Eunice had sent out the replaced GPS, Jill's headset for the intercom and my replacement debit card by DHL to Antigua and it had been in their office for 8 days so we decided to go and explore Antigua, a world heritage site, and pick up the packet before they sent it back. I had been thinking that the way to explore Central and South America was by local transport as the bike is too big and heavy for the roads here so this was the perfect opportunity to see if this idea was feasible. For Q40 each we would be transported with 14 others + the driver the 4 hours to Antigua in a Toyota Hiace minibus. Although Antigua is only 58kms from San Pedro as the crow flies it is nearly 200kms as the Toyota minibus drives. Jill became whiter and whiter as the journey progressed, throwing up in the toilets when we stopped for a break 3 hours into the journey . As her feeling of nausea lasted the rest of the day I think it was something she ate rather then the winding roads. On arrival we found our hotel, La Casa Santa Lucia 1st or 3rd, which had beautiful views over the 'Iglesia y convento La Merced' and the Volcán de Agua which at 3766 meters dominated the horizon. We had planned to stay 4 night but due to the expense and 'Americaness' of the city we only stayed 3. So over the next couple of days we explored La Merced with it's beautiful stucco relief and fountain within the inner courtyard. All the building are built low and weighty to try and keep them standing during the earthquakes that have devastated Antigua over the centuries which gives them a very solid feel. The arch that was built as a nuns walkway with Volcan Agua behind. The Parque Major with the life giving waters coming from the ladies breasts. The 'Palacio de los Capitanes Generales' on the south side of the square whose interior was slowly being restored to it's former glory. The 'Palacio del Ayuntamiento' on the north side of the square giving great views of the parque and the Cathedral. The Cathedral ruins, destroyed by earthquake in 1773 still showing its magnificence and cutting a dash against the azul sky with a confusion of arches. The Nim Pot market that gave you a very good idea of what you should be paying for things. Coffee at the & coffee shop on 5a Avendia Norte, the only place we found that served decent coffee and with a touch. The other ruined Churches that stand as a monument to Antigua former glory and the 'Convento de Capuchinas' which didn't allow photos so I can't show you anything but was very interesting and had a very good exhibition of religious art with some very good explanations of the relationship between the Saints and the holy trinity. And finally the local market, as colourful and jam packed as ever
where we got a replacement coffee pot with strainer and a sticker of the Guatemalan flag. After 3 day we had had enough and spent 2 weeks budget so wandered down to the bus station to pick up a 'Chicken bus' back to San Pedro. The ride was eventful with 4 changes, someone sticking his hand in my back pocket trying to pull out my wallet (luckily I have a sensitive bum) Having a little Mayan girl asleep sitting on my knee for most of the way and the bus carrying 3 times as many people as there were seats, but everyone was sitting on someone or something. At times it felt like the nearside wheels had left the ground as the only person who could lean into the curve was the driver and he was swaying all over the place. A great ride but in the end cost the same as the tourist bus, took an hour longer but was far more fun. It was great to get back to San Pedro to find Nancy safe if still unwell where we will wait for the part to arrive at DHL, hopefully this week.