17, 18th Nov 2003.

Antigua is amongst the oldest and most beautiful cities in Guatemala. It has a mellow setting of crumbling ruins, cobble stone streets, and loud church bells. It was the Spanish capital.... until it was flattened by two huge earthquakes in 1717 and 1773.

It's not too hard to see why Antigua has a tendency to get flattened by earthquakes. It sits in a basin that is surrounded by three volcanos.

We had to be escorted up here by the tourist police as it is too dangerous to walk this far out of town. (It was all of a fifteen minute walk).

There a number of beautiful churches and every street seems to have a ruin as a reminder of the past earthquakes.  We We visited them all in the sweltering heat.

The crafty old Spanish had a bit of a thing for naughtiness in between the important stuff like being a monk and enslaving the natives.

This fountain sits in the main square and gave Jason slightly more of a chuckle than it did Claire.

Obviously all this debauchery wasn't appreciated by the big chap upstairs who promptly decimated the place with a huge earthquake. The church of the recollection was rebuilt after this and then was promptly flattened again some 50 years later.

The walls of the church were several metres thick as well... there was some seriously naughty stuff going on in there to deserve that sort of retribution.

The recollection ruins still have an eerie sense of what was, or is, or could be.

This chamber inspired a certain air of creepiness... or maybe it was the fact you don't' walk more than 4 blocks from the main square without the tourist police escort!

It seems that if you dedicated your life to the church and became a big player you wouldn't get burnt, buried or thrown into the sea. Instead you would get to lounge around.... forever.... in one of the many open caskets in the catacombs (which just happened to smell a little).

Nice photo... but you a probably ruined out by now.

We were.

This chiwoowwa (or however you spell it) was resident in our hotel. For party tricks he would shit in the corridor or bark every hour, on the hour, during the night.

If you looked closely you can see his other party trick. The one he liked to show Claire... who was quite appalled by it all.

Old school Coke van still in business here.

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