Start: March 10, Antigua
Finish: March 16, Antigua
Volcano Eruptions Witnessed: 2
Delicious Last Suppers: 1
Gallons of Curry Cooked: 3
It's hard to believe our time in Antigua and San Miguel Escobar has come to an end. Seven weeks of delicious home-cooked meals, Spanish lessons and afternoons volunteering at the GV office. We met a bunch of awesome people. This last week has been about saying goodbye to them and to the city that has been our home away from home.
It has been very nice to take a break from the road; packing and unpacking camp, cooking every night, driving every other day. But I'm not going to lie, we're all looking forward to getting this show back on the road after saying our farewells.
One of the best things about our home in San Miguel Escobar was the rooftop terrace. Perfect for kicking back after an afternoon of laboring in the sun, or doing Spanish homework after dinner. On our third-to-last day Volcan de Fuego sent up this ash cloud, showing more activity than we'd come to expect. We've seen the glow of the lava at night from the crater, but never in our lives have we witnessed something like this.
On our last weekend in Antigua we decided to hit a few sights we'd skipped over. The biggest being el Cerro de la Cruz, or the Hill of the Cross. The cross stands on a hill overlooking Antigua, and although we'd seen it nearly every day we've yet to make the hike to the top.
From the top of the hill you can see the entirety of the city of Antigua with Volcan de Agua (Water Volcano) in the background. Volcan de Agua got its name from a natural disaster that occurred in the 1500s. Following an earthquake, the water-filled crater collapsed and unleashed an epic flood completely destroying the town of San Miguel Escobar, then capital of Guatemala. As a result, the country's capital was moved to Guatemala City.
Click the above for a larger panorama of Antigua. Our language school is somewhere on the far left, and our bus stop somewhere on the far right. You can just barely see San Miguel Escobar far in the distance to the right, at the base of Volcan de Agua.
That night Jessica and Kobus went back to Antigua to check out that weekend's procession. We were told the best time to see a procession was at night, as they pass through the central square. This is definitely true thanks to the way the procession is lit up, but the hordes of people make it tough to get around. For more info about the significance of these processions, check out our previous article about Antigua.
On Thursday, three days before leaving town, we had our final day of Spanish lessons. The last half of the morning we took our teachers to a nearby cafe for coffee and cake to say thanks. Above is Kobus with his teacher Claudia, Jessica with her teacher Gladis and me with my teacher Olga.
All three are spectacular teachers, we learned an incredible amount that will be (and already has been) immensely helpful while we travel. Not only did they teach us Spanish, but they gave us a glimpse of their lives and of the culture of Guatemala. For anyone out there looking to take Spanish classes in Central America, definitely pay the extra money for one-on-one lessons. It's well worth it.
On our second-to-last day in San Miguel Escobar we cooked up a giant pot of Kobus' special chicken curry for the folks at the Global Visionaries office. Served the Guatemalan way, with a one-foot stack of freshly made tortillas. It was a big hit!
Aurelio, the man in charge, chows down on some cake.
Jessica, Melissa, Kobus and I bought a small parting gift for the office. A custom-made metal sign with the GV logo that they can hang in front of their building.
Our last night at home with our Guatemalan family we ate a specially prepared meal, part traditional Guatemalan food and part delicious bean soup. We had fried plantains, black beans (the brown log-looking thing at the bottom of the photo), cheese, spicy pickled veggies, chicken and white bean soup and of course, tortillas. Delicious! I think given everything we've seen and done in our seven weeks in Antigua we will miss Faviola's cooking the most.
Our Guatemalan host family - Faviola and Saul with their daughter Andrea. We couldn't have asked for a better time and a more kind and hospitable family. Saying goodbye was tough, but I'm sure we'll be back some day.
Up next: We head back on the road, up to the northern highlands of Guatemala to revisit Lanquin and then to the caves of the Candelaria.