Saturday, January 30, 2010

Volcan Barva

Last night, my friend Andy and I went to the mall to watch a movie. It is one of the nicest malls I have ever been in, and it felt exactly like being back in the states. If I get homesick, that is where I am going, although I am going to have to be prepared for culture shock again when I leave. Wow.
I am continually reminded that I have the best host mom ever! I mentioned earlier this week that I wanted to go to Volcan Barva, or the Barva Volcano (Barva is the county and city that I live in). She told me to find two friends and she would drive us up there. I didn't realize she would do the more than 8 mile trek up and down the mountain, too! It was so kind of her to take us. We got back about 2:30 this afternoon after being gone for 6 hours. What a trip! Everyone is ready for a nap, as it was a long climb up and down. Going to be sore tomorrow!

This is where we parked our car. Note where the clouds are. We are just at or slightly below the clouds. There is a great view of the entire Central Valley. We noticed very quickly that oxygen was very scarce with a long way to go.

We might be halfway to the entrance of the park at this point. Again, look at the clouds. Now we are slightly above.

Here, we have finally made it to the park. Foreigners usually pay much more, but remember that I said before that my host mom is a pretty good sweet talker. We got a 50% reduction on the entrance fee! At this point it is practically a rain forest. Moss covered everything!

We are almost there! What is amazing at this point is that the it can get down to almost freezing at night because of the elevation. The highest temperatures may not even be 70 degrees, but it is always green.

FINALLY! This is the basin of the volcano (don't worry, as you can tell it is now extinct!). It makes a pristine little lake now, thousands of years later.

From the edge of the water we followed another trail to the very top of the mountain. Words (and especially pictures) can not capture the true beauty of this view. Now look where the clouds are...we are well above them! Click on this pic for a larger is worth it.

And, of course, we had to stop to take pictures of these cows waiting to be milked on our way down the mountain. It seems that all of the dairies in this country are in the mountains, because it is too hot in the lower areas for dairy cows. Talk about dairy cows with a view! (I know, it is strange that after everything I saw today, this is one of the most exciting parts. Sorry.)
Now it is time to relax, and get ready to cheer on the KSU Wildcats tonight. Beat the KU Chickenhawks!
Pura Vida,

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