Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Toplandia, River, Family, More Feb 16

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I met Emilia’s son, Marco, this morning before we left the house.  Emilia made Pupusas for our breakfast

We drove to a place called Toplandia.  I started to take photos as soon as we arrived.

Toplandia was created by Manuel Barrantes who is committed to the ecological well-being of planet earth. It  is an example of how a man, using imagination & ingenuity, can construct a dwelling within the land’s natural features. He began 14 years ago to create this amazing series of mined tunnels which connect many rooms.  They were all excavated using hand tools, buckets, and wheelbarrows.

Manuels daughter, Beatrice, gave us a tour.   She told us that her father created the rooms.  When they discovered hard rocks, rather than removing them, they incorporated them into imaginative wall carvings. Her mother, Lidiette Guillen, helped to created the sculptures on the walls.  .

I took many photos as we wandered through the tunnels and staircases.

This is a kitchen.

A bed in the wall.

One of the staircases.

Sculptures and designs…

Another tunnel

Several of us wanted to sit on this bed.

This was one of the wells in the middle of the house.

The Flintstones on the wall made me laugh.  They seemed a bit out of place but, then again, they did live in a cave.

Emilia and Eliza

Eliza and Omar

We did a group shot in one of the rooms.

Under the pink cover on the table is a well with fresh spring water.

I loved the sign that said, “Positive Energy”

The walls have many designs on them including stars.

Beatrice turned off all of the lights and the stars were illuminated in the dark.  We sat there for several minutes just feeling the wonder of this place.

Lee read to us from the book that was on the table.

She looks like she is preaching.

Each of our Tica host made a statement.  Emilia said that she, Elise and I are forming lifelong friendships.  That is exactly what it feels like to me.

There was a hallway where the sculptures were all of symbols of Costa Rica,  Some of them were the bull, a  manatee, the flag, a sphere, and the national bird.  I learned that the national bird is a Yigüírro.  There are so many very colorful birds in Costa Rica.  This brown bird is chosen as the National bird because it lives everywhere in Costa Rica.

The words to the Costa Rica National Anthem were on the wall.  The Ticos sang it to us.

There is a functioning sink in one of the rooms.

Touring Topolandia was a wonderful experience.  It is hard to believe that they created this wonder in such a short time.  If you think about the tunnels and five levels that are in this wonder, the entire route is estimated to be about 400 meters and the maximum depth under the earth is about 16 meters.

We at a fantastic lunch at an Hawaiian restaurant.  I wish I had taken a photo of my plate of fish, beans, rice, salad, hearts of palm and more on it.  I can hardly believe hoe much I am eating in Costa Rica.

After lunch we went to relax at the river.  I think it was called Rio Caliente but I am not sure.  We took several photos as we relaxed along the rocky shores of the river.

Susan was having a great time sitting on the rocks and getting soaked by the flowing water.


Our day of fun was not over.  We went to the home of Emilia’s Uncle Oscar and his wife Elizia…


There were many other people visiting.  We walked around their beautiful garden.  The photos I took do not do justice to the beautiful garden.

The chicharra (cicada) were so loud today.  This is a photo that Elise sent a photo of one that was in our house so I am posting it here.

We are fed constantly.  First they served some sweets.  Then Elvie brought out the cake she had bought to serve to Sue the first night she arrived but they didn’t have time so she kept in in the fridge. Elvie asked Sue to serve it.

All of the food here is so delicious.  As we were eating somebody noticed this bird outside of the window.  What a treat.

I took another photo of Oscar and Elizia before we left.

The hospitality and caring of the Ticos is so wonderful.  They do everything they can possibly do to make us feel welcome and know that they care about us.

On the way home Emilia made a phone call and we drove up the hill to a restaurant where her God daughter, Marijoríe works to buy dinner for us.  I couldn’t believe that we were going to be eating again. It was fun to watch them cooking in the kitchen.

This is Fabiana.

This is Marjorie.

We could see the city lights from high above in the restaurant.  We could even see fires in the distance where they are burning the sugar cane fields.

When we got home,I started working on the blog,  At 8:00, Emilia served the dinner she purchased.  I  sure hope that am not being rude by not eating very much but we had so much food today.  The food they serve is delicious but I just can’t keep eating so much food.

Tomorrow starts very early (6;00 AM breakfast) so i am off to bed. It is already 11:30.

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.

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