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Antigua – Day 3

Posted by | Evil Kristos | January 20, 2009 | No Comments

Antigua is one of THE destinations in Guatemala. It’s the old colonial capital and quite pretty. Getting there from Guatemala City isn’t particularly difficult assuming you know where the bus stop is. I took a taxi from my hotel and it did turn out to be a good idea. I never would have found it.

Once on the bus I was really looking forward for the things to come. The ride was one of these typical piece of chunk busses Central America is famous for. What it lacked in beauty, leg space or modern technology it made up in charm. The bus driver was a friendly looking guy that obviously had nowhere to go, no friends or family and plans for the future. Calling his driving style suicidal would be flattering him. I’m normally pretty good in busses but this time I admittedly was afraid.

The road from Guatemala City to Antigua is in most parts a three lane motorway but and I mean BUT it is a hilly road with sharp bends. If I was driving a state of the art formula one car may be and I use the word BUT again, may be I would have gone as fast as he did. What I certainly would not have done is his overtaking left, right, through the middle oh wait there is a slower car so right again, OH NO, another stupid slow car AAAARGHHHH I cut the stupid small car and press through to the left lane again … you get the idea.

To my biggest surprise we made without a single accident. Fair play to the bus driver; Stig if you read this: You got competition.

Covered in sweat which was mainly fear rather than the heat I left the bus at a dusty road that apparently served as the local bus station. My backpack at this stage was weighing a ton. After I had searched for so long in Guatemala City just to get a few beer I had panicked and bought loads.

12 small cans normally isn’t much but with my jet leg and everything I got nowhere near drinking them. I hate to leave beer behind so I packed them. With the 8 cans of beer I had left over my backpack now was seriously heavy. I was in no mood for a long walk.

I picked a hotel close to the bus station. My first choice didn’t bother to open the door so I went for the place just next to it. It was basic but at the end of the day all I needed; a bed. Time to explore the city.

Antigua; allegedly it is one of the prettiest cities in Guatemala. In many ways it reminded me of San Cristobal in Mexico which I quite liked. Antigua however I didn’t although it is difficult to put a finger on it why.

I do admit though that when I first arrived I was a little disappointed. Everything was just a little bit smaller than I expected but that’s not it. The town really is pretty but there is something missing.

Antigua is full of beautiful houses in warm earthy colours, impressive ruins that used to be churches or monasteries, the setting is stunning the least to say, cobblestone roads, a smoking volcano is dominating the scene. There are awesome restaurants, bars, everything you could ask for, still I didn’t like the place. It has no soul.

Where San Cristobal is awesome, vibrant and charming Antigua is just a show off. Antigua is the perfect place to send a bunch of tourists that want to “see Guatemala” but as far as I am concerned, a day trip would have been a better choice. Fair play to the guy from the Hotel Spring; he told me so.

Antigua Volcano

Antigua Volcano

I have to give Antigua some credit though. The setting is spectacular. The town is surround by mountains and the volcanos are just awesome. One of them is actually emitting smoke which I in a way find cool. The city was destroyed a few times by major earthquakes and yet people came back despite the fact that the there is an active volcano. You can climb it – which I won’t – and judging by the pictures it has lava and everything. It makes you understand why the city was abandoned in the first place. Today’s Antiguans are either crazy or desperate or greedy. I’d go for the latter.

The whole purpose of the city now seems to be making a quick buck. I went to an “Irish Pub” called Reilly’s and I swear to god, it was as packed and as expensive as an Irish pub in Dublin. It even had Guinness paintings at the walls (but no Guinness), the only difference was that you could smoke in this pub. Crazy!

There are some really beautiful spots in Antigua and if it wasn’t for the screaming kids that ruined them for me I probably would have enjoyed them. The best thing I can say about the city is that I didn’t see anyone pissing in broad daylight. It’s not a bad place or anything, it just isn’t me. I’m looking forward to move on.


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