Return to Antigua

Our original plan was to travel to El Salvador after Lago de Atitlan, but the more we talked with fellow travelers the more we discovered that everyone and their mom was heading back to Antigua for Semana Santa. After debating what we should do, we decided to head back to Antigua as well since it would be our only chance to participate in a world celebration and a unique cultural experience. So the Tuesday before Easter, we packed our bags and left the lake for the four-plus hour ride to Antigua. I had the misfortune to pick up some sort of stomach bug in San Pedro which made the ride uncomfortable to say the least, although there were some sicker people than I on the ride (our caravan of two vans pulled over about four times so sick people could get out). I'd never been so glad to arrive at our destination! Mainly because the majority of the roads down the mountains looked like this:

Windy beyond belief.
We stayed in Antigua until Saturday - we would have left Friday but couldn't get a ride out of town because of the festivities. Since we came back so early in the week, we had no trouble getting a reservation at the hotel we'd stayed at previously. The days that followed were filled with religious parades and the creation of alfombras, or carpets, made of colored sawdust or greenery and flowers. Antigua residents made the alfombras in the streets so the processions would walk over them. Each procession was similar: the men would carry a float with a depiction of Jesus, and the women would follow with a float with a depiction of Mary. Most processions were several hours long, as they'd pass from one side of the city to another and frequently pause to change out the carriers of the heavy floats.

This float (probably an 80-person float, 40 on each side) was one of
the larger ones. The nighttime processionals were always followed
by generators on wheels.
A typical display of the Virgin Mary.
Early Friday.
This procession passed in front of our hotel so we were able to watch
from the rooftop.
This picture doesn't do the size of this float justice but they had a lot
of trouble rounding the street corner!

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