This morning I woke up in a hostel in San Juan de Sur with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Nicaragua. This evening I slowly sipped an ice cold beer overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Cruz, Costa Rica. Between these two moments I have run a marathon, crossed an international border, received amazing generosity and was even given a piece of pizza as I ran down the road. Its eclectic days like this that make being on the road so amazing and make sure that silly things like doubt don’t even think about raising their silly little heads!
So let’s start at the beginning. A couple of days ago I had decided to take detour to San Juan de Sur on the recommendation of a new friend called Chris who I met in Leon. He had recommended a hostel called Casa de Olas which is run by two Australians and was described as a home away from home. I am going to write a separate blog on my stay there so let’s just skip to getting the bill this morning. There was no bill. Fred and Carla has decided to overlook small things like this to help support my expedition. This put me in an awesome mood straight away… As San Juan is not technically on my running route I had decided that I was going to allow myself a lift back to the Pan-American Highway to give myself the best chance of arriving somewhere sensible that evening. Again Fred came to the rescue and at 8.30am I was ready to go.
The road to the border is straight and luckily quite flat. On the left it is farm land which appeared to be mostly for cattle. There are also the odd wind turbine which accompany those that stand along the right of the road. Also on your right is a huge lake that spans as far as the eye can see. The only land visible is that of two huge volcanos that rise out of the water. As far as running roads they don’t come much better. The only down side were the flies. There were hundreds and they swarmed so badly that in places I had to wear a cloth round my face to stop the flying into my mouth. Every time I ran through a swarm my stroller would be covered in them and I would have to use my running top to clean them away.
After 20km the road curves to the right and towards the Costa Rican border. None of my border crossing have been very challenging but this was the easiest. Everyone was so kind, friendly and helpful and there was even some larking about and photographic advice! The one challenge I had been warned of is that the Costa Rican immigration need to have proof of you leaving the country but luckily my appearance and stroller were more than enough.
Once through the border the scenery changes from flat to hill and open to forest. After a few km I stopped for some lunch and shared a table with some inquisitive locals. We chatted away about this and that (in Spanish). When one of them started preaching about religion I got a little lost but when one of his friends walked away and the other glazed over I realised I was missing much.
The road to La Cruz (my final destination) was about 18km and through rolling hills. It was a beautiful run if a little hard in places and walking was called on a couple of time. On one hill and man stopped and handed me a lovely hot piece of pizza. Amazingly I bumped into him later and had a chance to thank him properly.
Once in La Cruz the usual end of day routine kicked in but only today I had to deal with getting to know new prices and finding money etc. Luckily the lady in the first hotel sensed my budget and pointed me to a few other options. There was a hostel in the centre of town with the most amazing view but sadly it was fully booked. I finally found a reasonably priced room and went in search of money to pay for it.
For some reason Central American ATMs have long queues and today was no different. My heart sank when I say 20 people lined up. After what seemed an age a lady emerged from the booth to announce that it had run out of money. It was at this point that I realised I had run a marathon today and hadn’t replenished my fuel tanks… luckily the wait was not much longer.
I returned to the hotel to check in and get settled in. What is normally a quick process was somewhat drawn out due to the old lady who owned the hotel wanting a quick geography lesson about the British Isles. She actually went and got a pen and paper and made my draw a map and explain the difference between GB and UK. To draw out the process there was a confusion with the change. Luckily my amazing Spanish came into action and all was resolved – I actually think I came off a little better off!!!
I then returned to the hostel and grabbed a beer and watched the sun set in spectacular style over the most amazing view. So there we have it – a pretty awesome day. I am now getting ready for a potentially mammoth day tomorrow….