Costa Rica and Copenhagen

Costa Rica
Thursday, April 7th. - 10th.
Early this morning we leave to fly to Costa Rica. We had planned to come through the Panama Canal this season and sail north to the west coast of Costa Rica until we realized we hadn´t allowed enough time to do this now. We decided to visit here on the way home instead.

Costa Rica was discovered 5oo years ago by Columbus. It is small in size and well populated. They have remained independent since the 1850´s with the 150 year old constitution.

We have the most wonderful few days here staying with Maritza. We met some years ago on another trip when she was then the Costa Rican ambassador in Buenos Aires, and was traveling with her daughter and grand-daughter. We had hoped they could join us to sail in the Caribbean but we are planning for them to meet us somewhere next year.

The helicopter we travel in to see the east coast

The highlight here is a helicopter ride. We passed over San Jose´to the west (Pacific ) coast via the Carara forest where we saw crocodiles and a flock of macaw parrots. It was very interesting for us to fly over some of the west coast and parts of Puntaramus where we had planned to bring the boat. The coastline here is spectacular.

Crocodiles being feed under the bridge

We also fly over Cartago, the old capitol, which was ruined by a volcano in 1910. We pass over many of the traditional crops of sugar cane and coffee.

Maritza, in flight

Flying towards the west coast

The west coast

A protected resort on the west coast

Rugged coastline

The new stadium donated by the Chinese government

It is special for us to meet Maritzer´s family. Her grandchildren are lovely and make us realize how much we are looking forward to seeing our own family again very soon.

Relaxing in Maritza´s home

A visit to The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is very worthwhile. It not only shows the gold working skills of this era in Costa Rica but also the function of these pieces and their relationship to nature and daily life in these communities.
Ross particularly enoys Jose´Sancho´s sculture exhibition using different mediums and subjects.
San Jose´Theatre

Blossom out in the city square

The second day here the plan is to hike up to the crater of an active volcano. it is raining up there with poor visibility so instead we visit the Lapaz Waterfall Gardens. One advantage in San Jose´is how quickly you can drive out of the city passing through areas of beautiful flowers, including masses of hydrangeas, then through coffee growing areas and then farmland with cattle as you start to climb up the surrounding mountains.

Anna with oxen

At the base of the waterfalls

At the base of the waterfalls

Delicious fresh strawberries at the roadside stall

Near the base of the waterfall we pass through a small town which suffered badly in a recent earthquake. Forty families lost their homes and many people died. This area used to be like paradise for Maritza so she is saddened to see all the devastation. The roads are still very difficult to drive over and there is very little money with their poor economy to fix them.You can see huge areas of terracing where everything had been cracked open. You can still see many open cracks in the land and by the roads. Re-building has begun but it will take a long time.
Fresh fruit stalls are setup on the road side. The fresh strawberries we have are fresh and full of

Walking through the forest

The falls are in a rainforest with arborial ferns everywhere. It is all lush green. Walking through the Nature park here is a great experience, seeing the animals and birds that inhabit this forest. eg. seeing the macaw parrots close up, walking through the beautiful large iridescent blue butterflies, viewing the tre-toed sloth, feeding the toucan birds and observing the hummingbirds and many varieties of fascinating and colourful frogs.

Macaw parrots

Toucan bird

One of many beautiful birds

Brightly coloured frog

The famous vibrant blue butterflies here

One of the many varieties of orchids here

It is disappointing that security is such an issue now in Costa Rica. Drugs are causing a huge problem and the crime rate is high. We are warned not to wear any jewelry or watches down town and houses have to be securely locked and protected with alarm systems. Large gardens are surrounded by high fences and electrified wires. The geographical position of Costa Rica between the Panama and further north in America is one of the problems here.

Sunday , 11th. April
This morning we set off for several flights to Copenhagen. We are very excited to know we will soon be with Scott, Jeanette, Augusta and Lily.

It is an early morning flight from Costa Rica to Caracas in Venezuela. We do not enjoy this stop over at all and are very pleased when we leave. We are only here for 3 1/2 hours and i takes us 3 hours to organize ourselves for the next flight. We feel uneasy here with men constantly telling us where to go and what to do and then requesting money for their efforts. Ross also has difficulties in finding an ATM that works for him. We decide we would not want to return here to travel and have since heard facts which would endorse this view.

Soon we are on our way to Copenhagen via London. We stay at the airport hotel in London to catch up on sleep and just have a few hours to visit and walk round Windsor which is close by. It is a lovely spring day here with the blossom coming out, and we enjoy a pub lunch near the Long Walk.

The Long Walk, looking back to Windsor castle

We thoroughly enjoy every minute of our time in Copenhagen with Scott, Jeanette and the girls. It is always a special time being here with them and it is amazing how much we fit into just a few days.

Helping Farfar with the parking meter

Lily walking to kinder with Farfar

Visit to the Explanatorium with Augusta and Lily

Augusta doing gymnastiques with Farfar

Augusta and Lily cooking pancake with Scott

We visit the King´s castle and gardens and see the Royal jewels, which are exquisite. There is great excitement generally with the royal christening for the twins Vincent and Josephine on one of these days.

Ross and I have both found this a great season of traveling filled with new adventures and challenges, and are now on our way to enjoy being at home.