We arrived in Antigua Guatemala on Friday night, having moved here for my freelance travel writing work, and spent the weekend wandering around in awe of this beautiful city.
Once the capital of Spanish Guatemala, it was ravaged so many times by earthquakes that after the 1773 biggie the colonial government ordered everyone to abandon Antigua and move to Guatemala City. It is our good fortune that many inhabitants ignored the decrees and began to rebuild the city into what was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
The town is full of Baroque-style colonial buildings, cobblestone roads, houses painted blue and yellow and pink, all one or two story so that wherever you are in town so you can see the surrounding volcanoes. VolcÃ¡n de Agua, VolcÃ¡n de Acatenango and VolcÃ¡n de Fuego are all active and the volcano of Fire has been smoking quite a bit since we’ve been here. It feels relaxed and safe, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere that embraces tacos stands and western coffee shops, indigenous women in traditional dress and ex-pats in flip-flops. It also feels a bit too civilized, a perfectly preserved and continually maintained shelter from the harsher realities of everyday life, for both workers and travellers. I suspect that this bubble will burst once we get on the road to discover the rest of Guatemala.
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