Route So Far

9-12 May 2008 

We arrived here intending to spend 2 days, and we find ourselves still here on day 5!  The time taken to see Antigua Street with Aqua in backgroundand enjoy Antigua properly expands exponentially each day we are here.  We arrived last Friday, in the dark, and it took us almost 2 hours of tramping the streets to find accomodation.  It´s a very popular weekend spot for Guatemala City dwellers. 

We spent one night in a new place on the edge of town, and the next day found a lovely little Posada on the Calle Santa Lucia, good value and very central.  Antigua is laid out on a grid of 9 Avenues by 9 streets – and that is it.  In 1969, a law was passed not allowing any sprawling development on the edges of town, preventing any development over one storey and ensuring that the right colours were used to paint the houses.  Coca Cola a touch of americanasponsored burying the electricity lines.  The Mc Donalds is the most subtle we have ever seen.  The result is a beautiful colonial town, not marred by ugly modern developments, and streets lit by old fashioned lights not unlike the ones in the Phoenix Park.

We have spent much time wandering the streets, admiring the buildings, taking in the volcanoes that surround the town and visiting markets.  Haggling is part of daily life at this stage. 

 

Local ladies in Antigua Street

One highlight was a trip to Pocaya Volcano, a live volcano 90 minutes drive from the town.  We set off at 3pm, having been told that the afternoon tour was the better option, as we would see lava flowing at dusk. 

Go with the Flow

There were of us on the tour, including 4 other Irish!  We hiked to the top of the hill, aided by sticks provided by enthusiastic local boys for 5 quetzals (about 50 cent).  Once at the top, we clambered over cooling lava towards the flowing lava.  Safety went out the window as we all got seriously close to the lava which was flowing like a river!  Other bits of rock were cooled on the outside, but they barely concealed a red-hot interior.  The entire molten mass was moving down the mountain like a fast moving glacier.Self photo on Pocaya

 

 

 

 

Photos hardly do the sight justice – we toasted marshmallows on a three pronged stick, and took a lot of videos!  Eh not at all dangerous.  Mary and Mona look away now. 

 

Playing with fire

We did a walking tour with Elizabeth Bell Tours.  The 3 hours we spent with our guide meant that we immediately changed our plans to extend our stay by yet another day.

Cathal feels a little green eyed

Eh, pose please Cathal? Pose please

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