Monday February 20 2023 – After a 23-hour day yesterday and a late night to boot, one could reasonably expect to sleep the sleep of the just completely knackered. In the event, what happened is what always happens when I travel to the American continental mass – I find that I’m wide awake at 4am. I sort of managed to drift off for a bit but sleep patterns were further disrupted by: the weather – it was windy, with occasionally very vigorous gusts whistling through whatever it was was causing them to whistle; the wildlife, which woke early and started shrieking, in voices and at volumes unfamiliar to the British ear, with joy at the prospect of the coming day; and the airport, from which jets would fly over the hotel quite low at intervals (see later). At around 7am we gave up the unequal struggle of pretending we were still asleep and made ourselves some tea. Yes, we have brought some Twinings Earl Grey tea bags with us; whyever did you feel the need to ask?
The early morning gave us a little time to appreciate better the room we were in, which was really very substantial,
and had a decent view over towards Alajuela and San José. There were a lot of raptors out looking for their breakfasts
so we eventually went to have ours in the hotel restaurant, which shares the same view as we get from our room.
The hotel breakfast was perfectly fine without being outstanding in any way, and after it we found ourselves at leisure, with only the need to be ready to receive a hire car at 2pm on the formal schedule for the day. So we went for a walk. Obviously.
Until we arrived and were shown the map, we hadn’t appreciated the extent of the area in which the Xandari Hotel is set. It’s pretty considerable.
Jane had read the description in the hotel material of the trail that leads around the grounds and it told us various relevant facts: firstly, that there were some five waterfalls with vistas overlooking them; secondly, a walk to all the waterfalls would take over an hour; and thirdly that the route back from one of them was “arduous”. Whatever, it seemed a perfectly good idea to go exploring – the sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot and we needed to start to get back into the travelling habits. So, off we went.
The immediate environs of the hotel are nicely landscaped
and there are many sculptures and artistic touches as you walk around.
The use of mosaic tiles features heavily
and I reckon is more than a small nod in the direction of Gaudi, whose modernista work can be seen all over Barcelona.
As well as the sculptures, there were some lovely flashes of colour from flowers, some familiar, some less so.
After a while, we left the hotel area and headed into the wider “jungle” of its grounds. This is when it became apparent what they meant by “arduous”. Some of the going was quite up-and-down.
and there were some big trees around, too.
and some huge bamboo.
One particular bamboo grove was little short of spectacular and the noises it made as the wind blew through it were amazing.
We followed the trail down and down until we found the waterfalls. Owing to the somewhat eccentric nature of the numbering system, number 3 was the first we came across.
Further along the trail, numbers 1 and 2 were not that impressive, at least to us folk who have been fortunate enough to visit Iceland (the country, not the shop).
and number 5 was charming (and offered us some decorative seats so we could take a breather)
but the star of the show was number 4. Even an Icelander might grudgingly give this one a gruff nod.
Our walk was, as I say, quite up-and-downy
and it was also quite round-and-roundy
but we covered pretty much the whole of the hotel grounds, which was quite satisfactory, and a very pleasant way to start to get the feel of what the country had to offer.
Shortly after we got back to the hotel it was time to collect our hire car, which was brought to the hotel by a National Rental chap who didn’t speak English very well but introduced us to the SayHi app which helped us around some of the complexities of getting hold of what was to be our transport for the coming weeks.
after which a drink in the hotel bar seemed a decent logical step.
After some nachos and a couple of beers, we retreated to our room for a rest. Just before dinner, we got the opportunity to understand the reason that jets are so noisy near the hotel. They take off from the airport
and then turn to the left and fly directly over the hotel.
We had a decent dinner in the restaurant and then retired to our room for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow sees us embarking on the first drive of our time here, and it’s set to be a long one of about five hours as we head towards Ostional, on the west coast. It may be that there will be nothing to report tomorrow, but I guess you’ll have to check in, just in case something interesting happens, eh?