One of the things I really love about my profession is that it allows me ample opportunity to do the thing I love the most: travel! I had the opportunity to visit Guatemala in August 2009 as part of a dental relief mission and I have to say, I’m totally sold on the experience. Helping people? Check. Visiting remote parts of the globe? Check. Enough time off to make a vacation out of it? Check. It’s an all-around win!
On this trip, we spent 5 days in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, a city known for its outdoor market and difficult-to-reach-by-car location. After those five days, we spent 3 more days relaxing and enjoying the city of Antigua. Although I had never heard of Antigua before, it’s only an hour outside of Guatemala city and quite the destination both in Latin America and for European travelers. The colonial influence is amazing, I was totally captivated by the beauty of this charming little town.
By far, the best part of being in Antigua was stumbling upon a cathedral in ruins. We were simply wandering the streets of the city trying to take in as much as we could, and spotted some ruins behind a fence. Once we turned a corner, we found that we could enter the ruins and look around (for a price, of course). Let me tell you, it was SO worth it! To this day, it’s one of my favorite travel experiences.
I can’t seem to find the name of it anywhere, but fortunately I took some pictures of signs posted and have dates:
This is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever stepped into. Despite the ruin and open ceiling, it still had the feeling of a church.
It was really difficult to capture the beauty and grandeur of this place, the pictures don’t even do it justice. It was breathtaking. We spent an hour or so exploring the ruins and taking photos before we had to leave and meet the group for dinner. On our way to the restaurant, we were greeted with this beautiful sight:
The peak is obscured by the clouds, but this is one of the many volcanos overlooking the city of Antigua: Volcan de Agua. Which reminds me…. volcano hiking is another popular activity in Antigua, but that story is just going to have to wait for another Tuesday!