It rained a bit during the night and the normal winds that keep our cabana cool were with us again. Today is our last full day in El Valle and the weather is, once again, beautiful.
Breakfast was at Brochettes in the Anton Hotel. I think this is the most westernized restaurant in town. You even get jam with your toast! It is right on the main drag across the street from the library and they have WiFi. Bacon and eggs for two with fresh juices and coffee $15. A day without bacon is a day without sunshine!
I got thinking this morning that I may have given you the wrong impression about El Valle. We really haven’t done much of the tourist stuff here because we have been here before and already done it. There is a good supply of things to keep you occupied for about three to four days according to out hotel. We have stretched the time out a bit to meet our next reservation block which starts tomorrow. When you come here there are waterfalls to hike to and mountain hikes that will keep you in shape, a small zoo to see with the endangered golden frog, a serpientium if you are into snakes and bugs, zip lining to get your adrenalin flowing, the public market on Sunday to empty your wallet, the Orchid Garden for some of natures beauty, hot springs or rather warm springs to experience, horse rentals if you are from Saskatchewan and square trees. Yes, square trees! (some imagination required) There are no banks but there are two ATMs.
1. Don’t miss it. It is cooler than the beach areas and almost always has a cool breeze. Don’t worry about the threatening clouds racing through the sky. If they do give a bit of rain, it doesn’t last long;
2. Be careful driving here at night. I have never seen a place where people walk and ride bikes with no light-colored clothing and no lights or reflectors on their bikes. People stop and talk in the middle of the road and don’t move quickly to get out-of-the-way. That combined with very few street lights makes it really difficult to see. The whole town is posted at 40K and that is plenty fast. Also, dogs are slow to get up from their naps in the middle of the road;
3. Experience the market on Sunday. The crowds are invigorating;
4. Take in the zoo but be ready for a place that does not house animals to the standards you are used to seeing. It is worth seeing because of the variety of local species they have;
5. Don’t be afraid to try any restaurant in town. We never found one that provided a bad meal. Like at home, some are just better than others;
6. Enjoy walking around town. There are some beautiful estate homes to be seen by just walking down a side road for a few minutes; There is a bus that runs around town that you can always grab if you get tired. I think the fare is $0.50;
7. If you have a sweet tooth, take in the bakery. It is right on the main drag across the street and down a little from the public market. Your dentist probably wouldn’t be happy;
8. Internet is available at the public library next to the church;
9. Enjoy the people. We have met some great folks here. Everyone is so helpful; and
10. Don’t just come for the day, as many do. Stay a few days and really get into this slow-paced place called El Valle.
We headed out to dinner intending to try O’Pedros Pub. We killed some time there waiting for the Casa de Lourdes Restaurant to open last night. The menu looked interesting and the interior of this place is done in stone and dark woods. Besides, a pub called O’Pedros can’t be too Irish, can it? When we arrived we found a tour bus and a buffet dinner set up and the place closed to the public.
On the way back into town, on the main drag, we saw red and blue flashing lights off in the distance and a crowd of people. Just as we were thinking accident and that we should find a way off the street, a police truck approached and pulled across the road, effectively blocking it for oncoming traffic. At first I thought the police had finally figured out where Andrea was but it ended up being traffic control for a procession. Now almost every time we have been in a Latin country, we have at one time or another, encountered a procession. Some are large and elaborate some are not. The procession here today was a solemn event led by what looked like the Catholic priest and others in Catholic garb. There was a statue on a wheeled cart being borne down the street and then what looked like most of the town following. It was interesting to see the level of involvement by the citizens here in this church based event. This was a procession for Saint Don Bosco who was responsible for taking care of the young.
Dinner was at Pinocchio’s Restaurant and Pizzeria. We were the only ones there. We ordered a house special 12 inch pizza and a couple of drinks for a total of $13. Nothing special but adequate.
Tomorrow, we move from El Valle to Santa Fe. We will head down the hill to the Bayview Hotel, in San Carlos, on the beach to pick up our friend from Victoria, Octav, who will accompany us to Santa Fe for a couple of days. We have been cautioned that high-speed Internet connections are limited in Santa Fe so my posts may be a bit more sporadic for the five days that we will be there.