Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Borders & Stamps

Perhaps you heard that we recently returned from a long weekend in Costa Rica...so, why did the Bracht family travel 8 long hours by bus to Costa Rica?

Well...we are still working on gathering all of the necessary documents for our resident visas here in Nicaragua and so...we needed to "renew" our tourist visas. To do this, we needed to leave the country for 72 hours and then "re-enter" as tourists. So, after delaying our trip 24 hours because Ella got an ill-timed 'stomach virus' (which Andrew then got while in Costa Rica), we packed up a few backpacks and boarded a bus headed to Costa Rica!

It was quite the adventure! Especially the part where the bus dropped us off in what felt like the middle of nowhere on the Pan-American highway in Costa Rica to wait for a driver from the hotel. Faith was necessary. Courage was also required when we needed to ask a stranger at the bus stop if we could use his cell phone (for a few Colones--Costa Rican currency) to call the hotel to inform them of our non-descript drop-off point. Our driver did find us. He drove us up to our hotel in the cloud forest region of Northern Costa Rica called Monteverde. The ride was bumpy (and a bit nauseating) as we climbed to an elevation of 4200 feet. But the climate, the scenery and the incredible bio-diversity at the top of the mountain was breathtaking--especially as we watched the clouds descend on the earth around us! Monteverde is known as having an 'eternal season of Spring'...it is true. It was glorious to sleep under a blanket and feel cold floor under our feet in the morning! It was a needed retreat from the heat in Managua. We had lots of opportunities to hike, relax, and enjoy nature. Yet, somehow it felt peaceful deep in our hearts to get back to life here in Nicaragua. Even Andrew expressed how he had missed his friends at school.

ENJOY some snapshots of our Costa Rican Adventure!
(in no particular order)


The Cloud Forest region in Northern Costa Rica


The Border Crossing at Costa Rica. It was interesting. We'd stop at one migracion (i think i've spelled this the "spanish way") post in one country. Wait for our passports to get stamped. Get back on the bus. Drive 100 yards across the "border" to the migracion post in the next country. Wait. Get our passports stamped. Get back on the bus and continue traveling.


The non-descript drop-off point in Costa Rica.


Calla Lilies growing in "el patio del hotel"


Andrew: our Central American trekker.


A Monteverde pasture.


The Morpho Butterfly. We found this one laying on the side of the road. It traveled back with us in a plastic baggie in our cooler.


There is really no caption adequate at describing Noah's love of adventure and fun!


The non-screened, easy to open, window of our hotel room. No warning sign that says you shouldn't let your children lean out the window. It was about a 6-7 foot drop out to the ground below. We did notice the second floor windows opened just as easily! It did, however, make for an amazing view from our hotel room.


The coveted "stamps" on our passports.


Ella and Noah enjoyed a hike with Jeff. While Andrew recovered in the hotel room...poor kid!


There were so many beautiful aspects of God's Creation to photograph!


Our three travelers.