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Time In Antigua

Antigua was a city filled with colour and charm. The Spanish colonial city was largely destroyed in 1773, after a series of devastating earthquakes and was left abandoned for 75 years. As a result, every couple of metres one stumbles across striking ruins from the 17th and 18th century. With so much to see and so little time, we decided to get an overview from the lookout point. After a short climb of 600 steps we were rewarded with a beautiful view over the city and its surrounding volcanoes.

At noon, a couple of us decided to take part in a two hour chocolate workshop. Not knowing what to expect, we entered the “Choco Museo” overwhelmed with the deliciously sweet bitter smell of chocolate. We all got aprons and after receiving a short lecture about the history of cacao and its importance to the Mayans in Guatemala, we got grinding. The cacao beans were first roasted and then peeled to separate the husk from the bean. We then infused the cacao husk and some honey to make a delicious cacao tea, which helped cure the hangover some of us had, after experiencing Antigua’s vibrant nightlife. Now full of energy, we set out to grind the cacao beans into a cacao paste. We discovered Saskia’s secret talent for grinding cacao beans as she made the best and smoothest paste of the group. After the hard work we used the cacao paste to make some authentic Mayan hot chocolate, definitely the best hot chocolate we’ve had on the trip so far, and it is worthwhile to note that we’ve had a lot of chocolate milk so far.

At the end of the workshop we were able to make our own chocolate bars with a handful of different ingredients, including chili! It was truly an amazing experience and the chocolate turned out to be delicious, although not quite as good as Swiss chocolate… However, now that we all know how to make our own chocolate I think the rest of the group will soon catch up to eating the Swiss average of 12kg of chocolate a year.
Our day ended with a relaxing yoga session on a rooftop, with sunset views of the three looming volcanoes: Agua, Acatenango and Fuego. With our stomachs filled with chocolate and our mood as good as ever we were able to clear our minds and reflect on the amazing past couple of weeks we’ve had in Guatemala and Mexico. And so we said Namaste to Guatemala and hola to Honduras.

By Celina Hartmann - Central America Trail Volunteer

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