Monday, January 25, 2010

El Salvador - Day 5 (Sept 28, 2009)

At first glance through my journal recount of our fifth day in El Sal, it seemed as though it was one of our slower days; however, as I looked through pictures I was proved wrong! While we primarily stayed in and around the city of San Salvador (El Sal's capitol,) we managed to fill yet another day with unique experiences!

Day 5 highlights

  • El Boquerón National Park is less than an hour from the bustle of San Salvador, and it is located in the crater of the San Salvador Volcano, named El Boqueron ('wide mouth.') Because we went on a Monday, we were some of the only visitors to the park, and even managed to snag our own tour guide for the hike through the park.
  • Spring is the best time to visit the park for the flowers and foliage, but we managed to find some flowers and I, of course, managed to snag some pics of them!
  • We found out the crater had been filled with a lake, but during the last eruption in 1917, a fissure caused the lake to evaporate, and a cinder cone appeared at the bottom (picture below.)
  • Back in the city, we stopped by the 'Mercado de Artesanias' (Artisan Market) to search for some unique and more authentic souvenirs. Unlike what we'd been told, the vendors were not as willing to haggle as we hoped, but we managed to walk away with a few things, nonetheless.
  • Smack dab in the middle of San Salvador city is the museum and gallery of Fernando Llort, known as "El Salvador's National Artist." I immediately fell in love with his style and felt inspired by all the colors used in his paintings! We also had a late lunch there, and what can I say, it was delish! Not a lot of fruits and veggies on our plates, but who needs those when you have tamales, cheese and fried goodness?!
  • Our next stop was 'Puerta del Diablo' (Devil's Door), a peak in San Salvador from which there are great views and we hoped to see the sun set. It was a steep, but quick hike up; unfortunately, it was completely fogged over, so we didn't see much, but we did manage to get eaten alive by mosquitoes!
  • Tucked in at the base of 'Puerta del Diablo' is a Pupusa shop (or 'pupusersia.) We stopped there for drinks (amazing fresh squeezed OJ!) and managed in the course of about 45 minutes to see an approaching storm, complete with crazy cloud movement and lightening, as well as a beautiful sunset.
  • Mister Donut, a local donut chain, was one of our stops on the way home. We waited in a VERY long line, but it was well worth it for the box of donuts we snagged for our dinner--more fried goodness!
  • Our last stop of the day was a 'pupuseria' close to Dave's condo, where we special ordered a bag full of pupusas, and were able to watch them be made. I can assure you they were thoroughly devoured and enjoyed! (I realize the pupusa pictures don't even come close to doing them justice, but I had to include them-you understand!) :)

























Sunday, January 24, 2010

El Salvador - Day 4 (Sept 27, 2009)

Even though a few months have lapsed, I'm determined to finish documenting our El Salvador trip from last September. I got as far as Day 3 last time, and it seems piecemeal is the best I can do, so here goes!


I could probably write an entire book just on day 4; looking back at (MANY) pics taken on this day reminded me just how much we managed to cram into one single day! I'll try to keep the words to a minimum, and let the pictures tell the story.

Day 4 highlights

  • Picked up Jenny Sanchez and headed to Apaneca, the second highest town in El Sal, which is probably why it's known as the best coffee land in El Sal. However, we didn't have coffee on the brain this particular day; our main purpose in visiting Apaneca was the "Canopy Adventure Tour," aka, ZIPLINING!! Zipping through the tropical forest, high above the coffee plantations in one of the most lush places we've ever been was exhilarating!

  • Walking on the cobblestones streets through Apaneca provided us with many photo opportunities, specifically of the vibrant colors displayed in the architecture, specifically doorways and windows.

  • 'Jardin de Celeste' (Celeste's Garden) was the restaurant outside of Apaneca we stopped for lunch. Tucked away off the main road, it was a breathtaking outdoor setting that once again had us in awe of the amazing dining establishments in El Sal.

  • Ataco was the next town we drove to, quite a bit more lively than Apaneca had been; spent a while walking around, taking pictures (of course!) and Dave haggled with the nut vendor on the street-he still paid $8 for a bag of pistachios...not much of a deal at all, but apparently they're very expensive in El Sal!

  • Next we headed to Lago de Coatepeque, a sparkling blue crater lake on the eastern slope of Volcan Santa Ana and one of the largest lakes in El Salvador. It was there that we saw a breathtaking rainbow from the lake shore, and where we beheld a local fisherman and his son at work mere feet away from us. Along with ziplining, this was the highlight of the day for me.

  • The day wouldn't be complete without dinner, and for that we headed to 'Casa del Piedra' (House of Stone) for our first taste of pupusas. Pupusas are to El Salvador what hambugers are to Americans and 'sarmale' are to Romanians; they are the main staple and I was beyond anxious to try them! Casa del Piedra was restaurant perfection once again! Overlooking the city at night, we not only had an amazing view, but were serenaded by our own private band, complete with a xylophone. But most importantly, the pupusas were amazing and I discovered yet another food to be passionate about. A corn tortilla-like flat bread stuffed with cheese, fried pork meat, beans or all of the above and served with 'curtido,' a pickled cabbage salad-simply divine!