San Jose, Costa Rica

Our last full day in Costa Rica. Tomorrow we fly to Houston and then to San Francisco. Today we checked out the Costa Rica Jade Museum. It’s a five story relatively new building and very interesting.

Our last dinner of the trip was at La Diez Parilla Argentina, quite near our hotel. My steak was tender and tasty and the service was great. They told us they had only been open four months.

San Augustin Archaeological Park Day 5

Tonight is our last night at El Monastario, our wonderful hotel near San Augustin. Duke and I discussed over dinner and agreed that this is one of the best places we have ever stayed. This is Duke at breakfast.

Today we toured a coffee farm. It is about a mile down the road from El Monastario.

First we walked through the field and watched as Hector picked some coffee.

Then he showed us how he processed and dried the coffee.

Then he husked and roasted the coffee.

Finally he ground it and brewed some for us to drink.

It tasted great and we are bringing some home.

San Augustin Archaeological Park Day 2

Today we went for a horseback ride! We rode about eight and a half miles and visited three Archaeological sites that are more remote than the sites we visited yesterday!! It was wonderful!

It is so beautiful here, lush with wonderful views and lots of interesting flowers, crops and birds. Our guide Boliva was great and his horses were nice and calm and well behaved.

Every morning we’ve been here we have heard a loud raucous bird in the trees. If I understood our guide correctly it is a chachalaca bird. Some people even have them as pets. At one of our stops we saw one up close.

Our first stop on our ride was Purutal – La Pelota. An ancient burial site that was excavated in 1984. That’s four years after Duke was here. The statues are colored. As I understand it these are the only statues that they have found that are colored. They are located exactly as they were found.

Our second stop was at La Chiquita. We left the horses at the top and climbed down to a spectacular overlook of the Magdalena River Canyon and two waterfalls. There were carvings overlooking the canyon too.

Our third stop was El Tablón where the statues were excavated by a German archaeologist in the early 1900s. They were sent to Germany and then later repatriated. Next it was back to our hotel.

I got to practice my Spanish a lot today talking to our guide. At one point I asked what he uses for coffee when he drinks coffee at home. He said he has a few coffee bushes. He picks the coffee, roasts it, grinds it, and brews it all right before he drinks it. Our hotel told us they do the same thing for our breakfast coffee. The coffee is delicious.

Coincidentally the wife of our guide is the niece of the man Duke stayed with in 1980. The girl in the picture below from 1980 is a bank manager today!

The ride today was so tranquil and beautiful. We saw fewer than twenty other tourists!

It started raining hard after we got back to our hotel. I wanted comfort food for dinner so I had delicious Pasta carbonara and Duke had lasagne.

I haven’t been on a horse since I was in college. I’m sore and tired tonight but it was a wonderful day!

Santa Fe to Ignacio, Colorado – Day 11 Southwest Road Trip

Today was an easy day. We had a great breakfast at Tia Sophia in Santa Fe. It is so nice to stay someplace where you can walk to all the sites and nice restaurants. 

Then we drove north from Santa Fe into Colorado where we are staying at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado. It was a beautiful drive. 

Day 6 of our Southwest Road Trip. Phoenix to near Gila New Mexico. 

This morning we left Phoenix and took the Apache Trail up into the Superstition Mountains. First we came to Canyon Lake.  The road turned to gravel and the scenery to stunning canyons. 

After about 30 miles of gravel we came to Theadore Roosevelt Dam where we had lunch. 

The bridge by the dam is the longest steel single span bridge in a the United States. 

After getting back to pavement we drove into New Mexico to a cabin near Gila. Right now we are sitting on the porch drinking wine and enjoying the peace and quiet. 

The view is lovely. 

I wasn’t sure whether I would mention it… but on a remote road near the eastern Arizona border we were pulled over by a very polite Arizona Highway Patrol officer who issued us a citation for flagrantly wasting finite resources!

Phoenix – day 5 of our Southwest Road Trip

It was suppose to be over 100 in Phoenix today so we got an early start. We were at the Desert Botanical Garden at 7:30. 

About half way through our explorations we ate a great brunch at Gertrude’s the Botanical Garden restaurant.

Next we went to the Arizona State Capital. Duke and I are working on visiting all fifty state capitals. A lot of them look very similar. I liked the Arizona capital. It is pretty and different. 

We also wandered around the grounds and looked at many of the monuments in the park in front of the capital. This one is two guns. One gun is from the USS Arizona that was sunk at Pearl Harbor at the beginning of World Ear II. The other gun is from the USS Missouri the ship on which the Japanese surrender was signed. 

And this memorial is dedicated to police dogs.