamale, to you”
“That rum gives me headache”
“Oh, ok, I do alright on it”
“Yeah, I know. Maybe it’s you.”
“Nobody likes a smartarse Emily. Apart from me, apparently.”
“Look at me, I have got the body of a 39 year old… in the cupboard.”
“What food are you looking forward to when we get home?”
“Curry Night 1, Roast Day 2”
“What a great result!”
5 REASONS WE LOVE GUATEMALA
And so, as we sorted out a booking failure for onward travel to another country (Gekko Trails Explorer has a bad review coming), we thought about how much we have loved Guatemala and ruminated on what made it special for us.
1. Fresh fruit and vegetables are cheaper than McDonalds: the way it should be
In Antigua even this place is rocking a view: “Where’s Ronny?”
2. A smile begets a smile: smile and say “hello” and you always get a cheery and welcoming response, not the shocked “are you going to mug me?” or “what do YOU want” of a typical Londoner
3. Perfect weather: hot and sunny by day, but plenty of locations to be cold at night (try room 8 at Posada de San Carlos – freezing!)
4. No celebrity news: priorities are straight
5. Heritage: keeping hold of your language, your artisana skills, your traditional clothes of vibrant colour, despite so much Spanish and Catholic interference seems to me its own quiet revolution, a testament to resilience.