Have been in Xela (Quetzaltenango) for a few days now, first in a hotel downtown and today we moved to a place on the outskirts. Xela is the 2nd biggest town in Guatemala, but it does not feel very big although lots of industry. Not at all like Guatemala City which does not feel as safe and soooooo much more congested.

When we headed to Xela, we hoped we’d see a bit of Easter lead up, but did not know if it would happen. The Easter Gods were on our side. We headed down the block in search of appetizers for a bottle of wine in the courtyard. On the Plaza. Oh look a tiny “pop up” artisanal market. Very small, but we left with banana bread, granola (two unusual things for Guatemala), earrings, chocolate, chips and salsa.

Showing off our salsa purchases with the owner.

Just as we are finishing our salsa and chip shopping, music outside. A procession with a band. Out we head to watch the procession head to the church across the plaza. Just the sort of thing I’d hoped to see!

The Madonna being carried to the church.

And in she goes. She was carried by a huge number of local women. I was going to include the video, but not tonight….

We happened upon this “used” carpet in a small village on our 2nd day in the highlands. There must have been a procession the day before.

The next day we took a drive around the highlands. Xela is around 7700 ft and we reached nearly 10,000 feet driving on the roads up to San Francisco el Alto and Momostenango (Don’t you love the names?) We were heading to Momo for the local market. We had read not the best in the area, but you have to deal with what you can get on the day you are out. A good market. Quite large actually and very local. San Francisco el Alto is supposed to be bigger and more authentic, but this seemed pretty real, sans the animal market

The fruits and veggies always look so inviting.

Have not seen a hat quite like this one in Guatemala.

Interesting there were lots of dried fix at this market not all the close to the ocean.

The people in Guatemala are always friendly and those at the Momo market were no exception. Lots of folks said hello to us.

Today we headed south to visit Fuentes Georginas. We have heard about this thermal bath since before the first time we visited Guatemala in 2013. A very small twisty two lane road though very steep farm land to a gorgeous spot in the Guatemalan cloud forest at the end of the road. Quite idealic.

We ascended from the valley floor on a lane and a half wide road. You can see it to the right.

We arrived around 10 and it was not very crowded. We went for a short walk to look for birds but kept hearing buses. We figured we’d better take advantage of the pools before the crowds. Good idea!

The water looks a little green, but actually seemed pretty clean. By the time we left, all the pools were quite crowded.

It was quite pleasant and the setting could not be beat!

One ore thing to touch upon in this post. This highland area seems to be the produce center of Guatemala. The bounty is amazing, and the diversity of crops. No mono-culture here! Very little mechanization and growing on steep hills.

The lush cloud forest vegetation is intermixed with fields such as these.

No big conglomerates running these farms. I love the patterns of the intermixed plantings.

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