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Trip Report Antigua Guatemala

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    Revisits of destinations are not typically our thing. More like”been there – done that – moving on to see what is next” …..but The Filadelfia Coffee Resort in Antigua, Guatemala was too tempting to pass up for another long holiday weekend.

    Our driver was waiting and we were able to work through the normal congestion around the airport before heading out to Antigua. In a country that that often experiences “slight earthquakes” with a magnitudes in excess of 6.0 on the Richter scale (just some shifting of tectonic plates….like who cares…it’s the fact the ground is moving and you’re trying to stand still….and “slight” is the wrong adjective to use with any earthquake).

    The road to Antigua from GUA is almost always in a state “rush hour” no matter the hour….buses, chicken busses and trucks…cars and scooters….seems like every inch of pavement is taken by someone trying to get some place. For us, the ride is frantic and more entertaining…always something different.

    Asked our driver if he would mind stopping at a bank drive-thru window so we could handle a quick currency transaction…of course…no problem…and the conversion rate is far more favorable than the airport or the hotel…..now we have some walking around local money as soon as we hit Antigua.

    As we begin the gentle climb from the city, the air clears and the temperature drops pleasantly, gaining some altitude on the short 45 minute drive to Antigua…no wonder so many local city dwellers head for countryside retreats on weekends.

    Soon we are winding our way down familiar cobblestone roads, entering Antigua and working our way through foot traffic and bicycles along the outskirts and toward the guarded calle arbolada de Filadelfia. There are familiar faces, broad smiles and several hugs from the staff upon arrival….as well as the freshly brew café and assorted jugos frio.

    “Let us show you to your suite”.....so many fresh flowers I'm wondering if we're attending a wake...fortunately no deceased in sight?

    The next five days past too quickly…mule rides into the mountains - and we are reminded why mules are strong, determined and sometimes stubborn….volcano treks up Picaya (only a few weeks before the major eruption)…..a long steep trail that may best be attempted early in the AM….worth the effort (you can cheat and ride horses – we made the trek on foot)…..excellent dining at both upscale (Panza Verde www.panzaverde.com/en/dining.htm) and modest restaurants (Sabe Rico…Thanks for the special vegetarian lunch packed for our Picaya trek….also loved the secluded courtyard dining).

    The Filadelfia remains a very peaceful, private retreat – a place to come home to – even if it is your first visit….close enough but not too close to the activity and crowds of Antigua.

    Maybe another long weekend next year….

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