Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Our Weekend in Antigua

We spent the past weekend enjoying the beautiful City of Antigua.  Back during our Thanksgiving mission gathering we planned our annual Christmas party.  When the Macumber family agreed to host it at their home in Antigua I got very excited.  It had been a little over three years since we had been to Antigua and I have been wanting to go back.  Having a Christmas party there would give me a great excuse to return and visit some of my favorite places.

We drove in on Friday afternoon, got checked in to our room, and then headed out to do some exploring. 

One of our first stops was to take a family photo at the famous arch.

We then did a lot of walking around town before stopping by Dona Luisa's for supper.  We can't go to Antigua without a visit there.

Cruz chose scrambled eggs and black beans for supper.  He would eat that meal (along with tortillas) every single day if I fed it to him.  If it's on the menu at a restaurant he most always will order it.

Ben, on the other hand, chose fruit and yogurt.  He would live on fruit alone if I let him.

After eating we stopped by the restaurant bakery to see what they were selling these days.  I have always loved their banana bread.  They had just baked several loaves of sandwich bread and the boys got busy watching them pass it through the slicing machine.  They were fascinated by it and we stayed for a long while to let them watch.  We also got to watch bread dough being made.  They loved that too!

the boys watching the bread slicing machine

The city was all decorated for Christmas and it was so pretty!  This is a photo of the La Merced park.

As we walked around town we stumbled across a live music program taking place at one of the ruin sites in town.  A local music school in town was having their annual recital and it was outdoors for the public to hear and see.  Most of what they played was Christmas music.  It was so fun to sit and listen to each one play and perform.

Here are a few videos from the recital-

We began Saturday morning with breakfast at McDonald's.  The McDonald's in Antigua is in one of the most beautiful locations.  We have always loved going there.

We sat outside in the garden and enjoyed the sound of the water fountain and the beauty of Volcan Agua in the distance.

David and Ben enjoying breakfast at McDonald's in Antigua

We spent a lot of time over the weekend hanging out in the Central Park.  The boys would run and play and we would sit and people watch.

One of my must do things while there was make a visit to see Ms. Ruth.   When we first arrived in Guatemala ten years ago we did language study for six months in Antigua.  During those months we lived with two different Guatemalan families.   One of those host families was Ms. Ruth and her late husband.  She took such great care of us while we were living in her home.  So much so that when we returned from Stateside back in 2010 and I was pregnant with Cruz we moved back in with her for several weeks while we looked for a private place to rent there in town.  She is just a precious lady and I was glad to get to visit with her again.  She is like family to us.

me and the boys with Ms Ruth

That afternoon we visited a local coffee farm and music museum.  I took a ton of photos while there so I'll do a separate post about it tomorrow.  Before supper that evening we took the boys on a carriage ride around town.  We have never done that there before so it was fun to experience it with the boys.

carriage ride around Antigua

me and Ben on the carriage

David and I enjoying Antigua

I had picked up a copy of Revue magazine right after we arrived.  It is a free local magazine designed for tourists and lists places to eat and see along with maps of the town.  What I wanted to look for was events taking place in town that weekend.  I noticed a Christmas orchestra concert taking place on Saturday night and knew I wanted to go.  It was free and open to the public.  After supper we went to get in line with literally about 1,000 other people and waited for the doors to open.  It took place in one of the cathedrals in town.  It was a beautiful candlelit concert and probably my favorite thing from the whole weekend.

It was titled "Under the Bethlehem Star".  The orchestra began by playing several Guatemalan songs and then began the Christmas program.  They played Come Let us Adore Him, Oh Holy Night, Away in a Manger, Deck the Halls, The First Noel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World, Silent Night, and ended with Gloria in Excelsis Deo.  It was absolutely beautiful!

The cathedral is divided into three sections. Because of the large columns separating the middle section from the two side sections many of the views were obstructed.   They set up several big screens so that everyone could watch from any seat.  We were in the back far left so most of what we saw was on the screens.  Here are a few videos I took. 

After the concert they had a fireworks show.  The top of the cathedral is open so we just all looked up and watched.  It was so pretty!

We began Sunday morning with one of my favorite Antigua things- having breakfast at Cafe Condesa.  It's just a simple little place but there is something about it that I just love.  We have a lot of memories from there when we were in language school.

Cruz took this picture of us with Ben

my boys at Cafe Condesa

Later that day we gathered with our mission family for lunch, visits, and then our Christmas party that evening.  It is always a fun time when we all get together.

our IMB mission family

enjoying a meal, fun, and games at the Macumber's house on Sunday evening

Josiah, Ben, Cruz, and Will at the Christmas party

It was a very fun weekend from start to finish.  We squeezed a lot into a few days and made some great new memories while there.  The cool weather and beautiful decorations made it feel a little more like Christmastime than it does where we live.  I am glad we got to return and experience it at this time of the year.  It was a special Christmas treat that I'll always remember.

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