Day 2 In Antigua, Guatemala Continued

To pick up from my last blog post, after lunch, we continued to walk around Antigua to see some of the more well known sites. We happened to have eaten lunch right next to the Arco de Santa Catalina, which was built in the 17th century as a passageway for the Santa Catalina covenant and an adjoining school. Its purpose was for the nuns to pass from from one building to the next without having to go out into the street. This arch is the only remnant of the covenant, and is considered by many to be a “must-see” in Antigua.

From there, we continued to walk along the street and pass through a local market shop with traditional trinkets and goods. We then came across Convento Santa Clara which like so many other buildings had been destroyed by various earthquakes since the 1700s. Following our time at Convento Santa Clara, we found La Merced Cathedral which was built in 1548 and rebuilt in the 1700s since it had been destroyed twice by earthquakes. The Cathedral was beautiful and had a stunning view outside of both the scenery and of locals picnicking and enjoying the sunset.

We made our way back to the hotel (and passed the Arco de Santa Catalina once more) to get cleaned up before going out for dinner. We had to get a good night sleep though because we had a big day ahead of us the following morning.

Advertisements

Day 1 In Bratislava, Slovakia

Today we had the opportunity to leave Vienna for the day to see Bratislava, which is the capital of Slovakia. It was only two hours by bus from where we were staying in Vienna, so we took advantage of the opportunity.

Upon arriving, one of the first things we noticed was the fact that there is a lot of graffiti art all around the city. It turns out that the city actually designates open walls for locals to graffiti because they want people to express their artistic abilities without being punished for doing so. Therefore, graffiti art is legal in Bratislava, which was definitely unique to hear. We also noticed various columns built throughout the city. During the 17th century, the black plague swept through the city, so these columns were built with the Virgin Mary on top of them for the locals to pray to.

Bratislava is known as the coronation city and the city of the Habsburg monarchy since the 17th Century also consisted of the Turks taking over Budapest and Hungary. For this reason, coronations would take place here, including the coronation of Maria Theresa (who has been mentioned in prior posts). Throughout the city, you can see pictured crowns on the ground, which shows the coronation route.

There used to be a Jewish synagogue where we began our tour (pictured below), but it was taken down in 1967 because a new bridge had to be built for transportation purposes, and was completed in 1972. As we continued walking, we came across a memorial commemorating the Slovakian Jews who were taken to the concentration camps and to Poland since Poland was the closest country to transport them to. The word “Remember” is written on the bottom of the memorial.

As we continued walking, we came across fortification walls from the 13th century. We then spotted a building currently owned by the city that used to be a pharmacy back in the day. On the wall, there is a sign in German, Slovak, and Hungarian which is proof that the Slovaks could speak three languages during the Habsburg monarchy.

Nearby on the Royal Street, we saw a house where the noble Keglević family used to reside. Their daughter wanted to learn how to play the piano, so Beethoven actually came to their palace and taught her how to play.

Moving along, we passed by “Bird Fountain.” Red wine came out of the fountain during coronations, so all of the locals would come to drink from the fountain for free. After they finished drinking, the locals were said to have sung like birds, hence the name Bird Fountain.

Shortly after, we stopped at a building where Mozart played for Maria Theresa when he was only six years old. Following his performance, everyone in attendance clapped, and in his excitement, Mozart jumped on Maria Theresa and hugged her. Those in attendance immediately stopped clapping in shock because Maria Theresa’s own children didn’t even hug her in public, but much to everyone’s surprise, she hugged Mozart back.