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Posts Tagged ‘Bus Rides’

 
Our group awoke early the next morning and piled into our sweet minibus to begin the long drive on the King’s Highway to Petra, stopping at various sites along the way.  We first visited Mt. Nebo, the place where Moses was given a view of the Promised Land from God to the Israelites.  It is said that God buried Moses here, although no one knows where his actual grave is.  The views were absolutely stunning and supposedly you can see Jerusalem on a really clear day.
View from Mount Nebo

 

What you're lookin' at

On the drive

 

We also stopped at various old churches, ruins, and a cheesy mosaic factory.  I have to admit that after Turkey, I was ‘churched out’ and didn’t pay much attention to our guide’s history lecture.  I like getting the basics, but dates, names, and other minute details don’t really register with me.  If someone begins a sentence with ‘During the year 100 B.C…’ my eyes glaze over and I immediately start thinking of what I want to eat for lunch.

Our last stop was the Kerak Castle, located in the predominately Christian town of Kerak in the biblical kingdom of Moab.  The castle dates back to the 12th century and is one of the best preserved Crusader castles in the region.  We spent a couple of hours wandering through the vast passageways and exploring the cavernous rooms and chambers.

 

Walking up to Kerak Castle

 

View from the top



After a long day of driving, we arrived in the town of Wadi Musa, the gateway to Petra.  The next day would be a long one in the sun and heat, so I had a couple of ridiculously expensive beers ($7 EACH!!) and called it an early night.

 

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Kelly and I decided the best way to familiarize ourselves with Buenos Aires was to take a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tour that stopped at various points of interest around the city. Aside from the bus being thirty minutes late at each stop, it was a great way to see the town.

The first stop on our Buenos Aires Bus tour was the barrio of La Boca, a working class neighborhood and old port district with brightly painted buildings. It is also home of the soccer team La Boca Juniors, a team that the locals are incredibly passionate about. Artists and tango dancers line the ‘Caminito’ (a pedestrian street), selling their work and showing off their moves. Kelly and I spent the morning strolling down the Caminito, popping our heads into the various souvenir shops and had a lunch of chorizo and empanadas at an outdoor parilla. Oh, and Kelly got hit on by a police officer.

The Colorful Buildings of La Boca

The Colorful Buildings of La Boca

Me on the Caminito

Me on the Caminito

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Us Waiting for the Bus

Us Waiting for the Bus

We then set out to the swanky neighborhood of Recoleta to explore the infamous Recoleta cemetery, where many of Argentina‘s most prestigious citizens are buried, including Eva Peron. Much like in New Orleans, all of the graves are above ground and are ornately decorated, each more extravagant than the next. Kelly and I meandered through the alleys of graves, trying to find Evita’s…it didn’t take long to spot once we decided to follow the other tourists that were flocking to one particular marker.

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Evita's Grave

Evita's Grave

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After our long day of sight-seeing, Kelly and I headed back to San Telmo for a chill night at the apartment. We had to save up our energy for the nights of drunken debauchery that would take place when Kelly’s friend Staci was in town…

 

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And So It Begins

After a long day of flying (two layovers…UGH) Kelly and I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around 9 p.m.  My friend Leticia has family in Costa Rica, so her lovely cousin Yesenia offered to pick us up from the airport and host us in her home for our first two nights.  This was a great way for Kelly and me to ease into a new city and culture at the start of our trip. 

Yesenia and her son Andres live in Santo Tomas de Santo Domingo de Heredia, a small community outside of San Jose, surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations.  Our first day in Costa Rica, we got a coffee plantation `tour´ from Yesenia´s dad, ate a cheap lunch and played with Andres at InBioparque (a biological park),  had coffee and yummy pastries at a mountain cafe, and were basically spoiled rotten by Yesenia.  She served us a delicious breakfast of the typical Costa Rican tamale and made us ravioli and tomato sauce from scratch for dinner.  We hope all of the food is Costa Rica is this good! 

Kelly and Yesenia´s dad on the coffee plantation

Kelly and Yesenia´s dad on the coffee plantation

Our yummy lunch at InBioparque

Our yummy lunch at InBioparque

Kim, Andres, and Yesenia at InBioparque

Kim, Andres, and Yesenia at InBioparque

Us and Andres at the Cafe

Us and Andres at the Cafe

The view from Yesenia´s house

The view from Yesenia´s house

The next morning, Yesenia drove us to San Jose to catch a bus to La Fortuna.  Downtown San Jose is complete chaos.  After asking several locals for directions and receiving five different answers, a taxi driver graciously led us to the station.  Kelly and I would have been totally lost if it wasn´t for Yesenia.  We were so happy to have her as our guide. 

We then had a bus ride from hell to La Fortuna.  What should have taken 4 hours ended up taking 6 and a half because of some stalled cars in the road.  It was crowded, hot, and rainy and I swore we were going to plunge off the side of the mountain two or three times.  On top of that, an American that we befriended on the bus had his backpack stolen from the overhead compartment.     Fortunately, Kelly and I had a seat so we didn´t have to stand up the whole time and we did manage to make friends with 2 guys from DC and 2 Swiss girls. 

All of us ended up staying at the same hostel in La Fortuna, Gringo Pete´s, for less than $5 a night.  For a private room.  For both of us.  Awesome.  One of the DC guys made us a yummy chicken curry dinner (seriously, food has been handed to us since we´ve been here) and we spent the night drinking and playing games with everyone at the hostel.

Some things about Costa Rica that we´ve noticed so far:

-There are no numerical addresses here.  Their addresses are `the house at the end of the street, three houses from the bakery, next to the house with the green roof…´

-The coffee is delicious.

-It gets dark by 5:30 p.m. year round.

-There are bugs everywhere, but they are friendly.

-The traffic in San Jose is horrible and people drive CRAZY.

Today we are going to see the Arenal Volcano and take a swim in the hot springs.  We´ll bring everyone up to speed in a few more days!

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