Posts Tagged With: Antigua

Day 221: Adios, Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 24th

Our last day in Antigua, we felt like we had to explore some parts of the city we never wandered…. and we were glad we did.

We saw the church ruins that, despite the complete facade over looking the central square, the rest of it is actually in shambles. Built and rebuilt twice in the 1700s when Antigua was the capital city of this country, the final earthquake forced the government to relocate, and left this church untouched in shambles. The main columns have stood the test of time, or at least repaired, leaving the sky to blanket the roof like a surreal painting. We also went underground into the crypt, and the dark, damp, musky interiors of an empty crypt was not too great, especially just finishing the novel Angels & Demons no too long ago. Wandering into 3 more churches, we called it a day.

After having the best tasting smoothie EVER (fresh, tree-ripen fruit will probably do that), we grabbed a quick beer with one of our house-mates we bumped on the streets. Dinner was fun and delicious, as we bumped into the owner of this gourmet ice-cream shop we chatted with another time. Apparently he also runs this restaurant, and his disarming personality and interesting menu lured us in. Jiajia had a pizza that’s not yet on the menu and which the owner named Wendy (yes, the pizza is called Wendy!), and Alan had the Unicorn Steak (literally)…. hilarious! We finished our meal, walked outside and as we were sitting at the steps of a cafe reminiscing about this city, fireworks lit up the sky, as if it was the city’s way of saying good bye and farewell….

Antigua may not be the ‘perfect’ location as a tourist short on time, but for us this place has captivated our hearts. A small city that you can walk from corner to corner in about 20minutes, it has all the amenities of a big city and delicious coffee+chocolate, world-wide cuisine, cozy coffee shops and anything you’d want. The rest of Guatemala is also at your fingertips, if you’re willing to do some traveling. The people here are amazingly friendly and you never know who you’ll bump into or what will chance out of these meetings.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Antigua and couldn’t recommend it enough….if you have at least 2 weeks time and want to learn some Spanish at 1 of 60 language schools!

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Day 220: Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 23rd

Alan finally recovered, and Jiajia skipped classes as well to “take care of Alan”, which really felt like an excuse to not go to class as well. !!??!!

Feeling better, we booked our itinerary for the upcoming leg of the journey! We’ll be doing a week long scuba session to get our certifications, which requires a bit more physical exertion and was important nobody is sick for this.

We also had some really, really delicious crepe sitting atop a cozy little rooftop terrace. We’re not sure where Antiguenos learn how to cook, but they sure cook well.

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Day 219: Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 22nd

Not recovering fast enough in time for school (intentional? Haha), Alan spent the day sleeping in bed while Jiajia toughed it out and went ahead to class.

After about 36hrs of sleep, Alan finally recovered, with some lingering bouts of vertigo coming out of nowhere. For health reasons, Alan is indefinitely refrained from touching any more educational materials.

house party!

house party with awesome friends!

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Day 218: Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 21st

 wanted to make the most out of our last week in Antigua and to do so, we upped our hours of study to 8hrs a day! From 8-12, then after a 2hr lunch break, 2-6pm.

It’s been a long time since we’ve been in a classroom setting, and I can honestly say it was EXTREMELY TIRING. Alan kept looking at his watch waiting for the next recess or until end of class. The material started to get difficult as well, with all these strange verb conjugations and uses.

After class, Alan felt the same as after coming out of an 6hr SOA exam…except dizzier. After a strange dinner with a bowl of soup, purple yams with a sweet orange glaze, it was washed down with some luke-warm chocolate (it wasn’t hot chocolate). Dinner didn’t really sit well, and within a few hours of lying down, Alan was throwing up and coming down with the fever…. 

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Day 214: Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 17th

We’re picking up our stuff in class, and if people speak without any slang and slowly, we can pickup about 40% of what they want to say, which is pretty awesome considering we’ve only been here a week!

And everyday, between 2-4pm the school also hosts an assorted array of activities, and today was a visit to the chocolate museum!! Guatemala, and especially Antigua, is a haven for chocolate and coffee lovers, as the country produces a lot of both, and savvy business people are marketing them very well.

The chocolate museum, was definitely a front for the chocolate factory, but they did a darn good job at making it all very fun and delicious! The ‘learning’ part of the museum trip took a little less than 20minutes, as you walk through a single room with facts and information about chocolate and it’s history, as well as several artifacts showing ‘ancient’ ways of extracting cocoa from the beans. All this learning was done as you are sipping on a bit of chocolate tea brewed in house. Yes, chocolate tea!!! And it just so happens you can also buy some as souvenirs too in the shop, those sly bastards =P

We took the chance and signed up for a “make your own hot chocolate” session, which was great fun and wonderfully delicious! Just like how the Mayans used drink chocolate, they added chilies to spice things up!

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Day 213: Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 16th

It’s been a LONG time, but today was a field trip day!! Every Wed/Fri is ‘practical’ studies, and you get to wander the streets of Antigua visiting different places to listen and speak Spanish. Alan was pretty psyched about not having to go to class!!!

We visited a Mayan museum and a coffee museum. We learned quite a bit despite the small stature of the Mayan museum, but because there was a guide and our Espanyol was so great, we heard most of what we needed to hear. Having a guide makes visiting museums so much better!! The coffee museum was pretty cool as it was actually a functioning coffee producer, so while it was more like a front for it to sell more coffee, it was very enjoyable and you did learn a lot about producing coffee!

One thing to note, after speaking with our home stay, it seems like things took a much better turn as our breakfast was an omelet!! Lunch was even better, with an actual chunk of meat!! We almost cried!! No jokes man, it’s never happened where for an extended period of time we were constantly feeling hungry!! Dinner though was a ginormous upset, with nothing but a bowl of rice soup with some spinach inside, and a drizzle of cream. AAHHH!!

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Day 212: Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 15th

Went to class and did homework!!!!

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Day 211: Antigua – Guatemala – Jan 14th

Going to class, you realize how much time you have when we used to be in school, and also how easy it is to spend all that time so quickly. Time really flies when you’re studying!

As mentioned, our school organizes activities from Monday to Thursday every week, and the activities change for anyone and everyone. Today, there was a tour to walk up the hills to a viewing point which overlooks the city of Antigua. The walk up was notorious for robberies and muggings, but now the city has implemented tourist police to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore. The city of Antigua feels very safe, but at times you are reminded by the massive assault rifles people are holding that, the country may not be all fun and games.

And other than that, our days are rather mundane. Learning Spanish though, is very difficult for us, especially Alan who has no understanding of grammar at all. It’s amazing that he managed to get by ANY form of education system with so little knowledge of grammar! It doesn’t help that French and Spanish have mucho similarities, and it’s quite hard not to revert back to the French that was drilled into your head (and have mostly forgotten) for almost 10 years.

Our home stay, despite being an extremely lovely house run by an extremely lovely lady, is a bit of an irony. The house is amazing and has Wi-Fi (which most don’t have), but the hot water doesn’t always work! We’ve had to take bucket showers from boiled water using the gas stove…haha old school. Another oddity is that, the lady is an AMAZING cook, but despite she never cooks any protein and we’re always hungry!!!!!! Need to talk to the owner about this!

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