Guatemala

We spent a few days exploring the colonial city of Antigua de Guatemala…a city rich in history and architecture.  Interestingly, we rented a room from a lovely lady, instead of staying in a hotel.  It was a fun experience, and Lumia and I were actually able to communicate with my beginner’s spanish (and the help of our Costa Rican Spanish Phrase book…more on THAT later, LOL).

As you can see from the Wiki link, Antigua was demolished twice in the 1700’s, and although some of the historic buildings have been restored, there are amazing ruins throughout the city.  It’s a small city, actually, we walked most of it in our three days there.  Cobblestone streets are picturesque, but hard on the outside of your ankles/calves!

Street Fair, Easter Week ~ Antigua de Guatemala
Cobblestone Streets ~ Antigua de Guatemala

La Merced Church ~ Antigua de Guatemala

Restoration Continues, La Merced Church, Antigua

Old Ways and New Technology, Antigua

Church Ruin ~ Antigua de Guatemala

Detail of Ruin ~ Antigua de Guatemala

Magnificent Artisanship ~ Ruin in Antigua de Guatemala

One More...Because it was SO Beautiful!

Parque Central ~ Antigua de Guatemala

The Central Park is quite large and a gathering spot….we found a very modern internet cafe (with yummy coffee) on the west side of the plaza…across from the Antigua Cathedral.

On our return trip through Guatemala, we got lost once and were redirected by the postman, who sent us up a mountain road, where we were truly “off the beaten path”.  Then we drove a “local” road that was a high mountain pass.  The scenery was spectacular!  Although, some of the “road” was rather frightening, as the storm that caused the sinkhole in Guatemala City last month caused alot of damage throughout Central America….slides were everywhere.

XTerra ~ Perfect Vehicle for Mountain Roads

Mountain Trails

Rockslide

Up on the Mountain Top

Awesome Countryside

Truck on the Mountain Pass

And then, of course, we had our little “issue” in Guatemala.  It is a lovely place, the people are wonderful, but “la systema” is idiotic. 

Don’t let our little (mis)adventure put you off, though….Guatemala is a beautiful country.  But my advice to anyone who is considering driving there is to (1) research every single little vehicle rule, (2) quadruple check your paperwork; and (3) ask them to enter your information into the computer in front of you, then ask for a printout.

Upshot of the story, we suspect there is alot of corruption w/in the aduanas (cops) and that they do this sort of thing on purpose to ensure that the cops at the other end of the trip can demand a nice propina (tip) to let you get what you want….except when you run across an honest cop, you are the one who has the problem.  The man at the American Embassy said it was quite common for him to get calls regarding entrance/exit stamps being “missing”….as well as paperwork “snafus”. 

So….while we had a lovely time in Guatemala, for the most part….our new battle cry when we are grumpy or just annoyed is “AT LEAST WE’RE NOT IN GUATEMALA”!!!!

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