Friday, 3 June 2011

A day trip to Cartago - 22/05/2011

Our last day in Costa Rica was to be spent in the town of Cartago - previously the capital city and situated at the base of the Irazu volcano.  A drive into the hills, interesting ruins and a magnificent cathedral were something we were looking forward to.  At a mere 40 minutes outside San Jose, we were under no time pressure.

We caught a tico bus in San Jose (after spending a bit of time buying gifts at a local market), and were soon winding our way south-east on the Pan-American Highway.  Cartago is higher than San Jose, and at 1435m has a cooler climate, which was noticable once we stepped off the bus.

The town itself was severely damaged in a series of earthquakes between 1822 and 1910, and one of the first stops we made was the ruins of the Santiago Apóstol church.  The town square is situated next to these ruins, and a gorgeous garden has been planted within the roofless walls of this once great building. A sobering reminder of the great forces of nature that can reduce human structures to rubble in seconds.

Santiago Apóstol ruins...
A garden amongst the ruins...
Continuing our walk, we headed east towards the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles - a huge white cathedral built in 1639.  This too was seriously damaged by an earthquake, but has since been beautifully restored.  The cathedral has a fascinating history, having been consecrated to a small black stone statue of the virgin Mary.  Standing outside the main entrance, it was odd to see lottery ticket sellers doing business with people just leaving the Sunday service.

Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles
Crowds leaving the Sunday service...
By this time we'd worked up an appetite, so we headed for a local pizza restaurant (not being in the mood for beans and rice).  By the time we'd walked out, storm clouds were threatening, so we decided it was time to head to the bus station.  Soon the rain started bucketing down in true tropical fashion, and lasted the whole trip back to San Jose.  We'd timed our visit to Costa Rica just right - the rainy season was about to begin in earnest.

Until next time....

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed this Grant, the pics are fabulous!!