From Playa Grande to Sarchí and to San Gerardo de Dota

 Good-bye Pacific Ocean

It is a hot Friday morning, 29th of April 2016, in Playa Grande. Before leaving, we take a dip in the pool. It is so hot that we have to cool down at eight in the morning. The last crabs nibble at my foot. And then we say good-bye to the heat. We leave Playa Grande, head back to Liberia, drive south on the Interamericana, have a coffee and a budin on the way (I will have to make those delicious budins out of old bread at home) and have lunch in the “Caballo Blanco” with a view of the Gulf of Nicoya.

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We drive uphill into the mountains north of the Central Valley, sometimes caught behind slow trucks (or lorries).  Around two pm we already drive up the steep street in Sarchí Sur.

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The souvenir shop has stored my gifts for me

We enter the souvenir shop  behind the large painted wooden wheel. The shopkeeper immediately knows which bag I am asking for. It is the bag labeled “Peters” that contains the presents that I had forgotten here two weeks ago – oh dear! The shopkeeper then asks me: “Do you know Ronaldo Peters?” “Yes, I know him. He is my cousin. I have met him seven years ago”, and I show her the foto in my diary. I buy some children’s books with nice drawings, as I always need material for fairy tales over skype and soon also for my godchild.

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Ursula feels like an ice cream. The shop across the street sells ice cream made by Dos Piños, by whom else in Costa Rica. We call Rainer, the German owner of the Paraiso Rio Verde, and he meets us at the big char near the church painted all green, almost too much green.

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The Paraiso Rio Verde with the great volcano view

We move into one of the cosy bungalows of the Paraiso Rio Verde, in a nice garden amidst coffee plantations above Sarchí. It is pouring with rain. “Yes”, says Rainer, “the raining season has started a week ago.”

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In the morning we get up early. Cash, the nineteen year old cat is also waking up.

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From the garden there is a great view of the coffee plantations, to the volcanoes Poas and Barva, to San José, and an idea of the Irazu, now hidden in the clouds.

Early in the morning, shortly after five, we wake up. We watch the sun rise and the birds around us.

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Over our breakfast with German bread we have a chat with Rainer and his wife. Rainer also has a coffee plantation here in Sarchí, one hectar. He is about to turn his lodge into a place for elderly people that stay longer – a change from the business with tourists. He knows “Los Peters” as well, some ladies of the family had visited him once, he says. We say good-bye to Rainer, to his wife and to the cats Cash and Mieze.

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Crossing San José to San Gerardo de Dota

Easily we reach Heredia, turn left at “our” MacDonalds in Santo Domingo (not far from our former homestay), cross the bridge to Tibas that we have so often crossed in a bus taking us to San José, find our way to Tres Rios… and then… “Himmel Schimmel”, I hear Ursula sigh. She has prepared carfeully, where I have to turn right to the Interamericana, but the reality looks different from the map and the GPS. We twice miss the turn to the Interamericana leading to the mountains. Our GPS lady directs us to a bridge to reach the Interamericano later. But we end up in a dead end – bridge under construction. We can see the Interamericana from here. “Himmel Schimmel”, I hear Ursula say. We track back and get stuck in more traffic jams that are not moving at all. Our GPS says “turn left”, but a long-long lorry was stuck to the left. We have to drive around the block. And then – finally we reach the crossing where we had missed the Interamericano twice. I do not like the traffic jams around San José and am happy to be in the Talamanca mountains. Ursula murmurs: “Calma, calma…”

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The Dantica Lodge with the suite in the forest

We make a small stop at the intersection to San Gerardo to have a coffee. In front of the bar there is a sign that forbids to pick flowers from the garden and under this sign, a sheep is calmly  eating those flowers…

After another four kilometers steeply downhill, we reach the Dantica Lodge or lodge of the small tapir. We move into the suite in the forest, some 150m away from the reception. This is the view from our balcony.

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It is more chilly here on 2600m and I put on my warm fleece jacket. We take a rest after all these traffic jams. We watch the colibri rushing back and forth around the nectar station of our balcony and the squirrel eat oat flakes.

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In the evening we eat trout (fresh from the valley) and I have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with it.

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