On our first morning in Antigua, we woke up to noisy birds outside of our rental villa we were sharing with our new friends from A King’s Life. It’s amazing to me how easy it is to be instant friends with someone you have never met in person before. We had recently chatted online and read each other’s blogs, but the previous day was the first time we had met the King family! We were instant friends! We spent the night before walking through the city and getting some street eats.
This morning we packed up our combined 5 kids and wandered over to the Antigua Market. WOW is all that I could use to explain it! It is the largest indoor market we have come across in our travels, so far…which is to say it is BIG! First we found the food, and we immediately regretted eating junk food at a joint just 10 minutes prior. Endless delicious dishes stared us in the face!
We kept wandering through the narrow isles, trying to keep our children from disappearing among the crowds of people and booths. We picked up some freshly-sliced mangos and cucumbers (and immediately found ourselves missing our Mexican staple of limes and chili sauce…where was it in Guatemala?!).
Loved the little children hanging around their parent’s booths in their traditional clothing!
We continued on our way and found the rows and rows of produce in a more open part of the market.
We entered the far end of the market, which was wide and open and filled with flowers. We sat down to rest, and waited for our friends from Discover Share Inspire to arrive after ditching their broken-down truck and catching a chicken bus to meet us at the market (read about their day here)!
We set off now as a large group of 6 nomadic adults and 10 children, plodding the wide cobblestone streets of Antigua.
We walked through the main plaza in Antigua, and marveled at the pro-nursing fountain (look closely)…
We found a group working on a sawdust carpet in preparation of the Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) celebrations and processions that would happen later that night. We marveled in the detail the artists put into these temporary murals that carpeted the streets.
They occasionally watered down the carpets to keep them from blowing away!
Are these carpets not STUNNING?! Made from pine needles, fresh flowers, saw dust, fruit, and sometimes even sand!
Wow—a family shot where everyone is LOOKING! A miracle!
We next toured through ruins of old chapels and buildings that had been destroyed in earthquakes in Antigua’s history. As individual families, we stand out plenty among the sea of dark heads and dark skin in this part of the world…but as a large group of gringos, we certainly made heads turn even more than usual!
This old chapel was constructed in 1545, then demolished 1668, then reconstructed in 1669 and then destroyed in an earthquake in 1773! It stands side-by-side, among all of the other buildings in Antigua, still bearing its empty ceilings (domes that collapsed) and beautiful fine details that have lasted 240 years so far!
The ice cream guys!
Other street-side snacks…
Water? Skip the bottles…it comes bagged here!
Pretty soon we found ourselves hungry again, so we stopped for some snacks in a small, seemingly forgotten (and grassless) park that had a large crowd growing nearby to watch a reenactment of the trial of Jesus before his crucifixion.
While we ate, the babies played in the dirt. Before we knew it, a large group had circled our fair-skinned babies and was snapping photos of them like they were a larger attraction than the costumed men on horses!
One woman came up to me and proceeded to warn me about how dirty the dirt was, and that I really needed to clean him up (which we did to the best of our ability–eventually). We wondered–how dirty can the dirt REALLY be? It’s dirt!
Maybe we should have listened? Ethan ended up throwing up all night…but was over it by the next day. I guess locals know what they’re talking about 😉
We had such a fantastic day with wonderful friends who have been some of our closest confidants in the past year!
I love these people! It is so important to be with people who build you up, challenge you to grow and improve, and share your ideals.
To end the day we took the truck-less (homeless) Dennings back to our shared villa for the night! We made room for them, and happily celebrated Rachel’s birthday in style!
The biggest celebrations for Semana Santa would be starting in the wee hours of the next morning, and would bring with it sights and sounds that will never be diminished from our memories!
Coming soon…I promise!