Our jet-setting days are over for the time being, but whenever I hear the Aussie dollar has risen in value, I think about one of my favourite places in the world: Antigua, the old capital of Guatemala.
We spent two happy weeks here before getting married and having children. It was our honeymoon, I guess, and one of the most romantic places in the world to spend with the one you love.
Antigua is has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it has so many examples of Spanish Baroque architecture. As such, there are strict rules governing the appearance of shops and other buildings, including a ban on neon signs! In fact, we actually had a meal at the McDonald’s there as it was the most beautiful fast food restaurant we’d ever seen!
If you can speak a bit of Spanish, you will be fine there, although the indigenous people still speak their language and wear traditional dress: hand-woven brightly coloured skirts. They also produce a lot of handicrafts too which make lovely souvenirs.
You can study Spanish at one of several schools, or learn some salsa steps, as we did. You can also take historical tours around the area. While the city itself is beautifully preserved, once you go a few kilometres outside it you begin to see the signs of poverty. If we ever go back there, we’d like to volunteer in some way in the local community.
We’d like to take our children to see Antigua one day. But until then I will have to satisfy myself with drinking Guatemalan coffee, which I believe grows on Volcán de Agua nearby.
- Antigua Guatemala Wikipedia entry.
- Antigua Guatemala Facebook page. Check here to see lots of beautiful pictures and keep up with what’s on in the city.
- Antigua Tours homepage. This company was founded by Elizabeth Bell, who has written several books and is an authority on the history of Antigua.
So what’s your magic faraway place?