Antigua is the last Spanish colonial city left intact in Central America. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and now we understand why. It’s spectacularly beautiful. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, Antigua was the capital of Guatemala until the Volcano erupted, killing the Queen. The King, unquestionably upset, moved the capital city from Antigua to Guatemala City.
We came to Antigua for a few reasons. The first being that 2 other families were going to be there and we thought that it would be super-fun to be with them. And the second reason was to see if Antigua is where we want to move to once we are ready to move from Belize.
So far, we’ve been very impressed with the Guatemala we’ve seen. The roads are beautifully smooth, the streets are clean and the landscape is filled with small farms and volcanoes. A great start.
Antigua is Charm
As soon as we are dropped off in Antigua, we are engulfed with the aesthetic charm of its old world roots. The cobblestone streets, the glamorous architecture, the elegant blooming trees and the vibrant colors were an ideal greeting. Guatemala and Antigua are magnificent. Being here has totally blown away any old, unintentional stereotypes I’ve had of the country.
We walked down the rough cobblestone streets, occasionally jumping onto the narrow sidewalks and then jumping off of them to let others pass. On our way to our hotel, we passed glorious churches and beauteous ruins that gave a glimpse of just how magnificent this town was and still is.
Antigua is Sophisticated
I’m convinced that you can tell how sophisticated a town and its people are by the desserts.
Antigua does not disappoint. Pastry shops are filled with colorful cakes, sweets and other things that successfully tempted me more than once.
The people dress smartly and they walk with a sense of contentment on their faces. We strike up several conversations trying to find our way to a breakfast spot and our hotel. We received smart, educated answers, even to those simple questions. Oh, we are really starting to fall in love with this town. And then, the clincher…
We passed several seductive restaurants that had real table clothes and wine glasses on the table. Mr. King and I swoon over the gastronomic possibilities we would have if we moved here. Oh, how we miss going out to a nice dinner, feasting on delicious food and talking about business and dreams, without the interruption of a three year old or the squirming and dropping of glasses of Miss I. We would really enjoy the international restaurants here. And as a bonus to fine international cuisine, it was all so very reasonably priced ($3 for a hearty glass of wine).
Ahhh, I digress in my indulgence.
Living Outside of the Box
We had rented a 4 bedroom villa to share with our friends the Lybberts. The Lybberts has a fascinating background. They used to own a store in Alaska, where they spent 6 months of the year. After giving the store up, they moved to Mexico were they currently live. They are currently looking at Antigua as their next possible move, just like we are. I think it would loads of fun. They blog about their travels and adventures with kids at Living Outside of the Box.
This is our first time meeting them, but just like meeting the Dennings of Discover.Share.Inspire, there was an instant connection and ease and we spent the rest of the day touring the streets of Antigua, watching Semana Santa processions and eating street food.
The Market in Antigua
To say this market in Antigua is big is an understatement. This market is abundantly massive. The walkways are narrow, the stalls are filled with fruit, vegetables, seafood, chicken, meat, shoes, belts, flowers, toys, diapers…you name it, it’s at the market.
We walked around the market for a while, enamored at the variety and the prices.
And it’s all so very cheap. Yeah, we could certainly move here. We want to be near local, fresh produce that is inexpensive.
Deep red, sweet strawberries $0.40 US / lb.
Mangos 5 huge ones for $1.40
Huge bouquet of flowers: $0.80
16 oz of fresh juiced carrot: $1.00
Antigua is Tempting
We’re still up in the air of where to to move. Antigua is tempting and we had such a good time here that I hope to write about ….. stay tuned.