THE FLOWER ROUTE
22.04.2017 - 24.04.2017 25 °C
DAY 76 SATURDAY 22ND APRIL
Poached eggs (cooked by the egg queen) for breakfast. This Casa has a share kitchen which is very nice, probably the best and cleanest kitchen we have seen in our travels so far. And the shower was hot water - wow we are really getting spoiled.
Juayua is one of the mountain villages which is on the Ruta de las Flores (The Flower Route) and every weekend has a food festival. I had read about this place before leaving home and it sounded like a good place to visit.
We headed out for a better look around town. There are lots of murals painted around the town. We had a walk through the market and a look into the church.
I had read that there would be lots of exotic/unusual food on offer, but this was not the case. They are no longer allowed to offer iguana or armadillo or snake as these are now endangered and have been illegal to sell since 2014. The most exotic food we saw was one stall selling rabbit. There was not even a fried frog to be seen, these are still allowed but obviously not a popular seller. This weekend festival is not put on for tourists as we seemed to be the only non El Salvadorians in town.
A quick walk through to have a look at the food on offer at the food festival, meant returning to the hotel for some extra money and back out to eat lunch.
On the way back to lunch a guy had a huge snake which you could hold and take photos for US$1. How could I resist??
Most of the food on offer has a display plate with the price so you can see what you will get. When we tried to mix and match items on different dishes this was not acceptable. You must order what is on display.
Dolly went for a soup where the sign said Pato - which to me means duck - but ended up with tripe soup and was not impressed. Lyn and I shared a seafood cocktail and then I had a steak plate and Lyn had a pork ribs plate and we shared the meats. It was all priced around US$5-6, so not too bad.
Although it was a little cooler last night, it's pretty hot again today, which meant we needed to stop for a beer during the day.
We chilled out at the Casa before heading out again in the afternoon for a short walk up the hill to look out over the town.
DAY 77 SUNDAY 23RD APRIL
No aircon or even a fan in our room last night, but neither were needed as the air is cooler up here in the hills.
Another breakfast of Dolly's poached eggs which were a bit of a mess due to 'a crappy pan'. lol Well it was nice to have a change every now and then.
We hung around the hostel, in the morning, doing not much and a bit of washing. Lyn loves it here cause there is a line out in the courtyard where she can hang washing out in the sun, rather than in our room or on a balcony. Funny how little things make some people happy.
Time to head out and we decided on an excursion to a neighbouring town called Salcoatitan, on the Flower Route. It was only 2km down the road, so easy for us to walk. We had passed this town on the way up on the bus on Friday but as I was standing for this leg of the journey I did not see any of it or the road to it. Leaving Juayua was easy, just took the same road out as the buses were taking, and it was all down hill. Well all down hill until we met the uphill at the halfway mark and then it was 1km of up hill. Dolly was suitably unimpressed.
Finally reaching the top of the hill it was then just a short walk into the main street of Salcoatitan. One main street and that was about it really. We walked to through town to the far end taking photos of the many mosaics along the way.
Our short walk was rewarded with by a giant cieba tree which is supposedly 300 years old. It was a magnificent specimen and we paused briefly to admire its splendour.
By now it was time for a beer and we found a kiosk in the market place selling Goldens for US$1.25 each. We have decided Golden is our choice of beer for El Salvador, it does not even come close to our favourite Victoria Frost, but in Vikkies absence this is the best substitute we could find. Really we are up for any cold beer on a hot day, but have managed to find preferences in each country.
Lunch was going to be back in Juayua at the food festival and there was no way in hell that Dolly (or any of us) wanted to walk the short but hilly 2 km walk back. The bus passes by every 30 minutes, or a collective ute taxi was our best option to get back. We waited roadside for about 10 minutes when Dolly flagged down a ute that was not actually a taxi, it was just a family but they stopped and were willing to give us a lift. There were a couple of local girls standing at the bus stop with us and they were happy to get in the back of the ute, so we did too. It was only a less than 10 minute ride in the car and the driver was happy to give us the lift for free. The girls were waved off by him so we just walked away too. After thanking the driver of course.
On the way to find some food I saw that the snake man was out again today and he had an albino python today, so I just had to have a hold. This snake was much bigger and heavier than the one yesterday.
So lunch today was a better choices than made yesterday. Lyn had rabbit, which was a little tough because it was bbq when rabbit really needs to be stewed. Well at least we think it was rabbit, oddly enough the surrounding dogs that we fed our scraps to would not eat the bones from the rabbit that Lyn gave to them. I had pork ribs with a couple of the local sausages (which look a bit like dogs balls) which are made of pork and some other gritty stuff. They were ok, but the skin they were in was very thick so good chance it was intestine of some description. Dolly also had pork ribs - but not as we know them. The food was good and our meals were like US$6-7 each. And the Goldens at the food fare were only US$1.
The rest of the afternoon we chilled out at the casa. Cocktail hour came and we cracked open a bottle of rum. We are drinking the good stuff now, Flor de Cana which we bought from the supermarket for US$7.99 a bottle. They don't seem to have there own rum here in El Salvador, so we are not able to get rum as cheap as the other countries we have travelled.
Since we have a good share kitchen here, we have put Lyn back in to cook dinner. At least she got to break in her new apron.
DAY 78 MONDAY 24th APRIL
No sleep in today we are off to visit 2 more villages on the Flower Route. The poached egg queen seemed to have retired already so we just had to have toast for breakfast.
A very slow chicken bus took us for US$0.50c each the 18km along the winding mountain road to Concepcion de Ataco, another village on the Flower Route. This village is known for lots of murals painted on the outside of houses and shops. There were lots of tourists shops here too, but still we thought the prices were very expensive and most of the bric and brac we don't need or want or even have room to carry if we did want.
On arrival we found a coffee shop attached to a hostel where we stopped and had a 'western' style coffee. It looked great and it was ok, but the milk here is all made from powdered milk so it just does not taste the same. But we really wanted to have a coffee since we are in the middle of El Salvador's major coffee growing area.
We spent hours walking around the little town, must have walked up and down every street photographing all the colourful murals. The central park had amazing trees in it and we found a kiosk to have a beer and a little rest.
Lunch was at a hamburger/hot dog stand in central park. It was pretty good, and very cheap at US$2 for a burger and a soft drink. And for the half an hour we sat there we made for great amusement for the by standing locals.
From Ataco we took the chicken bus back to the town of Apaneca. This place does not have a great deal to offer, but it has the office of the company that Lyn & I want to do a canopy tour with tomorrow. I thought the hostel we are staying at was able to organize this for us but the young guy working there advised me (via google translate) that we need to go to the office ourselves and organize it direct with them. So there we were after doing a lap of the small town and not finding the office we did find the tourist office with a lovely helpful lady who did not speak a word of English. She gave a full and extensive directions to the office of which we understood nothing except the general direction with which she has pointed her arm.
We did eventually find the office and are booked in for 11.30 tomorrow.
Back on the main street to get another chicken bus back to Juayua we missed the stop and saw the bus turn off down a street we were not on. Helpful local ladies advised we could get it further up on the main road and we walked to the bus stop and waited just a little while until another bus came along. US$0.40c each got us back to Juayua in record time as our chicken bus driver seemed to be on a mission to see if he could get this old bus up on 2 wheels while negotiating the corners of the mountain road. We were sliding around on the vinyl seats and holding on for dear live and to prevent ourselves from falling into the isle of the bus. It was not only us, all the other passengers were grasping with all their might to stay on the seats also.
There was a bright light and a clap of thunder which indicated that rain was not far away. Maybe the driver wanted to finish his shift before the rain started. It was just starting to slip with rain as we got off the bus and started walking towards our casa. A stop at the supermarket for dinner supplies delayed us enough for the rain to be coming down somewhat harder when we left the shop. It was only a couple of blocks to our casa and I ended up getting more wet from the water falling off the end of un guttered roofs than I did from the rain falling down. About 2 minutes after we were undercover it really started to come down so luckily we had missed the worst of it.
5pm and it was rum o'clock again. Lyn cooked us pork chops and vegies for dinner.
It is a lot cooler here tonight even though the rain only lasted less than an hour.