Tuesday morning, we left the Southern Pacific Region of the country or where we had been calling home for the past five days. We drove up the coast then headed inland towards the Arenal volcano. Google maps said the trip would take five and one half hours. Well, Google was wrong. While I appreciate the super advanced technology of having any kind of information at your fingertips, Google does not take into account things like an impassable truck overloaded with lumber in front of you for 58 kilometers climbing a mountain. That will make all anticipated travel times fly out the window and just make you happy to arrive whenever you do. The afternoon rains followed us inland as we corkscrewed up the winding mountains through the town of San Ramon. We kept inching closer to La Fortuna and our final destination of El Castillo, the small town that sits between Lake Arenal and the Arenal volcano. We were ready for a full meal and restrooms when we stopped at a nice restaurant perched on top of the mountain. Our normal routine when stopping is to immediately obtain wifi passwords as our overnight accommodations font always had great signal and are part of the connected generation.
Once connected, my phone was pinging with alerts to be aware of a storm brewing in the south with possible projections of making an impact on our home island. Texting back and forth with our friends that have been pet sitting and enjoying their island retreat. I was typing out a list of the most important things to grab if an evacuation was ordered. Our black book that contains our important family documents, laptops, external hard drives, Sean’s cameras (mine are with me) and Sean’s mandolin. Most of this can fit in a plastic Rubbermaid container. We disconnected our wifi and continued to drive up the mountain till we turned the corner and saw the slight outline of the volcano faintly through the fog and clouds. Only few more kilometers, but traveling at 6 km per hour on a road made of softball sized rocks will still take a while. We then turned off the rocky road onto a beautiful hand laid stone paver road. This was definitely the most gorgeous road we’ve ever driven on in Costa Rica. Sean made a joke and said ” why don’t the do this all the way up?” A few turns later we busted out laughing as there was a while crew working on the road, in the rain at dusk hand laying each and every stone paver.
One last turn and we arrived at our destination. The fog had lifted just in time for us to see the active volcano in clear site. White steam vapor clouds were emitting from the top of the massive volcano. It was a gorgeous site and we all scrambled to snap pictures in the last few moments of daylight.
Knowing we wanted to wake up with the jungle in the morning, we all turned in to bed rather early. What seemed like only few hours later, I awoke. (But I did get great sleep on an extremely wonderful mattress) I stumbled on to the ceramic tile deck where the hand woven hammocks were hung to see that Baylie was already up early sending out a Facebook live video. The view was just breathtakingly gorgeous. As the light changed by the moment and the sounds of birds singing, chirping and flitting all around us we were all just amazed. Water drops glistened from colorful flower petals as dozens of hummingbirds visited as many blooms as they could. There was a growing buzz that got louder as the morning progressed as bees were pollinating the rainbow array gardens. As if that was not enough just a gaze in the distance revealed the lake to our left with the clouds mirror images being reflected in the water. Then to turn my head to the right the pink morning clouds lifted from the peak of the volcano revealing the continual white steam of steam reminding is that this is an active volcano. Taking photos left and right with both my phone and my camera. Really deciding that my phone is doing a much better job capturing the scenes around me than my expensive professional gear. We all continued to gasp as this was clearly one of the most beautiful sights I have ever viewed. It was soon time to move up to the front house, high on the knoll looking down into the lake valley. That is where our homemade breakfast was to be served. By now the sun was shining in full brightness and sunglasses were definitely needed. We continued to breathe in the beauty, not wanting to leave our location for the long drive ahead of us. We could hear Juan and his staff working in the kitchen preparing our breakfast. The aroma of fresh coffee being brewed permeated the air.Imagining that it is being made from beans that were plucked from only a few mountains over.
Our host explained that since we were only there for one night he wanted us to experience a very typical special Costa Rican breakfast. It was incredible! Starting with fresh pressed tropical fruit juices.He then cooked our eggs to order and made special corn cakes with natilla (kind of like sour cream) the pinto gallo (beans and rice) were presented on our plates in the shape of a volcano with a side if queso Blanco (white cheese). They really did go above and beyond to make our one meal with them extra special. After breakfast we had to pack up and hit the road as we had a long drive back to the city ahead.
Further reports were coming in about the impending storm headed to Tybee. We made our last texts of communication for a while and aaid Wed check back. Y evening.