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01.12.09 Nicaragua
Today one year ago we started our trip. Where has the time gone??? It has been a full on year! We walked along a small back road towards the volcano 'Concepcion'. It rained and the warm and humid air smelled sweet. Lots of pigs, horses, chickens, cows and dogs were running around on the muddy gravel road. Cowboys on horses were following their cattle. Simple houses were tucked away in banana fields. Children were playing and people were lying relaxed in their hammocks surrounded by pigs and chickens. The black volcanic soil was so rich. It is a lush and tropical island. It doesn't feel like anything else that we have seen on our trip so far. It felt like being in a different world. It is so peaceful here. You can actually walk on the streets without getting overrun by traffic. Lots os people got around on their bicycles. In the evening we celebrated our first anniversary with huge banana splits. We had to dig hard to find the well hidden bananas...
Resume: Rest in Ometepe.
LINK: Photos 117-124

02.12.09 Nicaragua, Costa Rica
We took the 10.00 am ferry back to the mainland. After 70 min we arrived. Ometepe is the biggest island in the world in a fresh water lake. After a 5km taxi ride we arrived in Rivas where our bikes were waiting for us. On the road again by 12.30pm. We rode towards the border to Costa Rica having the lake on our left. The water was wild and white waves did their little dances. We passed a windpark, our first windpark we had seen on our trip. The road was straight and flat, trucks passed us heading also towards the border. The area was very rural, birds were chirping happily away and the grass already started to turn yellow, rain season is over... A few kms before the border we had our last meal in Nicaragua in a tiny restaurant on the side of the road. And then trucks were lining up, the line started some kms before the border. Truckees got out their hammocks and hung them underneath their long monsters having a snooze. We passed lots and lots of trucks, they were all waiting to cross the border. Lucky us, that we could overtake them all. Finally we got there. It was crouded, lots of people lined up in long cues. What did we do, we lined up too. We had four stopps in total where we got asked for our passports, twice we waited in long lines. After more than one hour standing in line at the second cue we got our stamps and rode on Costa Rican roads. Many tourist busses were waiting to get the loads of people processed. What a busy border. It was already getting dark, so we didn't have enough time to press on to the next town and stayed in one of the cabins right after the border.
Resume: Ometepe to Rivas by boat, Rivas-Penas Blancas, 38km, 36-40 degrees.
LINK: Photos 125-130 , video 152

03.12.09 Costa Rica
It was a hot night. It cooled off a bit when it started to rain in the morning. All night long we could hear the engines of the trucks idle and horns toot. There was not too much military in Nicaragua, none in Costa Rica. We left our cabin and rode on a muddy and slippery road. Trucks, trucks and more trucks were standing in line on the other side of the road. The line of trucks ended after 5km. Imagine these km-long line ups everyday. We were wondering how long it must take for a truck to pass the border. Maybe a whole day? We asked one of them. He said it takes them 2 days to pass... The scenery changed right after the border. We were all in a sudden in the hills, surrounded by big trees and lots of colourful flowers. We enjoyed the drizzling rain and the sweet and rich smell of the air while we heard the wind in the trees. And... we heard and saw our first hawler monkeys. They made lots of loud noises. It sounded like a combination of pig noises and dog hawling. First I thought, Bhinti said something to me. Ha ha! Then I looked up and saw them. Two monkeys were getting it on with each other, high up in the trees without falling over... That was one of our first impressions of Costa Rica. We were in a completely differnt scenery. How can it all change so quickly. We were in the hills, the trees were different with monkeys in them, and there was also so much birdlife. We stopped in La Cruz, our first Costa Rican town. At that time we still did't know where we would leave our bikes for the time when my parents come over. We waited for an email from my godfather, he has a house nearby from where we were. Either we can leave the bikes at his place or we keep riding towards the coast and leaving our bikes faithfully in a hotel... We decided to stay and to wait for the email. La Cruz was on a high plateu. From some points you had a phantastic view to the ocean down in the distance,to a beautiful big bay. La Cruz is not sheltered and most of the time it is windy. There was no street food, hardly any restaurants, no mercado. Two bigs supermarkets were right next to each other. The air was dry up here, and it was a bit cooler, really comfortable. From what we had seen of Costa Rica so far, it was quite different then the other countries in Central America. Maybe more tame and more civilized, calm on the roads, no crazy music or yelling street venders, no people on bicycles, no carts pulled by oxes, no bike rickshas, no chaos, no people sitting on the footpath selling fruit and other things, hardly any plastic chairs and no hammocks... It reminded me a bit of Europe. Even the big supermarkets had German chocolate!
Resume: Penas Blancas-La Cruz, 19km, 32-40 degrees.
LINK: Photos 001-002 , video 153

06.12.09 Costa Rica
We stayed here for several days. Who would have thought that. We actually stopped here in La Cruz only with the intention to check our emails and then we wanted to press on. We received the email on the following day from my godfather who gave us an address from his Swiss friends where we may leave our bikes. Thank you so much dear Pit! We got in contact with them, and... they were so generous and offered us a place for our bikes! Thank you so much dear Babsi and dear Ueli! They live only 50km far away from here, close to Liberia. We stayed in La Cruz for several days. waiting for my parents who flew into Costa Rica on the 8.12. One day we took the bus down to that beautiful bay to a remote beach. At the last bus stop we hopped out and walked 3km, along a dead-end sand road, to the beach called Jarada. It was a Sunday and there were hardly any people at the beach. The sand was white, the water warm, calm and clear and the hills were green. It reminded me of some parts in beautiful New Zealand. As we walked along that lonely beach between two trees we saw somebody snoozing in a hammock. We got closer and saw a bicycle next to him. Wow, it was really a cyclist! His feet and hands had white marks from the shoes and gloves, like our hands. And he carried a hommock with him. How cool is that! We had an interesting conversation. He is going to camp here for a few days. He came from 'Tierra del Fuego' and is on his way to Canada. And not only that, he is on his way back. He already cycled from Alaska to the tip of South America... and is now on his way back up! Imagine that. I was quite speechless. He had been on his bike for 2 years, and he was on his own. What a great surprise to meet him at a lonely dead end beach.
Resume: Stay in La Cruz.
LINK: Photos 003-007

07.12.09 Costa Rica
Before we left La Cruz we had our last breakfast there in a little comedor. A green little Makaw flew around and talked exited to himself. He sat on the pole of a curtain and then flew into a sheet that was hanging down. It was used as a 'door'. Go, little happy bird! Then we left. We stayed on the high plateau and the strong wind changed his directions all the time. After a while we dropped into a valley and saw some volcanos on our left. In the early afternoon we arrived in Canas Dulces where these lovely Swiss people offered us a place to store our bikes, without even knowing us. They live in a quiet area with lots of nature around them and a big garden. They offered us to stay for the night, in their other house. Thank you dear Babsi and Ueli! We enjoyed the peace, swam in their pool and they invited us for an amazing dinner with wine!!! Not only that! Babsi made Swiss cookies that she offered us. These were the best cookies I had ever eaten! Increadible! What a contrast to our life on the road. And... we had a warm shower! I can't remember my last warm shower. Maybe it was in San Pedro Guatemala. They really spoiled us. Thank you so much for your increadible and warm hospitality! Parrots were sitting in the trees and talked, many of them. I fell into my bad at 8.30pm, I could feel the wine. It was so quiet and peaceful...
Resume: La Cruz-CanasDulces, 49km, windy.
LINK: Photos 008-014

08.12.09 Costa Rica
Wow, we slept without earplugs! It has been a while. The places where we normally stay are very noisy. After a swim and a warm shower we had a delicous breakfast with hand crafted artisan bread, home-made jam and selfdried pepper, fresh orange juice, great coffee and sweet fruit. We were really spoiled! In the morning we left to San Jose to pick up my parents. I was so excited! After a 4 hour bus ride we arrived at the airport and not much later I had my beloved parents in my arms... It was so good to see them! We picked up our rental car and drove to an accommodation in Alajuela, only 20 min far away from the airport. All the houses were behind barrs. Our house too. I felt like being in a zoo. Will they let us out again??? I still couldn't believe that my parents are here!
Resume: busride to San Jose, start of our family holiday.
LINK: Photos 015-019

09.12.09 Costa Rica
I went into their room... and they were really there!!! They spread all the goodies for us in the kitchen. They brought German Gingerbread, XMas Stollen, German chocolate, black bread, vitamins and supplements, parts for our bikes and biketrip, books, CDs and much more... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! After we filled our tummies we left Alajuela. Our destination was the Lagarta Lodge in Boca Topada, in the jungle close to the Nicaraguan border. We drove along coffee plantations and banana fields, around us some volcanos. We had three maps, but they were all different. What was the correct info? We ended asking people for directions as the signposting had space for improvement. The road was narrow and winding. Big monstertrucks were in front of us, somehow they managed it to get around these sharp corners, using both lanes. It was already afternoon and all in a sudden we saw ourselves driving on a gravel road. What do we do? Do we look for an accommodation close by or do we put the pedal to the metal. We went for the second one. I drove like crazy hoping we would make it before it got completely dark, but it was too far. In the dark we finally arrived after we managed it to drive up a bumpy muddy road with rocks and holes in it, we had no 4WD. We made it and the car was still in one piece! The staff was very friendly and welcoming. They gave us 2 rounds of Tequila on the house! In the evening we saw some caymans and lots and lots of stars in the sky. They seemed to be so close. We also saw a tarantula and a red eye frog.
Resume: Driving from Alajuela to Boca Topada.
LINK: Photos 020-024 , video 154

08.12.09 Costa Rica
During the night we heard lots of sounds. Sounds I had never heard before, and the next morning was a big surprise. Yes, we were really in the jungle! A lagoon was close by and lots of colourful and exotic birds like tukans, hummingbirds and makaws enjoyed a banana breakfast. Monkeys jumped from branch to branch and cheeky nosebears helped themselves to bananas. The healing nature... We stayed here for 4 nights and had the lodge partly for ouselves with a big balcony, hammocks and a great view to lots of trees and a lagoon. We walked through the muddy jungle where we saw monkeys and poisened frogs, and also explored with canoes two beautiful lagoons. One of our activities was a boat ride on the San Carlos river up to the border to Nicaragua. An Indiana Jones Landrover brought us to the river. The water was brown, the trees and plants lush and green. We saw crocodiles, turtles, igrets, bats hanging down from a branch, iguanas and other animals. The sky became really dark and it started to pourr down. We docked and found shelter in a little border village while eating fresh lobster out of the river. This village, called 'Boca de San Juan' was only reachable by boat. After the sky cleared up again the boat took us back down the river. We enjoyed the delicious breakfast and dinner in the lodge, and of course, lots of times we were working on the Gingerbread and on the Stollen, my dad played his mouth harmonica, what a special time we have together... In the evenings we listened to the birds and insects and in the mornings to the hawler monkeys.
Resume: Stay in Boca Topada, Lagarta Lodge.
LINK: Photos 025-087 , videos 155-157

12.12.09 Costa Rica
We left that beautiful place in the morning and headed to our next destination, to Moin at the Caribbean coast. We left the jungle behind us, passed some pineapple fields and drove through the hills, more volcanos. As we got closer to the Caribbean coast, it got tropical again. We passed lots of banana fields and entered the land of DOLE. In Moin was a big port with hundreds and hundres of containers. From here the banans get shipped in all parts of the world. The people that work on the fields earn very little and the houses are very poor. Most of the houses, wooden houses, were built on poles because of the amounts of water that fall off the sky almost every day. We arrived at our accommodation when it got dark. It was my first time at the Caribbean sea. The ocean was wild, it was humid and it rained. While we stuffed our faces with really good things like steak and crepes with icecream we listened to the ocean and to the rain, looking down to the aluminated palm trees. A life band played at the pool; spicy Salsa and Merengue. The people here have a darker skin and they also talk differently. We spent three nights here and drove to the Cahuitla National park at the coast about one hour away from us. It rains every day and you can imagine the effect on trees and plants. It was kind of foggy and the outgoing DOLE ships looked like ghost ships disappearing misteriously. The first thing we did when we arrived at the Cahuitla park was, of course, eating Stollen! Then we wandered off into the tropic jungle along the beach. It rained which made the rainforest complete. It was actually pourring down, what a nice walk. We stayed in Moin for 3 nights.
Resume: Driving from Boca Topada to Moin.
LINK: Photos 088-110 , video 158

15.12.09 Costa Rica
We left the wet rainforest in the morning and drove to the other cost, to the dry cost, passing some volcanos again. We drove the whole day and were happy to arrive in Tarcoles in the remote Cerro Lodge. Blue sky! We looked down to a valley and saw a piece of ocean in the distance. We stayed in two beautiful little hutts, made of teak wood. The bathroom was outside next to lots of plants. My parents even had their own guard toad in front of their door. The water in the pool was nice warm. Hummingbirds and butterflies were flying happily from one flower to the next. The air smelled so sweet. The evening meals were delicious. One day we explored the beach, Jaco beach. And then there was also the Carara Nationalpark with monkeys and busy ants that carried lots and lots of cut leaf around. What do they use them for, and who gives them the order? And who did all the cutting??? We enjoyed the pool, went for walks, my dad made music on his mouth harmonica and we played cards in the evening while letting Pina Coladas disappear in our faces in a mysterious way.
Resume: Driving fromMoin to Tarcoles.
LINK: Photos 111-165 , videos 159-161

18.12.09 Costa Rica
Off to a new adventure. We left the dry coast behind us, drove into the hills, along lake Arenal into another rainy rainforest to Fortuna, which is located close to the volcano 'Areal' which is still active. During a clear night you can see the glowing lava on top of it. But when we were there the volcano was hidden in the clouds. Only once we could see him for 20 min. Oh..., on our way we saw a German Bakery. Of course we stopped and found ourselves not much later eating Bratwust, Gulasch and Schweinebraten, also apple strudel with vanilla icecream. Ohhhh..., what a feast!!! In Fortuna we had a wooden cabin with a kitchen, a dining area, two bedrooms and a little balcony. We even had our own bats. One flew in our bedroom and the other one into the bedroom of my parents. The cabin was located at a sandy dead-end road close to a river. It rained almost the whole time, so we made ourselves really comfortable in our cosy hut. We had the music going, most of the time Salsa and Christmas music. We played cards and even danced. The men cooked and enjoyed the kitchen. Once we rode all the way back, about 40km, to the German Bakery... I don't need to mention what we did there...
Resume: Driving from Tarcoles to Fortuna.
LINK: Photos 167-187 , videos 162-164

22.12.09 Costa Rica
We left our cosy hut and drove to our last accommodation, to Curubande located at the volcano 'Rincon de la Vieja'. We drove into the blue sky, no more rain! We stopped on the side of the road because a pack of nosebaers had some snacks on the side of the road. In Liberia we stopped at a clinic to get my hurting wrist x-rayed. In Nicaragua I fell off the bike, about 4 weeks ago. I thought the pain, which was only a little pain, would go away. But instead it got stronger when I drove the car. The result of the x-ray was, that I had a broken wrist. Four weeks cast and patience, oh no! That means four weeks no riding. What do we do and where could we stay? Fortunately our dear Swiss friends offered us to stay in their other house. What a generous offer... We turned right, off the Panamerican Highway and after 17 km gravel road we arrived in the Hacienda Guachipelin. It was a big complex surround by green nature. They had lots of horses and donkeys that ran around untethered, passing the rooms for the guests and eating the grass. They had total freedom, so had the 6 dogs, the 'Blue Heelers'. They also ran around everywhere, no roules for them. It seems like they own the place. They made friends with everybody and once they accompanied us on a 2km long walk to a waterfall. They loved it to chase the donkeys and the cows. A mirimba band played in the evenings. It was the 23.12. and we watched our last beautiful sunset together.
Resume: Driving from Fortuna to Curubande.
LINK: Photos 188-206 , videos 165-166

24.12.09 Costa Rica
Where has the time gone??? Today is the day of saying good bye to my parents. When and where will I see them again? They came to Costa Rica to see us, it was a long journey for them. They brought us so many things, we had such an harmonic and amazing time together, and now they leave again... Oh I will miss them... My dad played his last song on his mouth harmonica, then they drove off, to San Jose. Gone... Hm. Where they really here??? Left are only the memories and photos. Thank you so much for the wonderful time together!
Bhinti and I decided to stay here over Christmas until the 26.12.09. We had a Christmas buffet and we really pigged out!!! Turkey, fish, yummy veggies, salad, mango mousse, pavlowa, christmas cake... Somehow we moved our bodies into our room. We tried to make up for the time when we will be in the cold Andes with rice and tough rubbery chicken... Good work! We listened to the crickets, they were doing their Christmas concert. It felt strange without my parents. They came and left. For Christmas a tick visited me and made himself home between my toes. But soon it was homeless again. The staff was specialized in pulling ticks out. I lied in the hammock watching the fluffy clouds pass by.
Resume: Stay in Curubande.
LINK: Photos 207-217 , videos 167-168

26.12.09 Costa Rica
We got an email from my parents. They have arrived home in Germany. Finally! It has been a long trip home. We left in the morning to Liberia to do shoppingng and took then the bus to our new temporary home, to Canas Dulces, to our Swiss friends. It was nice to see them again. We emptied our shopping bags and filled the fridge. We had a fridge!! I cannot remember, that we had our own fridge during our bike trip. Here we are in beautiful, warm Costa Rica, having our own house, we have lots of space and privacy, we have our friends close by, we can use their pool and we can use their internet connection. Where life takes you... We sat outside and listened to the birds, enjoyed the beautiful energy of nature. We heard the hawler monkeys and the makaws. Bhinti goes crazy in the kitchen and I started the preparations for the movie for my parents. So much space. Space and time...
Resume: Curubande-Canas Dulces.
LINK: Photos 218-223

31.12.09 Costa Rica
The tour is put on hold for 4 weeks, nothing we can do about it. First I felt irritated, lost and frustrated. Actually we couldn't be in a better place for this situation and we are very grateful how everything worked out for us. The universe works in mystery ways. We live in a house, that is bigger than we actually need. It is warm and sunny, we have lots of space and privacy, we can use our friend's pool and internet. The bigger city Liberia is only 12 km far away. Bhinti can ride his bike around, I use the time to work on the movie for my parents. The nights are comfortable warm, not hot. We set up our dining area outside with 2 chairs and 2 painting buckets that we used as tables. We do our own cooking, it has been a while... Bhinti loves to cook and he really spoiles me. It is nice to be independent. We have our own space. In the mornings we drink chai tea that Bhinti loves to make while we sit outside.

Today it is the last day of this eventful year... We watched 'Dinner for one' and set up our tent in the garden. At 5pm we toasted with our Swiss friends and in our minds also with my parents. In Germany it was then 12am midnight. Happy new year Mami and Papi and my friends in Germany!!!! We camped in the garden and admired the big fullmoon. It was such a bright night. We listened to all the insects... To our families and all friends that we know, we wish you a happy, healthy and joyful year 2010!
Resume: Stay in Canas Dulces.
LINK: Photos 224-229