I think I'll try to make this more of a photo blog... and let the pictures speak for themselves. But there are so many... I put them in a Picasa photogallery type thing... or you can also click on the link at the end of the blog. Enjoy!
And for those that would like a bit of history... just a bit... here it is. When the Spanish were staking their claim on this region, what we now think of as Central America was considered a single administrative area. They kept moving the capital city, the first site because of a revolt, the second site was abandoned when a crater lake atop a volcano released a mud slide during an earthquake so Antigua, then called Santiago de los Caballeros became, the third. But it's called Antigua now because it's the "old" capital... it moved again to present day Guatemala City when two earthquakes convinced people that this wasn't a great spot either. Antigua was founded as the Capital in 1543! - that's like 50 years after Columbus stakes a claim on the Americas! The Spaniards were busy! If you remember your colonial history... the Spanish quickly conquered Mexico, Central and South America... in conflict with the indigenous people (in this area... the Mayan). And they brought the usual European exports of the time, disease and their own religion. So Antigua, as the capital, was the place for the Franciscans Jesuits, and a whole whack of other Catholic Orders to establish nice big churches, monasteries convents and Universities. It thrived until the town was abandoned after two major major earthquakes the second one in 1779. In fact, people were required to leave and for about 100 years it was just a broken down abandoned town. At the turn of the century... people started to re-build. For the most part Antigua has been perserved with it's original character ( it's recognized as a World Heritage site), so the cobbled streets and colonial architecture remain. New buildings must be renovated and rebuilt according to strict guidelines. The influx of tourists, spanish language students, Christian groups and Guatemalans visiting from the city (Antigua is only 30 minutes from Guatemala City) keeps the town prosperous. The spanish colonial architecture, presence of the Religious Order and the volcanic and earthquake activities... have all left their mark on Antigua. The Mayan remain and their culture is still very vibrant and alive and evident mostly by the colourful traditional clothing the women wear (hand weaved tops called "huipiles" and cotton weaved skirts and sometimes fancy head dresses as well.) And to top it all off, Antigua is in a agriculturally rich valley surrounded by three volcanos making it so picturesque. This really is a beautiful place.