We set off in a much larger bus (a coach by anyone’s standard) for Antigua and Chichicastenango. We arrived in Antigua just before lunch and spent time shopping for souvenirs and soaking in the Mayan village experience. Br Edgardo who accompanied us had warned all Pilgrims that pick-pockets were rife. Well, Paul Herrick can account for the accuracy of this advice! Having just jumped off the coach, Paul was persuaded to have his shoes polished by a small boy. He quickly discovered that his wallet was no longer in his pocket and he desperately looked for the local ‘tourist police’ to report the atrocity. The police were terrific and found the culprit and Paul’s wallet was returned – a lesson for all!
We had lunch at a wonderful local restaurant and sampled great regional food and hospitality. After a little more wandering the streets of Antigua, we boarded the bus for the onward journey to Chichicastenango and arrived at our destination at 6.00pm. The bus journey was incredible, with steep ascents and descents, and curves that turned back on themselves.
Chichicastenango was a tangle of cobbled streets and old buildings, and we found our hotel in the middle of this tangle. The hotel was an oasis in the middle of a very poor town, and was surrounded by market stalls and cobbled streets strewn with three-wheeled taxis all buzzing around with local clients in tow as well as an occasional tourist. Some Pilgrims found time to wander the back-streets and the stalls that lined every footpath, while others enjoyed the local music before retiring to bed.