A Weekend in Antigua

I´ve been tagged by Are We There Yet, Mom? to do the A Weekend in Your City meme. It´s been fun, reading about everyone´s towns! Now, where I actually live, there isn´t much more than a few dirt roads and a couple of stores, so I thought I´d take you all to Antigua, instead! It´s only a five minute drive from my pueblo, so it´s still my city.

Here?s how it works. Pretend that you have out of town guests visiting your city for the very first time and you?re the tour guide. Where would you take them? What would you do? Then tag 5 other people so they can proudly show-off their hometown, too! Remember, you can only mention one thing in each category.

Ok, let´s get started. Welcome to Guatemala! (I´d recommend coming for real between Nov. and April, since that is the dry season . . . just a bit more enjoyable!)

Best Place to Eat: The street. I know, I know, not a good idea, right? But the truth is that some of the absolute best food I have eaten in Guatemala has been from a little street stand beside the smelly buses that head to the capital. The woman there sells pupusas (tortillas filled with cheese) and she is always careful to make me fresh, hot ones.

Best Shopping Mall: We don´t have malls in Antigua. It´s a pretty old fashioned town. What we do have are markets and if you were to come for the weekend, there is no WAY we´d miss the Artisan´s Market, THE place to go for pretty Guatemalan fabrics and items. I´d also take you through the veggie market because it is just too much fun. Here´s what we´d be checking out.

And some of the things you can buy in the Artisan´s Market . . .

Famous Landmark: Volcan Agua. I live on the side of this dormant volcano. Sorry, I have no photos of it without clouds!

Best Tourist Attraction: I would have to say the ruins. In the1700´s, a massive earthquake wiped Antigua out. It was the capital of Guatemala back then and was called Santiago. All the rich folk lived here in these massive great mansions with beautiful gardens and they had dozens of magnificent churches. I can only imagine the terror that night, when all those massive stone pillars came crashing down. After the quake, the capital was moved to the current location in Guatemala City and many of the houses were simply abandoned. Some were restored by squatters, others have been claimed for historic preservation. There´s nothing like hitting the ruins of San Francisco for an afternoon picnic and then wandering through the broken rooms. (I kinda cheated on this one, cuz there are a LOT of different ruins in Antigua!)

Entertaining the Kids: Dorian LOVES to hit the playground at Hotel Antigua. They have a pool there, too, but we have never been because it costs Q90 (about $12) to go in . . . although some people claim you can just hop in without paying. Our mother´s group used to meet there and the kids loved it, there is a big grassy area and swings and a climbing thingy. We haven´t been in ages, Dante wasn´t born the last time we went, but it is a great place to hang out with the kids, even if you aren´t staying there.

Breathtaking Views: Cerro de la Cruz. There are free tours accompanied by the Tourist Police twice a day, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Going alone is possible, but not recommended, because of thieves. From Cerro de la Cruz, you can see all of Antigua and it provides some great photo opps. There are about a million stairs to climb to get there, though, so be prepared to sweat!

Popular Outdoor Activity: Just about everything is an outdoor activity here, even the houses have big open areas in the middle. Now, I could send you on a trip up an active volcano, but truthfully, it´s just a lot of sulphuric gas and sand, so I´m going with Papi Futbol. For this, you´d have to come back to my pueblo with me. Every night, during the papi season, the schoolyard is turned into a tournament. Teams from different towns come to play futbol (soccer to you Americans and Canadians  ) and the whole town turns out. Big floodlights are turned on and people bring snacks and buy soda in a bag from the little shop there. Sometimes they sell hot, greasy papas fritas (fries) with loads of mayonnaise, ketchup and hot sauce on them. A great time is had by all. During half-time, the little kids run out and kick balls around and the parents chat. It´s truly a community event . . . and it´s on every night during the season, with the exception of Sundays.

Well, that´s it, that´s all folks. I am going to tag the following five people:

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