The other day, we ventured out to Arenal National Park.
It was kind of weird how it happened.
We intended to go to the Arenal observatory ($4 entrance with hiking, swimming and $8 horse rentals)
But, we got confused and ended up at the National Park instead. ($10 entrance, no swimming or horses.)
It was all okay, because we would have come here eventually anyway, and we ended up making some friends this day... so it worked out!
Here we are, waiting at the bus stop for our $1.50 ride down the road.
(side note: everyone told us "the buses in Costa Rica are so nice! They're all air conditioned and just a really nice experience." We have yet to ride in an air con bus...)
On the bus ride, we met Leschek and his partner (Polish men who were smitten with T) and Jacqueline and Daniel, two German researchers.
Here we are, piling off the bus and getting situated for our big day. We walked about 2 miles from the bus stop to the entrance of the park, then another mile from the entrance to the trail head, then we began our 6k loop. Needless to say, we had a lot of time to converse with our new friends. One of my favorite things about travelling is that we meet people like ourselves! It is refreshing to not feel like we are doing something crazy, but instead be in company with others who are adventurous, open minded, and eager to explore.
Lescheck had some questions for us about English words.
"What is the difference between:
"What is the difference between:
He was so confused!
I still haven't gotten sick of this volcano view. It looks just a little bit different every day depending on the weather, and we love it!
"Zone of high volcanic risk!" lol, we weren't really scared.
Because the volcano is active (open and releasing gasses and a bit of other debris) it is not expected to combust at any time.
We tried some new granola bars which were not that good. We had planned to get lunch at the observatory, but since we didn't end up there, we had no lunch options. This was the best we had!
Now this is Costa Rican jungle!
Leschek's partner (who's name I won't even try to spell) is a volcanologist-- he studies/teaches about volcanoes. It was nice to have him along to explain a few things to us about the volcanic rocks and timing of how volcanoes work.
Beautiful Lake Arenal from the most recent lava flow in 1993.
She got pretty tired, clearly:
Jacqeline and Daniel both have their PHDs and have worked as researchers at a University near Munich. Apparently you can only research in 6 year stints, because they both just finished their time and now need to search for new jobs. Why not go to Central America for 6 weeks in the meantime??? These are our kind of people! They have been to SE Asia 3x so we had lots to talk about, in addition to grilling them on their travel experiences in CR's neighboring countries. We laughed about how our friends at home think we must be "rich" to do something like this, and we compared budget notes and only talked about politics a little!
Jacqueline is T's new BFF. She would not release her finger!
Can you believe the size of that tree trunk?
After our big day out (8am-2pm) we found ourselves back at the bus stop waiting for the city bus to come back around. It only comes twice a day, so it was very important that we be timely! T was tuckered out again, so she took a rest in her backpack.
As we parted with Leschek he said, "Give T a hug and a kiss every day from her two big, fat, bald, Polish uncles!"
A great day to be alive!