Yolkobsens met and fell in love in romantic Antigua Guatemala. Mrs. Yolkobsen, there on a ten-day holiday, is certain it was the Antiguan backdrop that really helped sweep us away.
I could tell you about strolling the calles of the Spanish colonial town or the ruins of the Convent of Santa Clara, destroyed by 18th century earthquakes, or I could rhapsodize about the Fountain of Sirens in Central Park, with water flowing from their ample breasts. Another time perhaps.
Today, though, I want to talk about one of our favourite places while courting in Antigua, namely, the traditional marketplace.
I’m not talking about where to buy Guatemala souvenir scarves, carvings, paintings, etc. I’m talking about the market just off Alameda Santa Lucia, where Guatemalans shop for food, flowers and just about anything else you can think of.
First of all, once you pass all the outside kiosks with their cell phones and flip flops, you enter the old market building where the colours are what hit the eye immediately. I have to talk about the flowers first, absolutely.
Roses, lilies of every colour and shape (including long waxy strong calla lilies, like in the Frida Callo paintings) and rows of baby’s breath are all there to greet the visitor and make her stop no matter how intent she and her new love are on finding the perfect avocado and handmade chocolate. Our first time there, my future husband bought me 18 melon-coloured roses. No less romantic because the massive bouquet of perfect blooms cost about $1.50 US.
We bought masses of fresh vegetables and tropical fruits and meat, filling bags and bags (too much actually;the rule is the same in Antigua as it is in Canada or the US: never shop when you are hungry or in love; but who listens to that advice?). Five bags of market goods, everything from fish to potatoes to papaya, came to about $15 US.
Home, via tuk-tuk to our little rented casita, located about 5-minutes walk from the centre of town, and we were in heaven and well on our way to gaining our first-year-of-relationship kilos. So romantic in Antigua.