Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Exploring San Jose and the Museo de Oro

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Our last full day in Costa Rice :-(!!! We ate breakfast at our hotel (they had a yummy included breakfast!) and Mike hit the cool open-air gym...I didn't have any more clean workout clothes so I had a good excuse not to join him ;-).
We had arranged for a taxi to pick us up at the hotel at 9:30am to let the morning traffic clear out and then take us into the city. Our driver was named Harrison and he spoke excellent English and a told us a bit about the area as we drove around. It actually felt a lot like being in California with the landscape and all the American businesses around. The kids decided they could definitely handle living there :-)!
Our first stop was at the Casa Amarilla which I had read about in the Lonely Planet guide book. It houses the Ministerio Relaciones Exteriores y Culto (ministry of foreign affairs) and the book said there was a ceiba tree in front was planted by John F Kennedy during his 1963 visit to Costa Rica AND a graffiti-covered slab of the Berlin Wall standing in the rear garden. We were curious about both so we headed that way and then could not find the tree (which should have been huge) anywhere. Eventually our taxi driver found someone that told him a couple of years ago termites had infested the tree so they had to cut it down...so we saw the stump of it haha. The piece of the wall was in back still though.
searching for the tree
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The next stop we were excited about was the children's museum. We pulled up, hopped out and I started taking pictures of the kids outside the interesting building (it actually used to be a prison!). Then we found out it was closed on Mondays! Such a super bummer.
So, it was a rough start to the morning.
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We ended up heading straight to the Mercado Central to look for souvenirs and cheesy tortillas that Mike and I remembered from our last visit to Costa Rica. It didn't take long for us to kind of remember which direction the booth was and ordered way too much food, but managed to eat most of it still. Mike took Preston to find a bathroom at one point and the waitress came to ask about which drinks we wanted. She spoke no English and I struggling with my best Spanish for a minute before asking Addie to just order for us. She did it amazingly and the waitress LOVED it, exclaiming "que linda!!!" The kids didn't love the cheesy tortillas as much as me and Mike and we got them empanadas at another stall later on, which were also delicious!
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A super nice man at a candy stall gave our kids so many free candies! I tried to give him some money for them after but he wouldn't take it. So sweet!
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Addie and Preston both picked little sloth stuffed animals and Ella got a couple cute tank tops and we were good on souvenirs. Then we saw a little ice cream place and had to try it out. The guy told us the shop has been open since 1909 and in his family for 3 generations. They had one flavor and it tasted like pumpkin pie! While we were here Mike got approached by a college student studying English who had an assignment to video himself interviewing a native English speaker for a few minutes :-).

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a little boy gave Preston this cool flower
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From there we walked to the gold museum (we got a little lost) and surprise, surprise, Preston needs some serious museum behavior practice before we head to Europe haha! He wanted to touch everything and run around...he was just in jungle Preston mode ;-). The museum is small but interesting and they had some cool art displays this time as well.
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We walked over to the Teatro Nacional to check it out. It is really pretty inside as well and it would be cool to go to a performance there if we were ever in San Jose for a longer stretch of time. When we came back outside and a lady was selling corn to feed the pigeons Addie and Preston were all over it again. Although these birds apparently get fed more often the Dominican pigeons because it was a little trickier to get them to come right up to you. We loved our day in the city!
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We loved our time in Costa Rica overall and all of us were sad to leave...even Ella ;-)!
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