Last day in Swedish Lapland

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The best Northern Lights that we saw. Rather impressive. The photo is as it was, but just a bit brighter. We can only imagine what a real storm would be like.

 

All great. Cycling on Ice, skiing in the forest. Amazing.

Reindeer, dogs. What a place.

We will be back. We hope.

2nd day @Brandon Lodge

Gosh, what a day. Early – well, 7.45am – walk, breakfast and then a snow shoe around the sea. Actually across a bit of it. Goran, our guide, was fab. Lovely coffee and then lunch in the Sami house tent. Just the 3 of us and smoked reindeer. Yum.

After lunch, dog sledging. 6 dogs, all keen, and seem to know how to do it, as we don’t!. Only a few panic moments, then we started. Golly, amazing. We both had a chance to ‘drive’ which means holding on with a death grip and praying to your god or gods. They answered, as all survived. Even if the person in the sledge was gripping with his/ her bottom as tightly as the one gripping the sledge driving.

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Sami tent. Rather splendid place for lunch.

Supper: steak with pepper sauce. Fab day. And a glass of (very very expensive) wine. Argentinian Malbec has never been more expensive.

To sleep.

Next Adventure Brandon, Northern Sweden.

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We have arrived in Lapland in Sweden. A mere -5c, apparently quite warm for this time of year! We come in search of snow, huskies, ice fishing, and, of course, the Northern Lights. In the above photo a ‘hint’ of green can be seen. Ish.

Jolly cold, SAS bumped our flights by 3 hours, so 6.30pm arrival became 10pm, groan. The kindly Brandon Lodge had left us out supper and a bottle of wine! Yea.

Adventure starts tomorrow. Nordic Winter Skills at 10.00 am. Does it involve rape, pillage or plunder? Maybe not. Perhaps just ice fishing. Might even eat our catch!

Final Days.

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“This is how you grab a flower.” “I don’t care, I’m looking at the camera. “

Our final day at El Remanso Lodge. Over breakfast the Lodge did it’s best to keep us here with a display of howler monkeys, toucans, Macaws and a fab breakfast. The night before Linda said yes to a rather important question…. who put that bottle of Champagne in the room? Paul. So he must have something on his mind… and she said yes!! We are now engaged. Fab. A totally fitting end to an enchanting place.

The last stay was a total surprise. Xandari Resort. We sort of expected a slightly ‘airport’ hotel. What we got was an hotel within 20 mins of the airport, but in another world. Bush walks, waterfalls, fab plantings around the hotel, great food and lovely staff. If (when) we are back in San Jose this is on our list.

Relaxing stay before back to the cold and work. What disasters await?…..

The holiday is almost over, but will last in our memory. Hopefully for more than the first surgery.

Thank you Imagine travel. Sinead was Fab. Good advice, and seamless.

But Thank You to Costa Rica. Surpassed our expectations. We will be back.

27.1.19

“Relaxing” day, just loads of wildlife and the promise of a walk into the forest at night, again. The birds and mammals just are amazing, and many reptiles think you are lovely. For lunch or dinner. We are increasingly aware how extraordinary this place is. Many ‘resorts’ have loads  of wildlife that are fed and nurtured for the benefit of tourists. The monkeys are fed bananas, the humming birds are fed sugary drinks (a bit like the humans)  and the photos are taken. Here, they try not to interact with the life around at all. No feeding, no pampering, not a ‘zoo’. So we see what we see, sometimes not what we want to see. And bushes and trees get in the way of the Nikon. Hey ho. Totally fab. But sometimes they choose to turn up on top of our heads. Not sure who is watching who!

At night the rules change. We can not see. ‘They can’. And they bite, and do. The fer de lance snake will happily kill a human. Looks great. The spiders won’t kill you. But apparently it really hurts.

The night is so interesting. All bets are off. Other than mine is a cold beer.

Osa, 26.1.19

Osa Peninsula is quite extraordinary. Remote. Life is teeming. Everything trying to outgrow each other. The birds chirping in a most exotic way. Flashed of colours are everywhere, except where the camera is pointing. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, we are becoming good at telling the difference, even just from their noises in the trees. We can even start to recognise a few bird calls.

Collared ant eater

Sleeping after an ant feast.

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The afternoon was all about walks around the hotel.Loads to see and the start was a sooo cute collared anteater. Grubbing out ants, rubbing his nose when the ants bit too often and then moving on when ant reinforcements arrived. Amazing, and a privilege just to watch. We prefer a menu and a glass of wine.

Fab day.

 

25.1.19, to Osa Peninsula.

The trip started well, 9.45, lovely breakfast and found that the directions were wrong, but in a good way! They said 25km of dirt track, but: new road! Yea. Much easier. But then it got real. Dirt track is a bit of a compliment, very steep, across two streams, both of which needed full 4×4 and Paul swallowed a brave pill. It worked, phew. The car could probably cope with a lot more. Human issue!

Arrived at El Remanso. The place is, well, just totally, wow. No wifi, no TV, but eco and the staff exude local knowledge and information. Wildlife everywhere and no need for locks – we don’t even know our villa number. Everyone just seems to know us!

Night walk, and loads of bitey things.

Ronaldo, our night guide took us down to the river armed with torches.  He has an uncanny way to spot all kinds of creepy crawlies which would simply have been invisible to us – scorpions, tarantulas, crayfish, agouti (looks like a giant rat but cuter).  He could even call to the red eye leaf frog and it called back enabling him to track it down to the leaf it was sitting on.  An eye-opening hike.

Back for supper. Grand day.

Tomorrow a walk in the woods!

On the water.24.1.19

 

We started the day with a boat trip hopefully to see dolphins and to snorkel. The waters around here are apparently great. However we came across a pod of false orcas and we got side  tracked. Apparently, very rare in these waters and can be quite aggressive towards humans in the water so snorkeling sadly cancelled. But what a great reason to cancel! They are hard to photo, don’t usually leap in the air but look huge in the water. We saw one with a fish in its mouth – honest. And you can hear the echo location system they use. So fab!

Then, a pod of spotted pacific dolphins, including a baby with its mother. Again, hard to photo!!

We landed on a remote beach, only to be greeted by 4 Aussi’s saying one of them has just been stung by killer bees, and pointed to a swarm. Ouch. We kept well away, but did manage to find some coral, and imagined what the  snorkeling might have been.

The morning passed so quickly. Lunch was tuna, then a walk to the waterfall.

Loads of birds here.  Just sitting by the pool, flashes of colour dip down into the water for a splash and a preen.  Streaks of scarlet and blue whizz across our field of vision – totally distracting and absorbing.

This is a Scarlet rumped Cacique, uncommon apparently. Spectacular in flight.

Tomorrow to Osa. And off grid for a few days.

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Uvita. 23.1.19

Early am (well, not that early) dirt track down to Ballena National Park, timed for low tide to walk out to the famous “whale tail”. The most astonishing vast empty gold sand beach fringed with palms, no people, no hotels, no hawkers – bliss.  Costa Rica surprises us at every turn as, overheating, we headed for the shade of the palms and heard squawking and shrieking.   Our patience was rewarded with the scarlet flashes of the vibrant primary coloured scarlet macaws.  Through our bins and camera lens the noises were a preliminary to a bit of a courting ritual.  Not sure if it was him or her swinging upside down on the branches -what a treat to witness.  Definite highlight of our day.   Sadly, the macaws are now extinct on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Amazing birds, and in the wild easily heard, a bugger to photo.

Our pm expedition took us to some isolated waterfalls. Paul demonstrated his climbing prowess  (more practice required at the climbing wall).  He discovered the delights of the waterfall pool – very refreshing.  The thing it’s easy to forget is that there are loads of  nasty bitey, stingy things around and as we gathered up our garb, watching our every move are more poisonous frogs.

The day topped off with a swim in the villa infinity pool, Oxygen Villas,  listening to the howler monkeys, cicadas, shrieks and calls of all the wildlife around – pretty amazing..

Tomorrow a boat trip and hopefully snorkeling. Fab.