Duñia decided to stay home and rest today. So Ruben drove us to the church at about 7:00 this morning. It was lucky that he said we had 5 more minutes before we left because I almost forgot that my camera was still on the charge.
We met everybody else at the church in Tilarán. The first place we stopped was the Arenal Dam. Omar had been very instrumental with the construction of this dam. It took 5 years to build and was completed in 1979. Omar gave us a lot of information about the construction of the dam and I tried to take notes but it was easier to use the internet for the following information. Lake Arenal was enlarged to 3 times its original size to form a basin for the hydroelectric project that now produces 70% of Costa Rica’s electricity with an area of 85.5km (33 sq. miles). Water depth generally varies between 100 and 200 feet. Omar did explain that the lake was like a swamp and they had to use a Columbian company to help clear the swamp and put in a firm base. They make use of a well that is 60 meters deep to release water under the well and prevent too much water pressure on the dam.
We were on the road over the dam and it was too difficult to get a photo of the dam so I found this one on the web.
Next we drove to Mistico Park. Jouquin had to negotiate to get our tickets because the park messed up our reservation. He was successful but our Ticos hosts except, for Judith, were not able to go with us. We only had about an hour to explore the tropical rain forest. The first thing we passed was a bee hotel which we found interesting because of what we learned during our tour at the National College in Liberia.
There were many hanging bridges that were fun to cross. We searched fo animals and birds and I took many photos of what I found interesting as we explored the park.
I think this is called a bird of paradise.
Barbara caught a shot of the hummingbird as we were entering the park.
I really liked the tree roots.
This is just one view of the rain forest.
I asked somebody to take this photo of Barbara and I because I loved this tree trunk.
Then Barbara noticed the bee hive in the trunk. This entry is made out of honey. Facinating.
We crossed many, many hanging bridges. Sometimes we had to wait our turn because there were people already on the bridge and they regulate how many can go at one time.
On disappointment was that because of our time restriction, we did not get to go to the waterfall.
I took a photo of Susan, Janice, and Ann after they walked through the tunnel.
Then Barbara and I took photos of each other.
I continued taking photos of things I loved seeing.
At one point we passed a group of people who were looking through a telescope. When I asked to take a peak so I could see where to focus my camera, the guide told me it was a private tour. Barbara heard them say that they had seen an eagle. Bummer for us.
But we did come upon a Bobo Chizo. Barbara and I each photographed it.
Barbara got a better photo showing the color of the tail.
Just one more flower.
Mistico Park was certainly beautiful but it was disappointing to have such a short time there. I could have stayed for hours and if we were on our own, Barbara and I would have taken a private tour because the guides are better at finding wildlife and telling us about what we see.
We had lunch in the restaurant. I ordered garlic pescado. Wow. It was delicious but i don’t think I have every had that much garlic at once. I had to ask Lee for 3 of her Altoid Mints so I didn’t blow everybody away with the smell of garlic.
Our next adventure was at the Touristic Center los Heroes. Los Heroes is a place which has evolved from a cow stable into a replica of a quaint Swiss village.
These flowers were beautiful.
It is hard to see any details of the bird on the roof, but I can’t resist taking photos of birds.
The Los Heroes property has its own train station located behind the hotel. In the 1980’s the visionary owner imported the materials from Switzerland to build the two mile long railroad which we had the opportunity to experience.
There were only 2 open cars. I had fun taking photos.
Shortly after the ride began, I noticed that we were going to go through a tunnel.
Although the volcano was clouded over, there were views of Lake Arenal.
I really liked this bridge which I later learned was built before the tracks were installed.
This photo shows the tracks first going under the bridge.
Then we curved around and went over the bridge.
At one point, Victor, the conductor, had to switche the track.
Then he drove the engine around …..
…and attached it to the back of the train….
…and we were off again. At this point I decided to step onto the outside platform for better views. I lent Barbara one of my hankies and we both wore them to keep from smelling the fumes.
I guess the train knows how to stay on the tracks because Victor was very busy on his cell phone.
We rode for several minutes like this.
This railroad brought us up the hillside to the rondorama revolving restaurant!
We learned about the construction of the railroad and the Maleku people and posed for photos with the statue.
I believe that I heard that the material in this section of the open wall was from a very old volcano on the bottom and a more recent one since then.
They served us desserts, tea, and coffee in the revolving restaurant. I am eating so much – way too much – on this trip.
Several of us tried to play this instrument. I was not very successful but others were.
We had another group photo taken.
This is a view of the bridge from the top.
We thought it was time to go back to our houses but first they took us to a beautiful property on the lake where some people have begun to construct a restaurant.
There was a 300 to 400 year old Banyn tree on the property.
Several of us wanted to go hug this tree and we asked Omar to take our photo in front of it.
There were more beautiful flowers.
Some of the people were boarding the van. I was so glad we had stayed long enough to see the sun set.
It seemed like a long ride back to Tilaran. Ruben and Marija picked us up from in front of the church and drove us back to Cañas. Duñia had made another delicious dinner and surprisingly enough, we were both very hungry. It was fun having dinner with everybody.
Tomorrow is another day when I don;t have to get up early so I guess staying up until after 1:00 AM to finish this post is not to bad.