Colonial Streets, Clouds of Incence, and Rowena!

Trip Start Dec 08, 2004
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Trip End Dec 07, 2005


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Thursday, March 3, 2005

We planned to stay in Antigua for 2 days, 2 and a bit weeks later we left!

We decided to take a break from the travelling scene for a bit and kick back and enjoy this beautiful city for a while.

Antigua is overflowing with colonial architecture and beautifully detailed churches on streets where houses are coloured in ochre shades and topped with terracotta tiles. It is also a city of ruins due to a series of earthquakes that have hit it over the centuries. Agua Volcano towers above the city to the south, and the active volcano of Fuego lies to the west, you can see the lava glowing and spluttering on a clear night.

We were lucky enough to arrive for the famous Semana Santa processions:

Semana Santa is a spectacular display of religous ritual and floral design. Through billowing clouds of incense, accompanied by music, processions of floats carried by purple robed men make their way through town.

The cobbled stones are covered in carpets of flowers known as alfombras, made up of coloured sawdust and flowers.

The floats or andas as they are called here, are topped by colonial sculptures of the cross carrying christ. The andas are carried by 80 a team of 80 men (curruchos) who heave and sway their way through the town for up to 12 hours, they do however rotate at every block, because the floats are so heavy.

The processions arranged by a religous brotherhood (cofradia), are accompanied by banner and incence carriers, centurion roman soldiers and loud brass bands.
They also run the processions at night with all the floats lit up, and a little generator on a wheel barrow is pushed behind!


We also watched films in cafe bars, watched the sunset behind the active volcano of Fuego from Cafe Sky, we climbed to the cross overlooking the town, we scrambled over the many ruins of Antigua, we played pool and drank far to much beer in the english pub of Reds and we bumped into Rowena!

Rowena is a friend of Tashas from England. They worked together for a term at Reynalds Cross School. Tash had heard sometghing about Rowena being in Central America but had no idea where or when. On our first night we bumped into her at Reds! Rowena has been working as a volunteer for a project that educates the local children for 6 months and has now moved to Ecuador to set up a similar project. We hope to see her again there!

We also made lots of other good friends in Antigua, including Scotty the Bush lover from the USA who spent 3 years cycling around the world and is now riting abook about it, Peter (said with strong N. Irish accent) from Belfast, Rory from Glastonbury, Jen and Matt from Aus & NZ, Kaan from England, Jono the Aussie at Reds and many others at Reds and the various night spots around Antigua.

Well thats about it from Antigua, now we are back on the road and travelling through El Salvador, updates to follow shortly.
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