Travel far enough, you will find yourself.
First of all, sorry about these low quality photos of old photos processed from a one time processing throw away camera which is what I always brought with me on my trips before the days of cellphones. Anyway, this is myself with Farida and Rayhend, our older son, with our guides after we left the Jungle portion of the Volcán Pacaya climb. We are about to reach the cone of the volcano which can vaguely be seen through the steam behind us. Steam was constantly spewing out of the red glowing crater. This volcano is about 8,300 feet high which is about 2,500 meters. It is very close to Antigua where we stayed for about 5 days. Guatamala City is only about 20 miles northeast of here so a trip here from the capital city would even be an easy day trip. I suggest staying in Antigua though, because it is a cozy, beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site. Another reason we prefer Antigua is because it is only one and a half hours from Volcàn Pacaya.
We did not stay very long in Guatemala City. It is just a very large city with a population of about 3 million people. What you see is city block upon city block. They do have some wonderful churches to photograph though. They do have Plaza Mayor or Parque Central which is the same plaza. The Metropolitan Cathedral is located here and it has enough catholic themed sculptures and paintings to be considered a museum. There is also the Popol Vuh museum because this was a Mayan stronghold in pre Spanish times. There is also the National Palace where the president of Guatemala resided. This is now a museum but it is still used for political events. All roads lead from here and ground zero is at this location, much like ground zero at the Parvis of Notre Dame in Paris. The palace was built between January 1939 to 1943 and it is very impressive. While this impressive building was being built, the sight of Cathedral Metropolitana del Apostol Santiago had already been majestically imposing itself on the east side of the Parque Central since 1815. Parque Central de Guatemala is also known as the Plaza de la Consitucion besides Plaza Mayor.
Guatemala City was rather daunting for us because of its size so we explored only this neighborhood and that of the hotel where we stayed. We stayed in the city for only two nights because we were mainly interested in visiting Lake Atitlan (we stayed in Santiago Atitlan) and Antigua.
This extremely beautiful town was founded in 1542 and it is full of archetecural gems from its original colonial times. The population is about 47,000. It is located in the Central Highlands of Guatemala.
We are at the ruins of the Convent Santa Clara in Antigua. The convent was originally built around 1710. A good portion of the building still stands, including a very beautiful ornate facade. The convent was destroyed around 1717 by an earthquake and was rebuilt. Then it was severely damaged in 1773 after which it was abandoned.
An out of focus (what do you expect from a lover of impressionist art) photo of a volcano in the area of Lake Atitlán. There are several volcanoes in this area. We climbed Volcán Pacaya. Pacaya is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The hike up Volcán Pacaya begins in some lovely jungle that will be shown in the next photo. .
We are pretty much at the start of our climb up Volcán Pacaya. This volcano is one of the most active in the world. The crater is constantly spewing steam and glowing red. The climb starts with some fairly lush jungle then leads to black, rocky terrain then a deep, black, grainy ash as we take on the volcanic cone..
Overlooking Lake Atitlán from a patio table at a small restaurant which was owned by an expatriate American or British man who was thinking of selling his property. The property also included a small motel of about 10 rooms. We had to take a ferry ride to get to this side of the lake where we searched out a motel. We were walking west from our hotel room when we came across this lovely restaurant patio.