Day 9: Antigua, Oh Antigua
An American tourist’s paradise, indeed.
Sleeping at midnight last night, I resolved to sleep in late, to not set an alarm, to truly be on vacation. We’ve been on the go nearly every day, moving from one place to the next. Checking out of hostels and hotels, checking into them later. We should just allow ourselves to wake up whenever.
And yet, the morning sun filtered in through the curtains, gently lighting the room and waking me up at 7am. Waking up, feeling well-rested and ready, is such a gratifying feeling. Could everyday be like today?
I chilled in bed, catching up on emails and watching an episode of “Explained” on Netflix and figuring out breakfast plans. (Despite the poor acoustics of the room, this is the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in — and the WiFi is top-notch too!).
After lounging in bed for some time, we went to a fast food, all-vegan place called Wachuma, a mere couple of blocks south of us and close to Central Park and the Santa Catalina Arch. It was hard to find (Happy Cow gave me the wrong map location and it’s tucked into a hotel).
I got the tofu and quinoa bowl (they were out of tempeh) which included organic lettuce, bits of pineapple and mango, doused with peanut dressing. The bowl was good, but it tasted rather citrusy and a bit electrifying on the tongue. Never thought I’d use those words to describe food 🤔 I requested iced chai latte with almond milk, which required experimentation since they only make hot tea and their first iteration was literally hot tea with ice cubes. Not gonna fly, bruh. They tried again and made it as an ice blended drink, sprinkled with turmeric and cinnamon. It was actually pretty good. $8.19 (including tip)
We ventured to Casa de Santo Domingo, which houses several small museums. I enjoyed checking out the archaeology museum with its ancient relics and figurines, and the chocolate shop had such intricately decorated pieces. At $2 per piece, it was more of a thing to admire than to consume.
Schlepping beneath the noontime sun, we decided to go to Helados Exóticos, known for its many flavored ice cream. I had the mango with cardamom. There was probably more of the latter than the former so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d like. $2.60
For lunch, we decided to go to La Bruja. Given its small kitchen, they could only handle 6 to 7 orders at any given time, at most. Good thing we were in a food court –– our group split up and half of us stayed in La Bruja, the other half went next door to order pizza. Known for its build-a-vegan-burger menu, La Bruja has pretty cool vibes. I got a tempeh burger with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocados, and ketchup. During our early dinner, I was asked how I would rate it; I gave it a 6.5/7. I’ve just had better food and I think it would’ve been better more flavorful had I chosen a different patty. It is what it is, I guess. $10.79
After lunch, we went to Cerro de la Cruz followed by a place called Hobbitenango. If you’re thinking hobbits, you’d be correct. It was a short albeit steep drive from Antigua. Hobbitenango, like most enterprises in the hospitality sector here, is a triple threat: hotel, restaurant, and bar. The catch is that everything is scaled small so that even if you’re standing upright, the ceiling is a couple of feet above your head (depending on your height). The hotels were definitely off-limits, but the rest of the area was like a playground. There were short scenic hikes, hammocks, a vintage arcade, a terrace above a bar, and even a high swing that you can jump off from a deck.
The view was breathtaking, as we felt like we were floating above the clouds, and the sunset was stunning. Lighted villages dotted the valleys between the hills and volcanoes, and it reminded us of home. Volcanoes were within sight, and we even saw a trickle of lava oozing out of two of them. Once it was officially nighttime, it was so cold that I needed chamomile tea to sustain me. (Thank you to David for grabbing our drinks!).
When we finally descended onto Antigua again, we did a run to nearby Samsara where predictable little me got the tacos and French toast. Split with Gerard who is a trooper for tolerating my need for consistency. No pics since my phone was dead from so much activity today. $5.20 (including tip)
Daily Total: $26.78