La Fortuna

Arenal Volcano-spewing steam.
 Our first stop outside San Jose was a little town called La Fortuna. this is at the base of the Arenal Volcano. the town is named as such because it is on the side of the volcano that never experiences lava, ash or debris when it erupts. the volcano is active but hasn't erupted for nearly 8 months. this is the longest it has gone 'dormant' in quite some time according to the locals...i personally was hoping to see lava :) (another thing on my bucket list!) really cute town and the landscaping was great! we were there for 3 days.
the park in the center of town
Arenal in the background. this is the most photographed church in Costa Rica.

isn't it stunning inside?!

this was our first time taking an international trip together! so glad we got to share that experience.

all over Costa Rica is beautiful landscaping

dawn's friend sarah joined us for these three days by the volcano. sarah, sister, dawn, me.

YUMMY FOOD! i took lots of pictures of food..really flavorful but not spicy!
we met Peggy the Pig in the park one day...notice her earring-ha!
 i quite liked this town...good restaurants, really nice people and a sense of community was really evident there. the next couple posts will be of things we did while in the area those three days (i.e. canyoneering, hiking a volcano and swimming in the lagoon, the treehouses we stayed in...)


San Jose, Costa Rica!

*i am re-posting this from my old (broken) blog so that my entire Costa Rica trip is documented on here*

the tile floor in the lobby of Gran Hotel
San Jose was the starting and ending point for our 10 day trip throughout Costa Rica. it is the capital city of the country; similar to other big cities, it is crowded, dirty in some areas and not in others, has lots of great hole-in-the-wall food joints, a plethora of opportunities for people-watching and a universal favorite: one way streets. :)
We arrived into San Jose just after dinnertime on friday, walked straight off the plane to immigration and then to the rental car place. after getting the car, we drove into the heart of San Jose to find our hotel, Gran Hotel. what ensued was nothing short of a classic ‘tourist’ moment in a foreign city: we had difficulty identifying streets because they didn’t have signs…maps become irrelevant at this point, we were trying to navigate one-way streets blindly while driving around the same 4 blocks probably 10 times, and we were all trying to take it in stride balancing frustration with the hilarity of the situation. it turns out there is no parking near the hotel and we found that out the hard way-ha! :)
after finally reaching the hotel, we proceeded to do a sneaky maneuver into the room because we had only booked one room for all five of us to save money. it all worked out fine and that night we discovered that nobody snored, which is always a plus!
Gran Hotel
this building is apparently absolutely beautiful on the inside
looking down the street from the hotel
the next morning we left early because we had a 3 hour drive ahead of us to La Fortuna at the base of Arenal Volcano. (more on that to come!)
we also ended our trip in San Jose. we, again, were all in one hotel room and the hotel was not far from the other one, so we were quite confident that we would be able to find it easily. not true. we ended up driving in circles again before getting directions from some guy on the street. we walked downtown to find some food and ended up at a hole-in-the-wall place that gave us so much food for our $$. to be quite honest, i don’t love this type of food establishment (they seem so sketchy and unsanitary) but i was reminded throughout the trip (i haven’t traveled internationally in 6 years!) that these places have the most authentic food and the most bang for your buck.
this is a little park across from our second hotel in San Jose
this is the school that my friend Ana grew up going to! it was so special to be able to see it!
the next morning we had an early flight back to the US and it was 9/11 so we didn’t want to risk anything by cutting it close. our best efforts were thwarted when we got lost in slum after slum after slum neighborhood in San Jose trying to get to the airport. we would have been fine but there was a detour off the highway because of construction and we spiraled into a complete fail of navigational skills because 1) no road signs 2) we had only ever been in San Jose in the dark and 3) the slum neighborhoods are the most complicated labyrinth i’ve ever seen! again, another ‘tourist’ moment and by God’s grace we made it back to the car rental place just in time to hop a quick shuttle to the airport. we made it through security with time to spare and tried to spend the rest of our miscellaneous Colones before leaving the country.
photo credit: sister
You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.
-Mary Pickford -
i absolutely love this quote. fresh starts are..well...refreshing. they are inevitable because change is inevitable. some love 'em and others hate 'em. regardless of where on that spectrum you fall, they jump start you out of routine and force you to have a new perspective. the only failure is in being unwilling to embrace what's next and instead, stubbornly dragging your heels through the mud.

i, for one, love fresh starts. quite enamored with spontaneity and all things 'whimsy' (hence the blog name), change is revitalizing because it reminds me that opportunity awaits and that i am not stuck in a rut.

i have decided to start my third blog not only because of frustrations and troubles with my previous site but also because it gives me a blank slate; an opportunity to reinvent. the creative part of me lunges at the chance to generate something new and different from what was done before. there is nothing so inspiring...

so....welcome! i hope you enjoy the facelift!