Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Parque de las Esferas Indigenas de Piedra and Boating on Rio Sierpe – Feb 15


Before I begin writing about this amazing day, I am going to clarify about Emilia’s car not being towed.  This morning I asked Pablo, Emilia’s brother what Licda meant in front of her name on my schedule.  He said that she was a federal judge.  That is perhaps why the police did not tow her car last night.  It could be that when they looked up the license plate, they recognized her name.  Emilia was a criminal justice judge.

We had a long (maybe 3 hour) bus ride today.  We passed fields of pineapples and the Ticos explained about how they burn the fields in between plantings.

At our first stop we noticed this moth on a bench.

The photo of my hand with the moth better identifies its size.

They were selling ice-cream at this stop and I could not resist.

We had a very interesting experience today on the bus.  A police officer entered the bus and wanted to see everybody’s passport.  It could be because we were not far from the Panama border. I carry my passport every single day, but not today.  I chose not to take it today because I had not needed it yet and we were going on the boat. I have not idea why I didn’t take the laminated copy of my passport that I have in my suitcase.  I was not the only one without a passport or a copy of one but I was very thankful that I had taken my driver’s license with me.  He spent time checking each of us.

The officer was very nice – so nice that he actually allowed us to take photos with him. It was Elise’s idea but Barbara and I followed suit.

The museum connect to the Parque de las Esferas Indigenas de Piedra was very interesting and we spent some time inside learning about birds and animals of this area and reading about the stones in the park.

We walked through the area.  The temperature was very high and all of us were very, very warm.

Several of us liked watching the cutter ants building their nests which we called, “Condo Nests.”

I took a photo of the seeds from a Balsa Wood tree.  Elise collected some of these.

There were banana plantations in this area and this structure remains.  It is what was used to move the banana bunches.

Finally we came upon the spheres.  It was easier for me to look up the information on the web than to type everything that I read on the signs

There are actually more than five-hundred pre-Columbian petreospheres (the name for any spherical man-made object of any size that is composed of stone) in Costa Rica.

The spheres are considered unique in the world because of their number, size, perfection, formation of organized schemes and abstraction outside of natural models. Its great value is that they were made under technological and social conditions considered very difficult today. However, the indigenous societies that sculpted them did so almost perfectly, with very fine finishes in many cases, and with sizes ranging from a few centimeters to about 2.6 meters in diameter. The spheres were produced and used during a period from 400 to 500 AD, until the Spanish conquest in a period close to 1000 years.

The stone spheres were discovered in1939, when the American banana company United Fruit Company began to deforest those territories to grow bananas. Since then they were considered a mystery and the Americans dynamited some of them, because of the belief that there could be gold inside.

Since 1970 the authorities of the Government of Costa Rica have protected pre-Columbian stone spheres and their locations.

The dimensions of the spheres range from 10 centimeters to 2.57 meters in diameter, and their weight exceeds 16 tons. Archaeologists estimate that the stones were located by the natives of the area between the years 300 BC and 300 AD, but the sculptural work has not yet been scientifically dated. 

At present, the stone spheres are considered as the artistic manifestation par excellence of the pre-Columbian Costa Rican sculpture. They were declared a UNESCO site and on July 16, 2014 the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica declared them as a national symbol.

Here are the photos I took.

Taking a photo of Elise and asking her to take one of me helped to show the size of the ones on this property.

.Some were not spherical.

An interesting point is that the stone spheres are closely linked to the collective memory of Costa Ricans, who make reproductions in stone, bronze, steel, glass and reinforced concrete, to locate at the entrance of houses and institutions and indicate that their purpose is more than decorative, it is sense of identity, for its geometric and spiritual symbolism.

We were pretty hot and tired after this excursion.  When we arrived back at the bus, the Ticos had water and mangos ready for us.  Emilia produced bowls of mangos, cantaloupe, and pineapple with forks for Elise and me.

The next part of this day was a trip on the Siepre River.  I really enjoyed this.  Here are some of our photographs.

Emilia and I.

We only had a few people on our boat but here is the other one.

A pelican


Small blue Heron along the shore.

Sometimes we were just cruising and others we sped up quite a bit.

These are the people on my boat.  Ann and I were the only Oregonians.

I worked really hard to get a photo of a sloth.

It was about a 35 km trip to get to the ocean where we docked and had more fruit treats.

I took a photo af Emilia’s, Else’s, and my feet in the tradition of taking photos at PDX.

Then Emilia wanted one of our hands as the symbol of our friendship.

I walked along the shore to get closer to the ocean.  Ann was also walking so I took a photo of her for her grandson, Lulu.

Sue, Barbara and I relaxed in the hammock.

I told them about the foot photo so we took one of our feet.

I enjoyed standing  and just enjoying the views for most of the trip back.

My dinner of whole fish, fries, beans and rice, and salad was absolutely delicious. Wish I had taken a photo.  After dinner many of us danced to the live music that was playing.

The bus ride back was not very enjoyable because I was exhausted and couldn’t find enough room to be comfortable to sleep.  I didn’t realized how cramped the space was on the way to the ocean.

Emilia stopped to get a cake for her brother, Pablo, who I met this morning at breakfast.  But the first task for Elise, Emilia, and I was a shower – and it was hot water.  This was my first hot water shower since I have been in Costa Rica.  What an absolute treat to wash my hair in hot water.

It was fun to celebrate Pablo’s birthday with a delicious cake. We sang happy birthday songs to him in three languages (English, Spanish, and French).

Staying up until almost 2:00 am to finish today’s post is a bit crazy, but all my friends already know that about me.  At least I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning.

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

2 thoughts on “Parque de las Esferas Indigenas de Piedra and Boating on Rio Sierpe – Feb 15

  1. We are finally home so now I can see your pics. Internet not good enough on our trip to see your trip. Love the spheres.


  2. This is your most interesting of all the Costa Rican posts so far. Im a want-to-be birder so appreciate these fantastic shots
    Also love all the lady-feet.
    Susan Oretsky
    Cascade Primetimers


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