Well the day has come…we are leaving Costa Rica. I want to head home to see my dogs, but I really don’t want to leave this magical place either…I wonder how the dogs would feel living here? Hmmmm.
We wake up early and enjoy our coffee on the balcony watching the sun rise in all of her splendor. We pack our suitcases and head to the beach for a final walk. It is hard to believe the week went by so quickly…they seem to drag on for an eternity at home. We enjoy a breakfast of what have become our favorites and staple at the Diria…gallo pinto (rice and beans with a secret flavoring made in every home here and every Madre has her own flavoring recipe which she keeps a secret….you will never taste any two the same but they are all delicious), assorted fruits, freshly made Costa Rican coffee and maybe a pastry or two. No….definitely we had pastries.
Next we take a little walk through the shops to get a few souvenirs for the grandchildren and I wanted a Costa Rican coffee maker. I use it every weekend and the handmade wooden mug I bought to go with it, and of course my Monkey coffee (read previous blog). All of the Ticos make their coffee this way and it is simple and makes a delicious brew. I look at it on my counter every day and think about my Tico friends.
Back in our room, we do a quick check to make sure we have everything and as I look into the closet…I yell…”Melanie someone has been in our room and left their jacket”…even as I type this I realize how ridiculous that statement is. Melanie walks over, looks at the jacket and laughs. “Mom, that is your coat…you bought it right before we left and hung it in the closet when we got here”. Oh boy…she was right. I had purchased a lightweight rain jacket just in case I needed it…and I forgot that I hung it in the closet…my poor daughter…the things I say to her. Bless her beautiful soul.
We head down to the lobby and when our shuttle arrives we load our suitcases and settle in for the ride to the airport in Liberia. I start to cry as we leave the Diria. I have travelled to many places and never have I ever been so sad to leave. Costa Rica stole my heart and I am feeling like I am leaving home….not going home. I let the tears roll for a while and make a resolution that I will return to this place and explore even more of the country for a much longer period of time…and perhaps live here part time. I still feel the same way 1 year later.
At the airport we check in without a hitch. Oddly, they were taping in masking tape all of the luggage going to the USA that had any type of coffee or food in it…they didn’t bother doing that to mine…and yes I told her I had coffee in my suitcase. Going through security was quick and easy…they are so very friendly. Oh…and there are plenty of police and police sniffer dogs in the airport…walking amongst all of us…the dogs sniffing bags and passengers. Its a little unnerving at first, because there were so many of them, and even though we have the dogs in our airports in Canada, there are only a few. And even when you are in the waiting area to board your flight, the police walk through with the dogs constantly. To be honest I wanted to pet them, but even I know that is a big no no.
We have a bite to eat in the airport and then we board our plane. Melanie and I settle in and we watch movies all the way to our lay over stop in Miami, USA. Its here where things get a little dark…the skies…they are pitch black.
We were in the midst of a massive thunder, rain and lightening storm above Miami, and we were not able to land. The plane is shaking and hitting air pockets like crazy and the sky looks like it is night….pitch black except for the flashes of lightening that are long and huge. We circle Miami for over an hour and finally we begin our decent….in the pouring rain. We taxi to the spot where we leave the plane and walk out into the driving rain…it was awful.
Once inside the airport….we….meaning I …misread a sign and Melanie and I head out the door and down the escalator…into the wrong area of the airport. We now can see where we should be…going through a security check point…but it is on the other side of steel security doors and we cannot get to it. I try asking this lovely lady Maria how we can get back into our boarding area….I tell her we have just come from Costa Rica…and she smiles and walks us to the check in counter…for flights going to Costa Rica….she did not understand English well and thought that Costa Rica is where we wanted to go….at this point I am soooo tempted.
Finally we find someone who shows us where we need to go….into a huge line up and another security check…at this point we are both tired, grumpy and just wanting to land in Toronto. Once through security, we find out our flight is delayed due to the weather so we end up waiting a few hours that wasn’t in our plan. We eventually board our plane…I don’t think we really spoke too much at all on this leg of the journey…just watched movies and slept.
Finally…our tanned feet touch down on Canadian soil…we soar through security and head outside to call the shuttle that will take us to the hotel where we had left my car and booked a room for tonight. We get to our room, and after I go out to check on my car, we settle in for a good nights sleep…welcome home to us.
We are about 4 and a half hours away from where we live, but its only Saturday, so we decide we will drive through backroads towards home and spend the night in a quaint town called Collingwood….why rush home when we can have one more day of vacation.
Collingwood is home to the Blue Mountains…a ski resort area that is a wonderful place to walk around and check out the unique shops, restaurants, bars and the scenery.
We look in all the trendy shops and eat lunch at a great little restaurant, Camino Taco….We had falafels and we are both remembering our wonderful experience at the Falafel House in Tamarindo…sigh. We see everything that we wanted to see in the Village and we determine that we don’t want to stay in Collingwood so we head to another small town, Wasaga Beach, only to find that nothing was really open. So, being the spontaneous world travellers we are, we decide to head to a beautiful city, Orillia.
We find a motel online….The Maples… that looks okay for a good price and decide we will head there. When we pull in it looks old and kind of sketchy, but we just need a place to sleep so, we get the owner to show us around and decide to take it. It turned out to be just old, but clean and quiet with really comfortable beds.
We freshen up and head downtown to find a place for dinner. We chose really well because we had a delicious Middle Eastern meal and so many laughs…let me tell you about it.
Samfir is located right on the main street downtown. It is welcoming and odors coming from the kitchen make your tummy rumble immediately. Named after an island on in the Red Sea, this is a very relaxing place to stop in for a bite to eat. The decor is cozy and warm and there is Egyptian music playing softly in the background. The owner’s wife seated us and brought us some wine. We placed our order and it was served by the owner and chef himself…Samir Hannah. What a character this guy is….hilarious, welcoming, hospital and a great chef….reminds me of the Ticos already.
We finish our supper and are waiting for our tea to come when doesn’t this great song come on. Melanie and I immediately begin to belly dance in our seats…bodies swaying, arms moving methodically to the beat….well we felt that it looked rythmic anyway. Samir, laughing, walks over, having been watching us, and says that if we must dance, then we need to stand up and do it properly. We decline this very enticing offer…I am certain the other patrons were thankful. Samir then tells us we must have dessert…we say no…we couldn’t possibly eat any more…and then he leaves and comes back with a huge slice of his homemade baklava and two forks…we devour this delicious treat. There is always room for dessert, right? We spend some time talking with Samir and his wife and then we settle up our bill and leave. If you are in Orillia, this is a great restaurant for both the experience and the delicious food.
Melanie and I decide that we will go out for a quick drink before we go to sleep…you know…call it an early night…so we walk over to a pub just down the street. Little did we know that this would turn into quite the night….that didn’t end early.
Our motel was located really close to Fionn MacCools and so we thought this would be a great spot for a quick tipple before bed. We get some seats and order our drinks. We spend the time talking about our vacation and then….our waitress says she can’t serve us any more. What? We have only had a glass of wine and we aren’t unruly yet. She tells us that the DJ is about to start and she is now the bartender. At this point Melanie and I realize that the place is now full and the DJ starts up the tunes. The place starts to really rock. There is much drinking and dancing and we sit there, order more wine, and take it all in.
At one point Melanie says she is heading to the bathroom…which is across the dance floor. I sit and wait for her return…and then I see…her dancing up a storm on the dance floor with a big group of people. What is going on? I hardly am able to figure it out when a couple and their daughter take a seat at my table with me. Of course we start talking, and then…the woman grabs me and hauls me off to the dance floor, where I begin dancing with her and several of her girlfriends. At one point Melanie and I lock eyes and just smile…this is classic us…just going with the moment and letting things happen.
We stayed to just about close and then figured it was a good time to leave…we had been dancing non stop for hours. Soooo much fun. The staff here were great….excellent service and making sure everyone was in the spirit of having fun. Lakeshore Fionn MacCools’s…the place to go for a really fun night.
We have a great sleep in our no tell motel room…all kidding aside, we really did. The next morning we get up early, because we are heading to the Mariposa Market…and you must get there early to get the freshly baked goods before they are sold out.
The Mariposa Market is an absolute must see in Orillia. A combined bakery, kitchenware, souvenir and coffee store, it is a true delight to all of your senses. Row upon row of cakes, cookies, pies, breads, donuts, tarts, fudges….you names they have it…and it is all made right there…fresh every day. I can almost smell the deliciousness as I type this.
We quickly pick up our baked goods, browse the kitchen wares and make a few purchases, grab a delicous fresh brewed coffee and head to the car. Of course, a few of the baked goods were eaten immediately…we called it breakfast.
Now it is time…truly time…to head home. We only make one stop…for me to buy a new duvet for my bed…(if you read the first blog of this Costa Rica series you will find out why).
I pull into Melanie’s driveway and help her unpack her bags from my car. We hug…knowing that the end of this amazing adventure has finally come. We have lifetime of memories, friendships and stories to tell.
I go home and am so happy to see my dogs…they were happy mom was home. I know that I have experienced something that will live in me forever. Costa Rica is all I think about…the one place that I have been blessed to visit that I long to return home to.
If you ever think about going there…just go!
My next travel series is another trip through the USA and will involve moonshine, ghost stories and creepy little towns. Will you come along for the adventure with me?
Live Your Life…Jan