The Secret Garden

We never ended up making it up that Volcano but we did sit in a park and study Spanish. Being that it was our last day in Antigua we really wanted to soak in what the city has to offer. Behind every door in this city there is something to be discovered, and each door passed is usually more beautiful than the last. With the exception of the various iron-barred Tienda’s, travel agencies and Internet cafes.

We started with a French inspired creperie near Parque Central. We both indulged in the very sweet, and very delicious Nutella with banana and strawberry crepe. Oh and to top it off, we mixed in a banana/strawberry smoothie for added variety.

With full bellies and a sugar high we headed to the park to people watch and study Spanish. We purchased some cue cards and spent the latter half of the morning writing out popular phrases, irregular and regular verbs for practice. The park is tourist central and even though we ourselves our tourists, this can become very irritating. After about the thousandth time the ice cream lady aggressively rang her bell, we decided that it was time to move on. The storm clouds moved in and now this was a prime opportunity to motor back to our hotel and plan our camionetas adventure tomorrow.

Upon reading a blog we found the perfect restaurant to spend the afternoon studying in. This restaurant is well known by the locals, for having the most beautiful courtyard and one of the best views of the nearby volcano. Fortunately for us, it was only a few steps away from our hotel. We arrived, ordered a McPollo Sandwich combo and made ourselves comfortable in the courtyard. Yeah, it’s true, McDonald’s truly has one of the best terraces in the city. It’s huge, the garden is well maintained, and the view of the volcano is second to none. The ambiance in this specific location was paramount to any other experience I’ve had in a McDonald’s in North America. Your food, is ordered at the counter, and then much like a cafe, served to you at your table. We were thoroughly impressed but admittedly this has only soiled their brand image in the North. Hey McDonald’s, pull up your socks, Antigua’s got the situation figured out!

This evening we set out to find a highly recommended tipico restaurant with a Thai-inspired twist, but alas after searching and circling back, we concluded that this restaurant is no longer. Which fortunately landed us at Gringo Palace – just kidding Café Rainbow. It was happy hour and we indulged, whiskey, ginger and a Gallo. Though this place was anything but authentic the vibe was amazing, the food was delicious and the live musician singing folk anthems from Canada made us feel right at home. This was the first time we really listened to music since we left. Feeling inspired and excited we walked home, holding hands, and singing 90s favs – some Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis and even a Slim Shaddy mix. It was the perfect end to an amazing week in Antigua.

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