Friday, March 16, 2012

Uh Oh...

...I really did have every intention of posting all about our trip to Nicaragua, just as I promised to earlier this week. Alas, I failed.

Nicaragua was one of the most over-stimulating photographic experiences I've had in awhile. We were so immersed in color and light and beauty that I was a bit beside myself...and therefore I took a helluva lot of photographs. Sorting through them has been a bit more time-consuming that I thought...

In addition to the fact that we've been lucky enough to have our friend Jay and his brother Neil here for a visit all week! We've loved getting to show them our favorite aspects of this sweet little town of Montezuma.

So, all this to say...Granada, Nicaragua is coming soon. (This time I'm being serious.) Until then, here's a sneak peak...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Witch's Rock

This was a day of surfing...and a day of funny adventures. (Funny, of course, only after the fact. At the time, I allowed myself to be quite stressed.)

But...let's start on a high note, shall we?

As this was how our day began...
And ain't nobody complaining or stressing with that as the view.
After spending our previous days at Playa Dantita, we decided to try out the local surf. Julia had planned this leg of out adventure around the fact that some of Costa Rica's best surfing is just a boat ride away.
(If you're reading that and thinking some novices like us might not be ready for the best surfing this country has to offer...then cue the ominous music.)
Witch's Rock and Ollie's Point are located off the coast, and in order to reach them you have to charter a boat. So, our day began at 5 in the a.m. with our surfboards in a boat.
For those of you who have been listening to the ominous music being played as a result of the thought of the two of us hitting the big bad surf...I'll put your fears at ease. No humans were harmed in the making of this.
That said, we had a hell of a good time trying. Maybe I should speak for myself...I think Julia was a bit daunted by some of the day's waves.

After arriving at Witch's Rock, it didn't take long for us to realize that these waves were more powerful than any we had experienced before. And I'll be honest...I wasn't exactly "hanging ten". But, I loved every minute.
Here's the ol' Rock in all her glory...
It was a lot of fun being in a boat and getting to see the coast from such a different perspective.
Julia took a few pics of me at Ollie's Point. Needless to say, she wasn't able to get many of me actually on the waves. But I promise I came close!
If nothing else, I feel cool just being able to say that I made it out to such esteemed surfing points...even if all my stubborn attempts to actually ride the waves often resulted in me falling off the board and coming out of the water grinning.

As I mentioned before, this day was not without funny adventures. And yes, that involves more funny adventures than just my surfing attempts. Since this was our last day in Playas del Coco, we also needed to return our rental car and buy our bus tickets for our trip to Nicaragua the following day. Leave it up to us to try to fit all that in on one day!

This is Costa Rica...where no one is ever in a hurry. Of course we got back from surfing late, which meant that we had to speed over to the next town to get the rental car returned. Once Goldie was safe and sound, we had to find a way to get from the airport rental car agency into town to buy tickets before the ticket office closed at 5. And I was getting nervous.

We planned on calling a taxi, which of course didn't arrive. Yep, still nervous. Sweet Julia, cool as a cucumber under pressure, kept reminding me that it would all work out. Yep, she was right. The man from the rental car agency then offered to drive us into town...which turned out to be a blessing in more than one way. We had previously been given the wrong name of the hotel where tickets were trusty rental car man busted out his phone and got the real skinny for us.  We arrived, in plenty of time, and got our tickets for the bus. Nervous for nothin'...
The ticket office was next door to a sweet little cafe and art gallery...
And considering that we hadn't eaten since breakfast, we were pretty pumped to find this spot. It sure was nice to be sitting down in one place after so much running around. 

After dinner, we walked through Liberia, which is a really great little town. 
A long day. But, a damn good one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Playa Dantita...a lil' Slice of Heaven

After our roadtip, and arriving in the happy little town of Playas del Coco, we quickly realized we would not be spending much time in the town environs. Julia had so carefully picked this spot, for its restaurants and surfing proximity...but somehow the guidebooks failed to mention the fact that the town itself feels a bit like Daytona Beach. (No offense to those of you who get excited by rednecks and advertised shrimp buffet dinners...but that just ain’t our cup of tea.) Oh dear.

Thankfully, our friend Sue had told us about a little beach nearby...where we happily proceeded to spend the next three days.

After a short, but bumpy, drive through the hills, the road opened up onto this...
...and we both proceed to gasp. It was a glorious spot, to say the least.

Sure do love this one...
Playa Dantita was more than wonderful. There was a great little restaurant right on the beach. I was sold even before I read the word cheeseburger on the menu.
It felt like we had found a little haven...each day, there were no more than two dozen other people there. And there was a surf outfitter shop that rented kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling gear.
For the next three days, we kept coming back to Playa Dantita...and we spent our days swimming, snorkeling, eating cheeseburgers, and learning to paddleboard. I LOVE paddleboarding...and I was quick to point out that I’ve decided I’m happy as a clam doing just about any activity in the water.
Loving every minute.

Thin Places.

My friend Eden (whose birthday is today! Woop Woop.) sent me this article...and I just love it.

It is so descriptive of the glory of travel, and so aptly describes my love for exploring. Our travels have been full of 'thin places', and for that I simply couldn't be anymore thankful.

"I’m drawn to places that beguile and inspire, sedate and stir, places where, for a few blissful moments I loosen my death grip on life, and can breathe again." 

Oh, yes.

Granada, Nicaragua is most definitely a 'thin place'...and one that I'm so excited to share with you...tomorrow!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Road Trip with Goldie

I figure it’s high time that I gave you the skinny on our fantastic month of travel.

(I make that statement as though I have hundreds of loyal followers anxiously awaiting my next update...which is, let’s be honest, far from the case. Despite the fact that no one really comments on these posts, or the fact that I have a meager fifteen followers, I am often encouraged to post by people telling me that they’ve been waiting for an update! Who knew? Even if it’s only an occasional reader, I’ll take what I can get!)

Our adventures began in a shiny, gold rental car, affectionately titled “Goldie.” Oh, how I loved Goldie. After months and months of bus travel, I felt like a rockstar being chauffeured. Don’t get me wrong...I’ve been thankful for our cheap bus travel, as it’s certainly gotten us where we’ve needed to go. However, I began to love it a little less once I discovered my tendency towards motion sickness when being propelled over curvy mountain roads at high speeds. I’ll spare you from any other details...let’s just say, I was quite thankful for a change of pace. 

Julia was quick to poke fun at my I was literally posing for pictures inside the car.

This little beach we passed and couldn’t help but was so beautiful and so deserted.
Our drive was full of amazing sights, and it was quite a thrill for me as a photographer to be able to stop for a photo any ol’ time I wanted. It was unbelievable just how many different landscapes we passed.

This time of year, most of the trees are in full bloom...
The drive was not without one point, we spent a full half hour on the buuuuuuummmmpppppppppppiest rooooaaaaaaaaddddd I’ve ever experienced. When we finally hit concrete again, we both felt like we could breathe...simultaneously amazed that our heads were still attached to our bodies.
After passing through coastal towns, we found ourselves surrounded by farmland. It was really so beautiful to see fields of cas and watermelon on all sides.
I've never seen so many watermelons in one place. After each turn in the road, there was yet another watermelon stand. These folks are lovin' watermelons...
Our drive was really wonderful...we both loved getting to go at our own pace, exploring so many different aspects of this fine country. 

The only downside is the reality that it's going to be awfully hard to get on another bus...