Antigua, Guatemala is a simple and beautiful historical town. I walked on my own, viewing the history, but eventually decided to take a very informative 3 hour walking tour with Elizabeth Bell, who has made her home in Guatemala since 1969, owns Antigua Travel and pours her energy, support and encouragement into preserving the antiquities of this city of around 40,000 people. In 2011 Elizabeth won the Gold “Diego de Porres” Award for 42 years of Preservation Efforts in Antigua. It was thrilling, as a student of history, to see on her tour what she and others have done to keep history alive for us visitors to Antigua.
We met at the fountain in the Central Park and visited the City Hall Palace, the Palace of the Captain’s General, the Cathedral with its majestic ruins, the Mayan Jade Museum and other museums in town at the Paseos de los Museos.
I did spend a lot of time alone in Antigua and was blessed to meet a 21 year resident of Antigua, Deet, who is a massage therapist and knows everyone in town. I joined her and a large group of English speaking women for dinner one night. Several of us took a pick up truck up into the mountains above Antigua the next day and got a closer view of the three volcanoes. You can see puffs of smoke from the volcanoes at different times and, at night, I saw the red glow from one of volcanoes. We had lunch at the Earth Lodge, which is a resort and avocado farm.
I left Antigua yesterday morning and spent the night in Mexico City at the Quaker House. Tonight I arrive in Houston and look forward to seeing the first of many good Texas friends. I travel for the next 7 weeks or so to Austin, New Orleans, Memphis and Oregon, to celebrate my birthday with dancing (what else?). I leave at the end of April for Bali and my yearlong trip around the world. I anticipate visiting many more intentional communities and seeing if and how they differ by country.
Y’all would be amazed how little I have danced, not by choice, since I left San Miguel de Allende. Austin, here I come!