Volcanoes and things

29 August 2015

¡Buenas! It’s been a while since I last wrote. I had a feeling that would happen. Once the grocery store stopped being an adventure, it started feeling silly writing about my day-to-day life. “Now I’m at work. Now I’m buying groceries. Now I’m hanging out at my apartment again.” Not that it hasn’t been exciting every day, but I suppose I have been feeling less like I’m vacation and more like I am settling into my new home. And that’s a good thing!

I did want to write today, however, to share some pics and talk about our day trip to Volcan Poás (Poás Volcano). Volcan Poás is an active volcano that, according to wikipedia, has erupted 39 times since 1828. Fortunately, none of those times was today. It’s about a two-hour drive from us, and we ended up making a day of it.

We left bright and early at about 6:45am, which ended up working out really well because we beat traffic, had a great view of the crater, and got to the park before the crowds. We arrived to Parque Nacional Volcan Poás (Poás Volcano National Park) at 8:15 or so, and we headed straight for the main crater. As we approached said crater, we were able to smell the sulfur coming out of the lake (it reminded me of the hot springs I saw in New Zealand a few years ago). The smell wasn’t too potent, so it didn’t make the experience any less fun, don’t worry. We hung around enjoying the view and celebrating the fact that it wasn’t covered by clouds yet, and after a brief photo shoot (despite the fact that Amanda forgot her selfie stick), we set out on a hike through the park.

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The obligatory pano

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We were pretty excited to be there

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Check out the steam coming from the lake. There were signs with instructions in case of volcanic activity. Can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of one!

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Our next stop during our hike was Laguna Botos, which is a lake that fills an extinct crater. It was pretty cool because as the clouds moved in and out of the area surrounding the lagoon, the colors changed. There isn’t much to fear as far as a volcanic activity from the lagoon, as the last activity in this spot was in 7500BC (again, these sure-to-be-true facts are provided by wikipedia). We took a little break at lagoon, during which we had some snacks and decided to hike the mile-long loop that went through the cloud forest. It was a great walk, and was mostly downhill. You’d think that’d make that easier, but as any seasoned hiker knows, that’s not always the case. The decline was really steep, and we had to use a lot of quad strength to keep ourselves from falling on our faces. But still, it was a great time. We marveled at how intertwined the trees were; it would be really difficult for anyone to meander off the trail.

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We were lucky to be there so early because the view was already being obscured by the clouds.

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I was trying to be artsy.

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This plant is called the poor man’s umbrella. In case you were curious, its scientific name is Gunnera insignis.

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In this pic and the one below it, you can kind of tell how tightly wound the forest is. At first I was bummed that the hiking trail was paved (I wanted it to feel more natural), but now I understand why.

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After our walk, we went back to the crater to enjoy the view once more, and then we headed back to the park entrance. It was crazy to see the difference between the two views; once the clouds come in, the colors change so much. I was glad we took a second look so we were able to witness this.

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I made a little before and after collage so you could get the full effect.

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We ate lunch in the cafe (thank you for the sandwiches, George and Penny!), and then we got back on the road. Since it was so early, we decided to stop anywhere that we felt was scenic, and we weren’t disappointed! We even got some amazingly fresh strawberries (fresas) from a roadside vendor, after a pretty hilarious “OOH-I-WANT-THAT-TURN-AROUND” incident.

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This is the instagrammed version.

From the roadside strawberries, we decided to go home by way of Sarchi, a small town known for its woodwork and furniture (muebles).

(brief side note: I was curious as to why “furniture” and “muebles” were so different; I am getting used to being able to read signs based on educated guesses, and “muebles” really had me stumped. I thought maybe “furniture” was Germanic in origin (even though it doesn’t sound German), since the English word sounds nothing like its Latin counterpart. But as it turns out, “furniture” is from the Old French “furnir,” which makes so much sense based on the sound of the word and how close it is to English. But even with that mystery solved, I was still dying to know the connection between furniture and muebles, so I did some more research. As it turns out, another English translation for “muebles” is “movables.” THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE! Furniture is totally movable! So, language mystery solved, and all is right in the world.)

So anyway, Sarchi. I remembered going there during my EF Tour in 2010, and I knew I loved looking at the ox cart wheels and painted designs (as soon as my sketchbook arrives in my luggage, I’m totally going to try to recreate this artwork). I also remembered getting a lot of souvenirs at this huge store that had tons of woodwork and muebles (if you don’t use your new words, you lose them). We stopped along the way at a town called Grecia, which had a beautiful park and even more beautiful church. From what we have read, Grecia has a pretty big expat community, though it felt pretty tico to me. But then again, we weren’t there long. We just got out of the car and walked around for about 15 minutes before continuing our journey.

After Grecia, we reached Sarchi and saw another great park and church (it seems that every town has an awesome park and an awesome church). We saw the world’s biggest ox cart and found a souvenir shop (which actually happened to be the same one I was at in 2010). I bought a few trinkets for my apartment. I’m not a big souvenir person in the traditional sense; I don’t really like things with “Costa Rica” plastered all over them. Rather, I like to get things that I can wear or use and that remind me of the place. So I got things that are beautiful and practical (a painted tray, a jar for my kitchen cabinets, and a lovely wood napkin holder).

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street in Grecia. It’s a little cloudy because it was so hot that my lens clouded up.

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church in Grecia

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I really liked this statue

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church in Sarchi

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park in Sarchi – I loved this view. I could sit there all day.

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world’s biggest ox cart. I’d hate to see the size of the oxen!

That was pretty much our day in a nutshell. It was a great day, and I was happy to get out of the apartment for a while. But the bad news is that since I did no work yesterday, I’ll be grading a lot today. Yes, even though I moved 4,000 miles away and started a whole new life, I still battle the constant desire to have no homework!

With that being said, I am off to make my day. ¡Ciao!

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3 thoughts on “Volcanoes and things

  1. Michelle! I am enjoying your blog so much, along with your pictures!! I remember Sarchi well from 2010! I bought a little oz cart there and use it for my tea bags in my kitchen to be a reminder of that great trip! I am now in the Canadian Rockies. Have you seen them yet. beautiful. Having some difficulty with the weather and smoke producing Forest fires but we are trying not to let it bother us!! We were in Calgary for two days……lots of walking and exploring. Now, in Waterton National Park in Alberta, Canada. Tomorrow we will spend the day at Glacier National Park, back in the good old USA. I am in love with the wilderness! Only saw one bald eagle today but it was worth it!!
    How’s your kids and the teaching going?
    Hope to hear from you again soon!!
    Connie

  2. Thanks, Connie! I’m glad you like it! The 2010 trip really was great! Have a great time in the Rockies; I have not been there but would love to go! I’m glad to hear that you are having fun regardless of the weather and smoke!

  3. Pingback: Doodle-Bug’s Big Day | The Lamp Life

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