I’m on the road for a few days as there are no guests staying at the Auberge for a week or so.
On the way to Palmar Norte on Saturday, I stopped off in Ojochal about 40’s km from where I’m staying. It is a French Canadian enclave and I had a delicious croissant. I met the owners Robert and Laura, who are from Montreal and the Eastern Townships. As I was sitting having my croissant, Robert arrived on his bike. they are both avid bikers and gave me some good advice on how best to get to San Vito. They invited me to come back and stay at their place.
I stayed an extra day to rest and wandered around the town. There was not much to see, but I did find a park with round stones all over the park. These are from the indigenous people and have some spiritual significance. You can see some samples on flickr.
Monday I headed off at 5:45 for San Vito a community at 1000 meters near Panama that was started in 1952 by 200 Italian families. The guide book says it looks a little like Tuscany. Well don’t book that ticket to San Vito just yet. I saw no Italians and no one singing opera. It was a beautiful and tough ride up from sea level to 1000 meters. I climbed over 1600 meters, which is over a mile. The scenery is beautiful and the mountain air is wonderful. Some of the time I was on a ridge looking down at a long drop on both sides. The scenery was quite beautiful, but hard to capture with the camera. In the distance I could see Armistad, which is one of the highest mountains in Costa Rica, but it was enshrouded in clouds.
The town is disappointing. I am not sure what happened to those 200 Italian families but it has been taken over by Ticos. It is apparently one of the poorest areas in CR.
I went to Pizzeria Lilliana for supper. Had a Marguerita pizza – the crust was too thick and the salad was ok. In the guide they had raved about their salads, but I am wondering if Lilliana is long gone. Anyway it was worth the ride in this beautiful part of the country, near Panama.
I’m staying another day here as my legs are very tired after yesterday’s ride. That is one of the toughest rides I have ever had. Walked around the town this morning and had a pretty good cup of coffee. When I went to pay, I realized I had left my wallet in the hotel room. So I showed them my key and explained that I would be back in 5 minutes. They took my name and were very trusting. All smiles when I returned. I’ll probably wander by there later for an espresso.
My MEC black T-shirt was stolen shortly after I arrived in Hatillo. I have looked in several shops but did not find anything to my liking, until lo and behold I saw a clothing shop last night and found the perfect cotton T on sale 40% off for $6.00. I feel like a $million wearing it.
So will nap, read, write and wander around. Back to Lilliana’s for some homemade pasta for supper, perhaps lasagna.
Tomorrow I will visit beautiful Wilsonbotanical gardens that I want to visit on my way back down to Neily. The 33 km ride back down to sea level is supposed to be spectacular. Then I’ll take 2 more days to head “home” with a stopover for lunch to visit those wonderful French Canadians in Ojochal.
In the photo album for Costa Rica you will see a strange looking animal – that’s a 3 toed sloth. I was cycling along the highway and came upon it trying to cross the road. I wasn’t sure how to help it as it was moving very slowly, when along came a Tico who picked it up by the spine the way you would a cat and carried it across the road. He very obligingly allowed me to get some great shots.