November 25-28th ~ Antigua, Guatemala
How wonderful to be back in our beloved Guatemala. Here is a sneak peek of why we love it here. Colorful, friendly, UNESCO World Heritage Site, amazing scenery, architectural ruins.
The name Antigua means ancient. To walk down cobble stone roads, past colorfully painted walls with imposing thick wooden doors, you are kept in suspense as to what may hide right out of sight.
Grab the large brass knocker, or ring the buzzer. Soon a small peak window will open. If you are expected, the door will be swung open and you will be greeted with a bright smile and a warm welcome.
Most often you enter a roomy, plant filled courtyard which will double as a parlor or reception room for the home, business or hotel.
Much of the architecture is Spanish Baroque. The town is surrounded with three volcanos that periodically act up, sending belches of clouds into the air. Going hand in hand with volcanic activities, are earthquakes and the area is strewn with ruins of many a grand church than is now only a shell of its former glory.
Spanish language classes are well-known here. You can immerse yourself in the local environment for a few days, weeks or months. Three years ago I was fortunate to attend Centro Linguistico Maya School (www.clmaya.com) for three weeks and stay with a local family. My stay included a basic room and board. The price of classes and lodging was surprisingly reasonable. I was so excited to reconnect with my excellent (and kind) teacher, Clara. I’m hoping to return to take more classes sometime later this year.
Thanksgiving is not celebrated as a holiday in Guatemala, but we were still able to have a GREAT dinner at Hotel Antigua. The full buffet included a salad bar with six different choices such as Caesar, fruit salad, and a very fresh seafood option. The main courses (which I sampled a little of each) were roasted turkey, ham with a pineapple sauce and beef medallions. Side dishes of fresh vegetables, sweet potatoes, rice, gravy, and cranberries. And of course no Thanksgiving meal would be complete without dessert. A small piece of apple pie à la mode, pumpkin pie, creme brûlée, chocolate cake and fresh berries were there for us to serve ourselves. Dinner also included a glass of wine, water and coffee. Grand total for this DELICIOUS feast? Less than $30 per person!
Central Park is where the daily action is. Surrounded by a large cathedral on one side, government offices, a museum, banks, restaurants and small shops, this is where many local Maya women offer beaded jewelry or colorful woven fabrics/shawls for sale. Look closely as most of these petite women have a baby slung across their back, tied snugly in place with a towel, shawl, or just a strip of fabric.
Gratitude Moment: Today of all days my gratitude is over flowing! We have so much to be Thankful for. Always at the top of my list is having my husband by my side, my health that continues to improve, a strong loving family, and friendships I cherish.
Next stop – Panajachel (Lake Atitlan) for the wedding!