Chichicastenango Market

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In July I traveled with 17 people from First United Methodist Church of Seattle (where I work) to work with Project Salud y Paz, a medical and dental mission in Guatemala.

It always takes awhile after returning from a trip to sort through your experience—and alllll the photos you snapped along the way (if you’re a “shutterbug” like me). As I contemplate my time in Guatemala, converse with others that joined me on the trip, and look through photos and videos that I took and my teammates have shared, I’ve slowly been working on sharing a few of my own photos and memories from Guatemala here on the blog.

We spent a week in the city of Chichicastenango, traveling from there each morning to Project Salud y Paz in Camanchaj. Chichi is a vibrant and colorful Mayan town in the mountains. The famous Chichi market is one of the biggest markets in Guatemala and was my favorite part of our touring.

Sunday and Thursday are the market days, and we first visited on Sunday, which was very busy and brimming with tourists. Since we were in the city all week we got to see quieter non-market days in Chichi, which I loved. We also got to see the set-up for the Thursday market on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning—that was a lot of fun to watch.

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The group that I explored the market with on Sunday wandered into some less-touristy areas where locals buy shoes, electronics, food, and everything else you can imagine. To me that was the most interesting part.

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Chichicastenango, Guatemala

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Last week I traveled with 17 people from First United Methodist Church of Seattle (where I work) to work with Project Salud y Paz, a medical and dental mission in Guatemala. Guatemala is a beautiful country and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to visit. I’m sharing a few photos and memories from the week here on the blog.

After stopping to tour in Antigua we headed to the city of Chichicastenango. This mountain town is vibrant and colorful and I especially loved experiencing the elements of Mayan culture that were present in the city and the famous Chichi market, one of the biggest markets in Guatemala. We had the experience of staying in Chichi all week so I got to know the city fairly well; I’d go back in a heartbeat!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset^El Calvario Church^

The Church of Santo Tomas/Church of the Living and El Calvario Church/Church of the Dead (pictured above) are fascinating fusions of Catholic and Mayan religions. They are across from each other—The Church of the Living is on the east side of the street where the sun rises, and the Church of the Dead is on the west side of the street where the sun sets.

To me, these two churches of Chichi were more beautiful than the churches in Antigua. Something about these dark candlelit churches appealed to me more than all the shining gold. Simple wooden platforms sat in the center aisles covered in remnants of melted candle wax and flickering candles, and graced with scattered flower petals. The ancient artwork was covered over with years of smoke, barely visible, in need of restoration. The steps leading up to both churches were old and worn. The white-washed exteriors contrasted with the dark wooden panels and benches inside. Depth in simplicity; beauty in disrepair; full of mystery and meaning.

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I bought some fabric from a shop in Chichi on a non-market day, and I’ve already used some of my fabric to make curtains for our new house. I’ll have more snapshots from the market to share later!

See all the posts about Guatemala here.

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Antigua, Guatemala

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Last week I traveled with 17 people from First United Methodist Church of Seattle (where I work) to work with Project Salud y Paz, a medical and dental mission in Guatemala. Guatemala is a beautiful country and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to visit. We had an amazing trip, and I’ll be sharing a few photos and memories from the week here on the blog.

Our first stop after flying into Guatemala City was the city of Antigua. Antigua is full of beautiful historic architecture, gorgeous churches, cobblestone streets, and a diverse mix of tourists and students. Our team of 17 split up and we explored the city in smaller groups; it was so fun at the end of the day to hear what each person saw and the variety of experiences everyone enjoyed.

My new(ish) friends and I tackled as much of the city as we could in a day, cameras in hand!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset^Santa Catalina Arch^

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IMG_6903^Cross above, and view of the city and volcano from the Cerro de la Cruz, the “Hill of the Cross”^

IMG_6946^San Jose Cathedral^

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IMG_6224^Church of San Francisco, which was my favorite church we visited in Antigua. The inside is gorgeous, though I can’t share because no photos are allowed inside.^

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I found all the tourist attractions we visited in Antigua very walkable except the Cerro de la Cruz, which our bus driver took us to. We easily found good food, great coffee, ice cream, and pastries.

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One of my favorite moments of our time in Antigua was gathering in Parque Central in the middle of the city one morning. I wasn’t sure at first about getting up extra early to join the group in the park the morning we were to leave Antigua and take the bus to the next destination but I’m very glad I did! I sat on a park bench with a sweet roll from a nearby bakery and a hot cup of coffee, not quite awake but happy to greet the day in such a peaceful way. (Pictured above; photo courtesy of team member Joyce.)

I hope for the opportunity to visit Antigua again someday. I’d even love to spent a little time there at Spanish language school, which is one of the things the city is famous for. The bittersweet part of travel is that you really don’t know if you will return. As much as you might believe your feet will walk on that ground—those cobblestones—again, it may not happen. It’s not always the easiest balance to have not only enough plans and expectations to make your time—that magical first visit to a new, far-away place—meaningful, but also the flexibility and spontaneity that travel sometimes requires.

To travel is to savor each moment like the glorious first it is and the last it might be.

And so I’ll say…adiós for now, Antigua!

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