This week I went on a lot of adventures with my solmates. We had the privilege to attend many of the Independence Day festivities. On Monday they had the parade of lanterns where the children make their own lanterns to use. There is a long history behind why they do this, but essentially it’s because many men waited all night long with their lanterns to see if Costa Rica would become its own country or if they would become part of Mexico. The news came that they would be their own country and people celebrated. That’s why on September 15th there are parades of music and of kids dancing. It was beautiful and full of energy that day. I was very fortunate to get to be here.
On Wednesday, we took the train to San Jose to see the museums there. Many of the museums were free from 5 to 9 that night and they provided free transportation between each museum. We could see the emphasis on culture and history at each museum. We first went to the jade museum where all of the artifacts had very intricate details throughout the pieces. It is one of the most popular museums in San Jose, which was proven by the long line that had formed by the time we exited the museum.
After the jade museum, we went to the gold museum and the national museum. It was pretty dark by the time we made it to the national museum, so we did not get to see any of the butterflies. After that we took a shuttle to the gold museum. The entire museum is actually underground. The staircase spiraled down 3 floors with a mixture of paintings and sculptures on each floor. The pieces and atmosphere there were beautiful and unique. We tried finding the contemporary art museum after that, but ran out of time. We took two buses thinking it would go there but neither of them did. It was an adventure and a lot of fun. We got to see many new parts of San Jose.
On Friday I got to go to a traditional cooking class and try many traditional foods. We got to make our own tortillas and add what we wanted. I added both beans and Natilla (they say it’s like sour cream but really it’s a 1000 times better. It tastes more like a creamy cheese topping). We also made some gallo pinto (a mix of beans, rice, and some vegetables) and lots of other food. The family had some delicious home-made jelly that we put on our bread. Everyone was full and satisfied after the class. Being a Friday evening though, what took about 30 minutes to get there took about 2 hours to get back. It was a great experience overall!
A few friends and I went on an adventure this weekend and took public buses from Heredia, through San Jose, to Cartago. It took some searching but we finally made it to the bus stop to Cartago. We had to ask a lot of people for directions but got there in the end. Once we got to Cartago, we found the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles. Even from the outside it was beautiful. The inside was covered in intricate details and beautiful arches. Words cannot do it justice, so these photos are just some of the beauty found there.
To finish off the day, we went to Sanatorio Durán. It is supposedly a haunted, closed down hospital. While we did not experience any ghostly interactions, the place had an overall creepy vibe. We got to explore through the floors and through the grounds of the whole place. There were a lot of people there just exploring and having picnics. We got to see many beautiful views from the place. It was almost as if we were in a completely different country. Coming back we had a bit more difficulties. We learned when asking the police for a bus stop we have to be very specific. The bus stops going to the same city are not always close to one another. It was an adventure I will never forget. It took us a lot of searching and asking people for help, but we had a great time.