Monday, July 11, 2011

Antigua, Guatemala

Beautiful church
The Hogar missionary group :) Rebekah (far right) was another missionary at the Hogar and she joined us for the outing
Delicious pizza and Coca-Cola lunch
Much of the city of Antigua is ruins
Shirts hanging in a market
Taking a break from shopping
Classic McDonalds
Streets of Antigua are all cobblestones
A candle making shop
Sam at Santo Domingo
Parrots at the Santo Domingo hotel!

A highlight of being in Guatemala was going to Antigua for the day! I went there in 2006 but only for a few hours and really didn't have the opportunity to explore much, so it was like seeing everything for the first time. Mother Maria was our exceptional tour guide and she showed us all the best parts of this historic city. We started at the Santo Domingo hotel, built in the 1400's as a monastery, destroyed by natural disasters in the 1700's, and reconstructed into a hotel in 1989. They maintained as much as possible the original structures so that it has an old look and feel, but it was a beautiful tropical oasis! I loved the parrots everywhere!

After that, we walked around the city shopping and taking in the sights. It was very cloudy so we unfortunately could not see the top of the volcano that sits outside the city (Volcan Agua) but it was perfect cloud-cover so that we didn't get too burned in the sun! Ha! We enjoyed a delicious pizza lunch at "Quesos y Vinos" ~ much needed food after mucho black beans and rice! I don't know if it was because I hadn't had pizza for a long time or if it really was that good, but it was the best pizza I've ever had!! I would love to have a piece right now as I write this :)

We finished off our sightseeing day with a quick stop at the Monastery Lavra Mambre on Lake Amatitlan to visit Mother Ines and show Sam where the nuns live when not at the Hogar. It's always a relaxing, peaceful part of any trip. We stayed just long enough to check on the progress of Hogar San Miguel (a new orphanage the nuns are building at the monastery) and climb on top of the church for a great lake view. It was a wonderful day and everyone enjoyed seeing a little more of Guatemala. Isabel had a great time being with us outside the orphanage...although she enjoyed too much pizza, chocolate, and coke and got sick in the car on the way back to the Hogar :( Poor thing!

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