From Lake Atitlan to Antigua

We were sad to leave the beautiful Casa Palopo. The view of the lake with a mountain ridge encircling it is not to be duplicated in the hotels we’ll be staying for the rest of the trip. The hotel’s interior is painstakingly decorated with refined local art and crafts. The little touches, the tiles, the stenciled walls, the colors, and the local ceramics and crafts are clearly selected with utmost care. The day we left we found out that the hotel was awarded Relais&Chateaux membership. Well deserved!
We spent the morning lounging on our private patio, gazing at the volcanos, and watching hummingbirds fly by. In the afternoon, we set off for Antigua. En route, we stopped at the ruins of one of the last Mayan cities built in the 1470’s only to be destroyed by the Spaniards 50 years later. The ruins are still considered to be hallowed ground by the native people, and different tribes come here to perform their sacred rituals. I had a mixed sense of serenity and unease there – either there was really something sacred on the ground or ’twas the spirits of all the people sacrificed on the altars here 500 years ago.
On dusty roads, through dusty villages, on we drove toward the best preserved colonial city in the Americas, Antigua. Antigua was the main reason I came to Guatemala. I saw it first on my guilty pleasure program, House Hunters International, and fell in love. On the first glimpse, though, it disappointed. Starting with the hotel we are staying at: it has the same floors as Casa Palopo, similar tiles, seemingly similar walls, furniture, ceilings, doors… It’s a beautiful hotel, but… Is it that the taste level is slightly off? Or is it because the hotel is distinctly Spanish, while Casa Polopo was distinctly Guatemalan? Casa Polopo was decorated with Guatemalan art, antiques, ceramics, figurines, while the only figurines here are of saints, the art on the walls is …dark. It’s authentically Spanish colonial, but I clearly prefer Guatemalan!
The city itself – I really shouldn’t judge yet. It was dark and deserted. Let’s see what the morning light will bring.

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