Exploring Cartago

As promised, here is part two of the photos I took in Cartago. If you missed part one, clickย hereย to read about my first time seeing a volcano!

After visiting Irazรบ Volcano, we explored various other parts of Cartago, taking in its beautiful views and learning about its history. Here are some photos from our adventures:

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Basilica de Los Angeles
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I’m the one sitting on the ground in the white shirt, fully aware this was being taken, but too lazy to turn around.ย 
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Got Chocolate?

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We later stopped for lunch at La Casona del Cafetal, where the food was subpar but the views were beautiful. Also, I had coffee… like without a flavor… normal, adult coffee… we will ignore the fact that I added three packets of sugar to that tiny little mug….

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And the highlight of my day? These little raggedy friends… especially the reddish-brown one ๐Ÿ™‚

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It Was a “Lava-ly” Day

Before I begin, I need to give credit where credit is due. I did not come up with this pun myself… I owe it all to our tour guide who said this multiple times throughout the morning.

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This past Saturday I went on a grueling hike (11,000 feet up)….just kidding. This past Saturday I took a bus to the craters of Irazรบ Volcano in Cartago, Costa Rica. It was my first time seeing a volcano, so naturally I was overly excited. Irazรบ is the highest of Costa Rica’s 5 active volcanos. The volcano has three craters; the widest is from its oldest eruption and the deepest is from its most recent in 1994.

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When I first stepped off the bus, I was pleasantly surprised by the chill in the air. After experiencing so many humid days in Heredia, the cool air was quite refreshing. The view was beautiful, mountains all around and craters below… it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Moments later, we were standing in the very crater we had looked down upon, walking on top of volcanic rock as if it were a normal, everyday experience. Like always, I’ve included some photos, but ย I would highly recommend traveling here if you ever get the opportunity.

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I’ve only see so little, but I can’t get over how naturally beautiful this country is.

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There was more to this day, but I worry that people get bored when I write too much… therefore to find out what I did after visiting the volcano, stay tuned for my next post!

 

 

A Glimpse of San Jose

*This post is a bit overdue, but better late than never I suppose!

Last week the coordinators of my study abroad program took myself and the other students on a short walking tour of San Jose. I didn’t see a whole lot, since this tour was intended to show us how to travel between Heredia and San Jose using public transportation (it’s only about a 30 minute ride, maybe less, by bus or train). Of course, we didn’t leave without seeing a few things in the city’s center.

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Honestly, I don’t know what this building is used for. I just thought it looked nice and I like the way the Costa Rican flags are wrapped around the balconies for independence day (Sept. 15)
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The Guanacaste tree is the national tree of Costa Rica.ย 
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This isn’t the first time I’ve come across a tribute to John Lennon while traveling in a foreign country (clickย hereย to see the vlog I made while traveling around Prague).
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National Museum of Costa Rica

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Although my visit to San Jose was cut short when we realized we were going to be late to class, I’m sure I will return soon. I definitely want to spend more time walking through the parks. There are a lot of beautiful trees and flowers planted throughout the parks and I didn’t have time to stop and take pretty photos (I would have liked to take many)!

I hope you enjoyed the photos! Since my last two posts were quite lengthy and consisted of few photos, I thought I would keep this one light and easy to look at.

I was worried I wouldn’t make it…

The struggle began Thursday morning when I woke up to a text message and an e-mail from United Airlines informing me that my flight was canceled. I tried my best not to panic too much, but since I am studying abroad and not just traveling for fun, I was worried about how this problem would affect the start of my program. I then spent a good portion of the morning contacting the coordinator of my study abroad program as well as trying to find a flight that would get me to Costa Rica on time… I couldn’t. Fortunately the coordinator responded to my e-mails quickly and informed me that I could arrive late if necessary. I quickly booked a flight for Monday, but then switched it to Sunday when a better option appeared on the site about an hour later (booking a new flight after mass cancellations is almost as difficult as buying tickets for an Ed Sheeran concert). For anyone who is curious about why my flight was canceled… it turns out that the airlines had to decrease the number of flights landing in Houston due to Hurricane Harvey.

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Anyway, I knew by arriving a day late I would miss orientation. That was unfortunate, but it gave me more time to pack (which I really, really appreciated). On Sunday I boarded my plane with high hopes for a smooth trip. For the most part it was. I even arrived in and departed from Houston (where my layover was) without a problem. The problem occurred prior to landing in Costa Rica. Moments before landing the pilot chose to continue flying. After about 20 minutes of flying around aimlessly, the pilot informed us that we couldn’t land due to the fog. He said he would try again in a little while, but if the fog didn’t lighten up, then we would have to land in Liberia, Costa Rica (about a 4 hour drive from where I needed to be). I started to discretely panic for two reasons: 1) A staff member from my program was already waiting at the airport to pick me up and bring me to my host family. 2) I’m a bit claustrophobic and the feeling often occurs when I don’t know when I am going to be able to leave the small space. Not knowing when I would exit the plane did not sit well with me…

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Fortunately, my plan landed where it was supposed to; the second attempt at landing was a success (all the passengers clapped in gratitude). Also, going through immigration in Costa Rica was a breeze. I’m so used to answering numerous questions about my intentions for traveling, but I didn’t have to do that here (which is a relief, because I was extremely tired). The journey here was definitely imperfect, but I made it to my home stay, I’ve started classes and everything is as it should be.

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This is my Tico brother, Coco. He’s clearly quite sleepy in this picture.ย 

…I’m realizing that I typed a lot… lo siento… It’s fun….