On Monday, April 11th 2016, we have booked Jorge again. With Roland from the Netherlands, Jorge takes us to Cartago and to the Osori valley. We are leaving early at 7:30. It is the Battle of Santa Rosa (1856) that the Ticos celebrate today as a major event forming their nation.
Cartago, the old colonial city that has suffered from volcano eruptions and earth quakes
Cartago was founded in 1563 on 1400m above sea level. It has been destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Irazú in 1723, then shaken twice by severe earthquakes in 1841 and 1910. After 1910, the people from Cartago gave up to rebuild their Santiago Apóstol Parish Church. It is a ruin now, an impressive ruin.
Instead they built the Basilica de la Nuestra Señora de los Angeles.
They constructed it on the site where a lady collecting wood found the Negrita, the black and tiny Maria. Whenever she took the Negrita home, the Negrita went back to the place, where she had been found. Now there is a pilgrimage place here with holy wells that are visited by sick people asking for help. The miraculous healings are documented in vitrines… here is one for the eyes.
Above the well is this quote from the bible: “Como busca la cierva corrientes de agua, mi alma te busca a tí, Díos mío” (Salomo, 42 – As the deer looks for streams of water, I look for you, my God). On August 2nd, this Negrita and the well are visited by many pilgrims.
In the Basilica the mass is terminating. The interior has a beautiful ambiance with its blue columns, wooden ceilings and stained windows. The Negrita resides above the altar.
The Jardín Bótanico Lankester – loved by tourists and Ticos
Founded in 1973 in Paraíso, not far from Cartago, is a center of exhibition and conservation of the University of Costa Rica. The main focus is on orchids.
There are also a lush Japanese garden, a cacti corner, ferns, ginger plants and palm trees.
And, on the meadows, in corners of the Japanese garden, under fern trees, all over we meet Tico families that have come together to share a picnic on this sunny free Monday.
Orosi and the beautiful valley of the Reventazôn river
Our car climbs up to a small pass, and from here we can see the Orosi valley with the coffee plantations.
In rural Orosi, we visit the San José de Orosi church and the Convento Franciscano, unfortunately closed on Mondays.
We drive around the lake to Ujararas and eat lunch in a beautiful garden restaurant with an adjacent swimming pool and fish pond for Tilapias. The voices of happy chlidren enjoying the pool are in the background. The restaurant is surrounded by Cas trees, and we take fruit juices made from Cas.
200m farther there is the old church of Ujarras. The first church here was erected in 1561. But in 1832 it was decided that this place is too dangerous due to flooding and frequent earthquakes and the people had to relocate. The church then decayed. Now there is a park here… on this sunny free Monday it is full of families that merrily enjoy their picnics. Jorge says that he has never seen so may people here before.
On the way back to Santo Domingo, we are caught by some traffic jams – the Ticos seem to return from their picnics to tackle the rest of the week working again. But then, Jorge knows the best secret streets home, and we arrive in time to fulfill our promise and prepare Älplermagrone (pasta as prepared in the Swiss Alps) for our Tico family.