By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Guatemala is a place of resplendent beauty, terrible poverty, great history, tragic bloodshed, vibrant culture, and a tentative rebirth with a still uncertain future.
It has balanced on a knife’s edge for centuries.
One of the symbols of Guatemala is the Quetzal, its national bird.
The Quetzal is a reminder of defeat at the hands of the Spanish and a yearning for liberty.
Today it also symbolizes a hope for enduring peace in a place that has seen terrible suffering.
A street vendor in Guatemala La Antigua
The Resplendent Quetzal—to give its full name—is native to Guatemala, with a close cousin in Costa Rica.
About 14 inches or 36 centimeters in length; the pretty males add a tail streamer of as much as 25 inches more.
A big guy, then, might stretch 39 inches—or one full meter—from stem to stern.
They have a green, iridescent body and a red breast.
Guatemalans describe the Quetzal’s song as a “whimpering pup.”
But there is also a legend that says that the quetzal sang beautifully before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, and he will sing once again when the land is truly free.
At the heart of the country is La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción: Guatemala City, very much representative of the nation.
It is a wild and somewhat dangerous city—the largest in Central America; some four million people live in and around it.
A bit further inland is La Antigua Guatemala, the old city, begun in 1543.
The city served as the capital of the Spanish Kingdom of Guatemala, which for more than two centuries stretched from Mexico City to Peru.
All in one place we see vestiges of the Mayans, the ruins of the Spanish and above it all…the volcanoes.
I have visited La Antigua many times and it never fails to thrill. On our approach this morning La Volcan Fuego erupted, just for us. Not a big explosion…just a boom and a cloud of ash. A welcome back to a special place.
LA ANTIGUA, 25 APRIL 2015
COREY AND THE VOLCANO
The author, on a previous visit, midway on a climb of the Pacaya volcano
The remnants of its Spanish colonial architecture have been preserved as a national monument.
All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.
SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS
Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”
Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:
Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)