The city was founded in 1543, and was originally the capital of Guatemala, but the place seemed to be prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. So in 1776 they finally decided that this may not be the best place to put a major city, so they abandoned the town and moved the capital to Guatemala City. Antigua, Guatemala is popular with tourists, both the rich and the backpackers. The place looks clean and prosperous. The only buildings that I saw that were over one story, were buildings constructed over two centuries ago.
Most of the old buildings were churches, several of them repurposed into hotels. The exposed foundations show a signature mixture of bricks and basalt.
Volcanos loom over the city in all directions,
and the streets are paved with chunks of basalt.
We visit a candle making shop and a jade workshop.
The hotel room has a mirror, but not over the sink. If I was still into shaving, this would have been rather awkward.
There was a dresser and TV stand, but no desk or chairs, and no decorations on the wall. It had a modern shower, but low fired brick tiles on the floor that leave your feet more gritty after you shower than before. On the other hand it has the best sheets of any place I stayed in Guatemala.
Ah the joys of early morning flights. I got up at three thirty AM to get the taxi to the airport. Upon arriving at the airport I discover to my surprise that I have a Business Class ticket. This explains why my one way was more expensive than my canceled round trip. So this morning I am at last qualified for admission to the Merida Airport VIP lounge. I get to sit in a comfy seat and have a morning cerveza. All set for my new adventures.
Generally there is not much to see outside the window, but on this trip, there are some interesting clouds this morning and a view of a volcano sending out smoke in Guatemala. Whenever I see an active volcano, it is always a reminder to me as to how volatile is this seemingly stable planet we call Earth.
When landing at Guatemala one can not help but notice that the local Maya dress differently and have different facial features than the Maya of the Yucatán. Welcome to a new country. (I believe Guatemala is my country #41 for those of you who are keeping score.) I meet up with the rest of the eight members of our tour group from the Institute of Maya Studies. On our first day in Guatemala City we visit the archaeology museum. There are some excellent pieces here and there is a scale model of Tikal that gives a wonderful overview. Our hotel is in the swanky part of town with green marble sidewalks and American chain restaurants. I go for local food and have some turkey soup.