Feliz Navidad

Antigua is a beautiful Guatemalan mountain village with a wealth of history. It hosts numerous churches with varying degrees of dilapidation. Many have been destroyed by earthquakes. Walking down the cobble streets the colourful buildings look so pretty with the forested volcano hills in the background. A grand, yellow arch was built to mark the entrance of a cloister that used to exist here.

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Walking through the Thursday local, street market was fascinating. There was not another tourist in sight – it was a true local Guatemalan cultural experience. Old ladies sat on the floor selling fruit and vegetables of all colours, shapes and sizes. There were peculiar looking vegetables of which I cannot name. They sold a huge range of things from fresh, ripe, huge avocados to juicy, bright orange, tropical melons. Numerous stalls with umbrellas covering them were lined up outside in the direct sunlight.

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Then we walked under a canopy to the underground section of the market, where we were greeted with masses more stalls selling all kinds of things. We began in the meat section. Here raw meat hung up, chickens carcasses, slabs of pig skin, beef cuts, unnamed meat and vats of pig fat were displayed. It was such an experience. There was another entire section for beans, herbs, oats and so forth. Other stalls sold toiletries, clothes, sweets, toys and wood you burn that gives off incredible incense smell. As a whole the market was absolute mayhem, people were here, there and everywhere and just about everything imaginable was sold.

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We bought tonnes of fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood for our Christmas eve hostel community dinner.

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When we returned back to the hostel we set to work, washing, chopping and preparing all the food.

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After a lot of joint effort, dinner was ready in the evening and we feasted on a massive roast dinner, salad, cauliflower cheese, prawns, sweet potato pie with marshmallows, nachos and guacamole. Then for dessert apple crumble, ice-cream and lots of fruit. I was so full and slept that night like a baby. It was a great Christmas evening.

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