Friday, March 30, 2012

Costa Rica: Thursday (Jueves)

Jean joined in on a yoga class, which she said was great. Instead of yoga classes at home, which are often packed with sweaty people in a dark rooms, this was on a huge wooden platform just above a bubbling brook. With a gentle breeze, running water and plenty of birds chirping, she says it was very relaxing.

I did not partake in the yoga class because, well, I'm a guy, and real men don't do yoga, and Francesco and I went out for a ride. He's a super nice guy and quite an avid rider. Despite the fact that he's still recovering from ruptured achilles tendons--in both legs (about 6 months apart from each other and about 10 months ago for the most recent one), he was getting ready to lead a two-week bike tour across the country. He says it's a pretty mellow pace, but the roads in Costa Rica can make even a relatively short ride quite brutal. READ MORE>>>

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some Video

I mentioned in my previous post that the riding was a bit... well... windy... see (and hear) for yourself.

Costa Rica: Wednesday (Miercoles)

Time to ride. The two business partners that own Mystica are bikers, Francesco more so than Barbara, and we were able to get some tips and directions on where to go. One of the local things to see was a limestone cliff wall with petroglyphs from about 300BC to about 800AD. This wall was about 45 minutes away on jeep roads, by 4x4, so it sounded like a great riding opportunity...

Jean and I had been riding in this area one time before, and a small error in navigation resulted in us stopping at the bottom of a looooooong, steep, rough downhill, only to find a closed and locked gate. Meaning, we simply had to turn around and ride back up. When I say that this was a long, steep, rough trail, multiply your visualization by Pi. Anyway, we got some directions and set off. Initially when we were getting the directions, Barbara (and maybe Francesco too), suggested that we may want to take a shuttle back up from the petroglyphs. When I said that that wouldn't be necessary,  they each had that look of "okay, crazy people..." and let us go. We did take a phone number just in case we wanted to hitch a ride. READ MORE...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Costa Rica: Tuesday (Martes)

We woke to more rain. Tuesday was a planned drive day, so that wasn't too bad. We grabbed another great breakfast, again with jim and Cathy, before loading up the car. Yep, it was 67 stairs up from the front door of our room to the parking lot where the car was. I felt every ounce that we had packed while carrying the bags up. Damn. I didn't want to subject the staff at the resort to that kind of torture, so I did it myself. And besides, it was a good little work-out. Once everything was up to the car, it was an interesting puzzle to get it all in. The bikes, no longer completely disassembled, and now in addition to their boxes, were tight, but we made it work. 
Up and down over twisting mountain "roads" and a couple of hours later we were near the Arenal volcano. Along the way, we stopped a German bakery that we had eaten at before for authentic schnitzel, goulash, and a heif weizen. We also had our first official wild monkey sighting, which was VERY cool. Read More...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Costa Rica: Monday (Lunes)

Poas Volcano
Our morning started with another excellent breakfast and some great conversation with another couple, Jim and Cathy. Both retired and Jim his early 80's, they exuded a certain vibrance and youth that was amazing. We all loved to travel and had shared some funny stories. More on them later.

Properly fueled, we got in our little rental and made the pilgrimage to Poas Volcano National Park. This park allows you to hike up to the lip of an active volcano. That's pretty cool! Because of the elevation, the views are often obscured by clouds, but the wind moves things along pretty well, and it's apparently just a matter of a few minutes between no visibility and good visibility. We got some great shots, but to be honest, the crater really looked to me like a man-made quarry, although with a sulphuric smell. There is also a lake at the top of the volcano; that was totally socked in with fog. No views of Botos Lagoon for us.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Costa Rica: Sunday (Domingo)

We woke up a reasonable hour, made coffee, and vacation began. I finished up the bikes, we had an excellent breakfast but then, unfortunately, the clouds, and with them the rain, rolled in. Bummer.

But, not all was lost. As I mentioned, the resort is located in a natural park, with lots of things to photograph. They have an aviary with toucans and macaws, a butterfly hall, sloths, and jungle cats. We walked around the property admiring the amazing colors in nature, and then after lunch we made a break for it. There was a coffee plantation that offered tours not to far from where we were so took a chance on the weather and went on the tour. READ MORE...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Costa Rica: Saturday (Sabado)

Early flight...
Our pre-flight chaos was much less than normal. It really helped that I had the day before our trip off... I was able to get the bikes all boxed up and get all of my electronic gadgets charged and ready for travel. Actually putting "clothes" in a bag is the easy part. Jean, unfortunately, was working the day before our trip, but she had done some preparation. All in all, we got to bed at a decent time... usually we're up until the wee hours of the morning looking for language translation books or maps or I'm trying to upload GPS maps. I would have been even MORE prepared had I not also been required to spend a significant amount of time restoring my beloved Macbook Pro after a hard drive suicide, but that's another story for another time. Read More...