Sunday, December 16, 2012

In San Jose

I have now been in Costa Rica for almost 24 hours, and am just enchanted with the place; its natural beauty and its friendly and relaxed people. I rode to Poas Volcano national park today, about 35 km horizontally and 1500 m vertically from Alajuela, where my host family lives. Although I must say the continuous grade was quite a challenge, it was a joy to ride through the tropical forests which changed character continuously with increasing elevation, through villages with their small, neat shops and sodas, and past fields of tropical flowers and plots of coffee, neatly tied in rows like the grapevines of my home. Not unexpectedly, Poas volcano itself was invisible because of the clouds capping the mountain. The cloud forests and valley mists were, however, spectacular. In the dense forests, ferns, moss, and bromiliads competed for every available tree limb. The swirling mist gave an unworldly quality to everything, and almost seemed to enforce a hush over the forest. The ride home was spectacular. Never before have I ridden 30 km without pedaling and with the brakes on continually. Few photos, I'm afraid, because I really needed both hands on the bars! The birds called to each other in the gathering evening, and the colors of the low sun and clouds were spectacular. The day concluded with an evening ride through busy, chattery Alajuela and a delicious and satisfying meal prepaid by my host, Margarita. Photos from the day: Tomorrow's adventure: Arenal!

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