Beyond the architecture of Antigua – both the crumbling and the brightly painted – the culture and vibe of the city is infectious. We spent a good amount of time walking around and eating (and drinking) in its amazing restaurants. The cobblestone streets all lead back to the heart of the city between the Parque la Merced, el Arco de Santa Catalina, and Plaza Mayor.
In one massive shop near the arch, we spent a good deal of time looking at trinkets, antiques, and more. Their mask selection was overwhelming. It reminded me of my time in Venice. I particularly liked the dissonance between the colorful and fun animal masks and the darker, dramatic masks of humans and devils. Even their placements within the store told a story, with the former front and center with a brighter background. Related, methinks, were the somewhat creepy dressed mannequins at Parque la Merced!
On our walk to Convento la Recoleccion, Stéphane and I hustled through a maze of a day market, mostly selling household goods and clothing, but also some tourist stuff. On the far end when we emerged out of it all was a sea of people and chicken buses in a parking lot. The chicken buses are vibrant and carry passengers to different towns around the country, including back to Guatemala City.
The last photos in this series are from our hike up to Cerro de La Cruz. It was a nice, morning walk through town and then up a well traveled path to the cross at the top. More magnificent, as you can see, was the view of Antigua below and the Volcán de Agua in the distance. It was a perfect finish to our trip, and we spent the rest of the day going back to Guatemala City and recovering before our flight back to Texas the next day.
On our next visit to Guatemala, I want to climb that volcano!