I felt quite uptight prior to catching my flight from Toronto to San Jose. I was worried about what I was leaving behind and what was ahead of me. I'd been in the midst of several big projects since leaving my job at the Post Office and I'd busted a gut to leave everything just so. A bit of a control freak! And what was ahead of me? I hadn't been on the road for 4 years and had never travelled with just a back pack.
I love flying - and that wonderfully liberating realisation "well I can't do anything about it now" - so I sat back, watched some movies, slept a little and enjoyed the amazing scenery from my window seat on the 5 and a half hour flight to San Jose. This was enough to start getting me in the mood for an incredible adventure.
Kicking off CRSG 07 April 2015 with G Adventures "Backroads of Central America" I threw myself into it. I liked the fact I hadn't made any plans for an airport transfer and could take my time before finding my way to the joining hotel. After picking up my bag from the conveyor (it took ages but that didn't matter, I wasn't in a hurry), I changed my clothes into something lighter (the humidity was seeping through Arrivals) and changed up some dollars into the local currency Colones. I got 460 colones to the dollar so it wasn't the best rate (500 colones = 1 dollar). I went outside and immediately I had a crowd of taxi drivers surrounding me. I just picked one, complete potluck, knowing the hotel was about 30 to 45 minutes away depending on traffic and a taxi for that distance cost around 30 dollars. Doing that simple bit of research before travelling is really useful. I've had my fair share of unknowing, nail biting taxi journeys and subsequent panic. My check-in at the hotel was easy and I was soon meeting my roommate for the next 3 weeks - Olivia the Austrian. It's funny, I've been using an Austrian Airlines luggage tag for 4 years now (it's the only one I have left, a freebie from my Explore days!) and I was wondering if / when I would ever meet an Austrian. Anyway, Olivia and I hit it off straight away. She's on a 10 month World tour, lucky jammer! 7 months in and we meet. We're the same age and have the same interests and hobbies - and best of all, we want to do the same things on this trip. We want to see as much wildlife as possible and climb that blimin' big volcano on Ometepe island... After chatting for what seemed like ages, we popped out for some snacks and then met the rest of our group and our CEO (Chief Experience Officer) Rafa who would be looking after us. He went through the itinerary and told us what we could expect and ended with the words "Embrace the bizarre" - with the promise that if we can do that, we'll have a wonderful holiday. I quickly figured out I was one of the oldest on the trip, but that was ok, and at dinner across the road after the meeting, I found out Rafa was 4 years younger than me. You know you're getting old when your tour leaders are younger than you! It's all good :)
The joining hotel was Rincon de San Jose. We were only here for one night and I barely saw it in the day light, but first impressions - light and airy, lots of plants everywhere, cute little bridge and walkways between rooms, rooms and bathrooms perfectly adequate, friendly staff. I expected it to be noisy all night long and it was. If your room didn't face out onto the street, it faced into the middle of the hotel where people were walking right past your bedroom window. Most hotels we stayed at were this design with a central courtyard. We had a great restaurant right across the street and it was a 5 to 10 minute walk into town.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.