My lodging, Casa Elena in Antigua, turned out to be a beautiful, relaxing bed and breakfast, and the owners Harvey and Diane are awesome folks. I was treated to a fantastic dinner at their hands and enjoyed hearing stories of their international travels. Harvey is a BMW MOA ambassador and a wealth of information. They were leaving the next morning to fly back to Vermont to pick up a new F800GS Adventure to ride back on a leisurely trip south.
Just as they were about to leave the next morning, Harvey got a call from a Canadian couple who'd been robbed at gunpoint on the road south of Lake Atitlan the same day I'd ridden the north side to Antigua. They were on a motorcycle trip to South America and were asking if they could get help with information on where to ship the bike home. Harvey said the road they'd taken was well known for getting robbed. They were due in that afternoon and Harvey wanted me to know they were arriving.
The old town of Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes, one of which is still active but it has not been making noise lately. I'm hoping for a clearer day to see all three, as the rainy season has covered the area with mist and overcast skies.
I walked the streets of the crumbling town, passing ruins of churches destroyed in earthquakes from the past. It had been the capitol city of Guatemala but after a big quake destroyed the town, the government moved to Guatemala City. The town is active and there are a few tourists, but in the old section it is not as frenetic as other places I've been. The friendliness of the people who speak and acknowledge you on the street with a smile still surprises me. I do realize that I'm viewed as the gold-plated arse that spews silver coinage to those with anything to sell, but there is a genuineness in the warmth of the people who aren't working the gringo.
The niche for a saint symbolically above the Mayan pyramid
The massive mahogany floats used in Santa Semana. It takes fifty people to carry each, twenty five per side