Guatemala, Travels
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Guatemala I – Antigua

I arrive in Guatemala on a propeller plane and head straight to Antigua. It is love at first sight with this beautiful town, with it’s cobbled stone streets, ruins and amazing colours and textiles of the Maya population.

Gua_street1_webThe women here wear the traditional and colourful clothing. The square-cut blouse is called huipil or güipil, the long skirts are called corte, and this is held up by a woven belt called faja. Every region has it’s own distinctive pattern and colour combinations. As a designer I go totally bonkers of delight. The vibrant colours and the intricate patterns of the textiles are so inspiring and I enjoy people watching more than ever here.

Gua_church_webI like the whole feeling of this old town with it’s beautiful buildings in Spanish baroque style, which used to be Spain’s colonial capital before it was severely destroyed by earthquakes in 1773 and the new capital was moved to a safer place, which is where Guatemala City is situated now.

Gua_ruin_webThe town is dotted with ruins that remain from the earthquakes.

Gua_aqua_webThe volcanoes that surround the town are beautiful and are a stunning backdrop. This is the Volcán de Aqua. But they are also a reminder of the unpredictability of nature here.

Gua_volcano_webThe volcano Fuego, Volcán de Fuego, is constantly active. When I’m here it’s spewing smoke and has lava running down its sides. It’s kind of scary to have this sight from ones very own bedroom window!

Gua_mywindow_webSaying that I thoroughly enjoy my stay with Rafa and his wife Agustina in their delightful and friendly small hotel, Casa del Arco, close to the historic Arch, that connect two parts of and old convent. Thanks to long and interesting talks with Rafa I learned a lot about the richness of this town and of interesting places to see. This is my small balcony overlooking the cobbled street.

Gua_street2_webThe Arch is just a little further along the street from where I’m staying. Horse and carriage are not an unusual sight here.

Gua_street7_webWomen selling textiles is another common sight.

Gua_street4_webThe beautiful square with it’s park is just a few steps from my hotel.

Gua_artist_webStrolling around town I come upon an artist at work.

Gua_chickenbus_webBehind the market is where you find the chicken buses. I thought that they were going to be rather ramshackle and run down but how wrong wasn’t I? On the contrary, they are lovingly polished and cared for and adorned and pimped with all kinds of imaginative decorations. Didn’t have the nerve to go in one myself though after I seeing the sports car driving technique these drivers use.

Gua_streetstall_webA Street stall at the bus station making the typical flat corn bread.

Gua_street5_webThe women wear the traditional clothing but the men usually wear western clothes and a hat like this one.

Gua_street6_webThe sun is setting in Antigua. Tomorrow I’m leaving this pretty town for San Marcos.

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer

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