Friday, May 27, 2016

Antigua, Guatemala: A Refuge From Noise

CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


I was bemused recently to read a recent tourist's characterization of Antigua as "quaint."

Before I can appreciate the quaint, I've got to cut through the noise, both audio and visual. Antigua is noisy. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic congestion. Honking horns. Barking dogs. Occasional evangelical service shared with the entire neighborhood via loudspeaker. Fireworks - bombas - going off at almost any time of day.

But in the middle of town, close to Central Park, there is a refuge of quiet.

CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


It's the building complex called CFCE, the Centro de Formacion de la Cooperacion Espanola. It is on the original site of the centuries-old Jesuit college and church, founded there in 1582  ..... and subsequently thrashed by an earthquake.

CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


Nowadays, the site hosts a vocational training school, computer and wifi center, a restaurant, document archives, and rooms and courtyards restored as an architectural monument one can walk through.


CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


The first time I entered the grounds, and sat in the interior courtyard, I wasn't particularly struck by the courtyard's beauty. I sat. I took a deep breath. It was quiet. Blessedly quiet except for the sound of the fountain:





Although the narrow sidewalks outside the compound are jammed with pedestrians, stores, vendors, and vehicles, the rooms inside have only a few people walking about. 

CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

The rooms receive light in calming angles. 


CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


There are uncomplicated geranium pots on window ledges.


CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


Jacarandas in the cafe courtyard.

CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


Children's artwork in an alcove.


CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


A still beauty.


CFCE, Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.





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