Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm back!

Ben and I are finally back from the honeymoon and are just over the moon with how much fun we had. We took tons of photos and it was hard to edit them down (although made slightly easier by my tendency to take blurry pictures), but I wanted to show you a bunch of them and tell you of our adventures in Costa Rica!

We started off in San Jose and was surprised at how European it felt, despite the palm trees and hoards of squawking green parrots sprinkled on the ledges of buildings like pigeons. Nice architecture and cute garbage cans. My favorite was the wheel barrel the maintenance guy was pushing around the park.

This may look like a ramshackle place to live, and maybe it is, but these people didn't look poor.

Look at the nice ride this guy has. I wouldn't mind owning a nice motorcycle. Vroom vroom! But I think I like his pile of pretty sticks better.

During our first day there we visited the Land of Oz. Or at least that's what it felt like. This red paved road lead us not to the Emerald City, but on a winding journey through the cloud forest, which also reminded me of a particularly challenging level of Super Mario Brothers 3. The mist and moisture in the air made us feel alive and the vines very well possibly could have reached out at any moment and wrapped themselves around our legs. ...maybe.

That thought didn't stop me from adventuring off the beaten path and onto one where I had to duck and almost crawl. It led to the edge of the mountainside with a pretty view of the sulfur lake below that our guide claimed would melt your hand off if you stuck it in the "water".

Our next destination was Torteguero, a very remote place on the Caribbean side of the country. The only way to get there was by plane or boat. We took the boat, which went fast and still took an hour and a half to reach the village. I couldn't imagine living in such a remote place, but it was spectacular to visit. We saw a sea turtle lay her eggs at night and return to the ocean. I saw schools of speckled puffer fish around the dock. Fiddler crabs, weird looking spiders, giant spiders, crazy plants, a bald chicken, armies of leaf cutter ants and funny little huts. But the strangest thing I saw in Torteguero? A random creepy clown head trash bin in the middle of the village. Weird.

We took multiple boat tours and saw and experienced amazing wildlife. Monkeys jumped over our boat from tree to tree...I really thought they were going to fall into the water! Caimans and crocs (one guy fed wild crocs by hand...eek!) Buzzards and herons and egrets and spoonbills. And sloths!! I swear that the top middle picture shows a three toed sloth holding tight to a tree top. So cute!

We spent lots of time driving on the up and down winding roads of Costa Rica and saw many amazing things from our window. Like this tunnel of sheer cliffs thick with vegetation.

And this herd of water buffalo (domestic, not wild). What? You only see one buffalo? There are about a dozen more buffalo wedged inside a narrow ditch. And believe it or not, that one last buffalo manages to squeeze herself into the ditch as well. Weird!

Our next stop was Arenal. This was the view from our cottage. The Arenal volcano was amazing and sooooo huge! It was looming wherever you went!
We also got to sit in the hot springs, which was this amazing series of pools that were hot hot hot! They even had lounge chairs and bar stools that were under water. We were at the top of the mountain in the highest volcano heated pool when the rain forest unleashed it's name sake and lightening and thunder and sheets of hard rain poured down. It felt good while we were still sitting in the burning hot springs, but the fear of lightening had us out in a jiffy. We ran down the hill until we stumbled upon a little building with people hiding from the rain under the eaves. We looked for a clear spot for ourselves and as we circled the building, we found a door. I didn't think twice to open it and inside was a completely empty sauna. It was a like a hidden treasure that the crowd outside had missed in plain sight. It was a very nice place to wait out the storm. :)

The flowers were amazing. This is only a teensy portion of the unusual specimens we saw.

The pastures and fields and rolling hills were breathtaking.

We even got to see an iguana tree! A tree you could pluck iguanas off like fruit! The tour guide explained that a nearby restaurant throws out their leftovers and so the iguanas have made a permanent home there. There were hundreds of them! Big too.

On our way to our final destination, we stopped at some hanging bridges, which could have been my favorite part of the trip. Long bridges, way high up in the canopy with sights and views to behold. But of course my favorite part was seeing all the creatures and creations of the rain forest.

Including some strange trees. Like the top left corner photo - a giant tree like fern! Very prehistoric.

We saw plenty of bugs along the way too. Colorful cocoons at a butterfly farm. Big beetles and strange hairy spiders.

And can you believe the jagged terrain of this landscape?? It was so hard to walk on!

Just kidding! It's a tree trunk! A very thorny, ouchy one.

Handsome Ben.

Our last stop was on the Pacific Coast in another fairly remote location at an utterly breathtaking resort with a pool that went on forever and an ocean so warm I didn't have to hesitate before jumping in!

And the tide pools were heavenly!!! When I was a kid I had to decide which of my passions to make a career out or animals. I chose the former of course, but boy...when I find a good tide pool, it's impossible to pull me away. I found sea slugs, sea cucumbers, sea stars, cone snails (very toxic), conches, blennys (who are very curious little fish and stared at me the whole time I was in their territory, it was quite funny), and a huge variety of crabs, and so much more!!!

And boy did I see crabs. Hermits crabs filled the beach after dark and I went out there with my head light and watched them scurry about. Ben and I also ran into a very defensive crab (on the left) in the dark and didn't really get to see what he looked like until we saw the photo Ben took. Good thing we didn't step on him! And during our stay in Torteguero, we had a crab neighbor (middle) who was considerably far from the ocean, but didn't stray far from his hole in the ground.

And the food was really great! I'm a sucker for buffets, which we had a lot of (you get to have a little bit of everything) and during our stay at the luxury hotel, they happened to seat us at the same exact table three time in a row, so of course it became "our" table.

We had a great time and are glad to be home and settling back into normal life (I can't believe August is almost over!). I'll be working on Halloween goodies soon, so stay tuned for an update!! :)


Jessica Burko said...

Welcome back! Looks like it was an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing all the details and the beautiful pics!

T Witz said...

Great pics and stories! So happy for you two.

A Rose Without A Thorn said...

What a wonderful time you had on your honeymoon. The pics were great and it was so nice to see some of the places that you went too.

My favourite was the rock pool as we call them in England. I love looking in rock pools for hours and used to do this in Ireland at a place called Ringhaddy, the best rock pools.

Wonderful to have you back and I know we will begin to see some new creations. Say hello to Ben, blessings always, Maureen.

sMacThoughts said...

Where did Summer go, I know!! This looks like a spectacular choice for Honeymooning. Thanks for showing us everything!

GrayFlannel said...

Welcome back. I'm glad you had a great time and thanks for sharing!

Lorraine Young Pottery said...

That does look like a unique honeymoon. I noticed the same things when you look at photos of houses taken in some countries they can look a bit shanty. However that is the norm for that country and these people spend most of the time out in glorious nature. Which you also captured in your photos.
Thanks for sharing!

x Lorraine x

Flirty and Thirty said...

You did a great recap of the trip. It was a great time!