Scenes of Nicaragua: Granada

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Granada is a colonial town pouring over with color and beauty. Kyler snapped a few photos as we checked it out. Enjoy!
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Back to Caribbean Style

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After many months on the road, several friends and family who have been waiting for an excuse to come to Central America have asked us: “When is the Honeymoon-part of your Honeymoon over?” indicating they don’t want to crash our Honeymoon, but would like to visit. We always reply: “Our Honeymoon will never be over, it’ll last for the rest of our lives, but you are welcome to join us!” So, as you know, our wonderful friends, Ellie and Todd, have been traveling with us for the past four weeks and on Sunday we met up with Kyler’s mom, Arlene, who flew in from the cold, white north (Calgary, Canada) to join us for a week.

Monday morning, we left the Costa Rican capital and drove to the Caribbean coast, to the little village and popular traveler’s destination of Puerto Viejo. The drive took us a little over five hours, including a lunch stop at a local soda (the name of road side restaurants serving local cousine). We all had a typical Costa Rican casado, which is some sort of meat, chicken or fish with rice, beans and other sides, usually fried plaintains, cabbage or a salad. They are usually your safe bet – not overly exciting, but always a solid meal.

San Jose Puerto Viejo map

Being a group of five, we had pre-booked a cabin outside Puerto Viejo, to make sure we would have a place to stay. The cabin is most definitely what can be considered rustic, but has an outdoor kitchen, bathroom with toilet and shower and two bed rooms – way beyond the standard of many places Kyler and I have stayed in the past! We are only about 150 meters away from the beach, and surrounded by palm trees and all their wild life. At night, we can hear the howler monkeys near and far, along with the waves crushing as they hit the sand.

Cabin eveing

The cabin is frequently visited by various bugs and geckos. This bug is rather impressive! Good thing we all have insect nets we sleep under!

cabin insect animal

Spider web

We have rented bikes for the next few days. It is flat and easy to move around here. We biked 8 km to the end of the road, to the village of Manzanillo to a soda for lunch. Guess what we had? Yup, you guessed it – a casado!

Manzanillo lunch

the honeymooners

Soda Manzanillo

Back to Costa Rica

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This past border crossing went by like a pleasurable dream. Who would have thought our past vehicle permit had been saved electronically? The border patrol found it in a matter of seconds! All we had to do was to reactivate it, get a couple signatures and a stamp, and we were good to go! Our insurance from before was still valid, hence we did not have to figure out where to go and get it. Less than an hour after leaving Panama, we were in Costa Rica. Definitely a new Central American border crossing record!

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We have spent the last couple of days and nights in Dominical. It is a pretty chilled out beach town with some surf, fun and lots of Americans (much like all of Costa Rica). The beach line is stunningly beautiful due to Costa Rica’s restrictions on building by the beach. Good thing!

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We are now in the process of packing up our Honey. We are heading up the coast!

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We be Cruisin’

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No better way to check out the island than to rent a bike and go cruisin’! We are based in Bocas Town on Colón island and headed for the nearby beaches, Paunch and Bluff. Our bike ride took us through town, by the local airstrip, from narrow asphalt roads to sand and literally biking on the beach.

Just stunningly beautiful and really cheap fun! $3.75 bike rental – Yes, please!

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Aaaah! Cold coconut water, some air between the toes and a nice view – We are two lucky folks!

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The Last of Las Vegas

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We have now left the lights and sounds of Las Vegas and are in a different state – but we did do the last of Las Vegas in style!

I mentioned earlier that we have been staying with aunt Sam and uncle Jim in Henderson. They have a big house where we had our own suite and we had a great time with them. They are seniors and along with the neighbours in their friendly neighbourhood, we had time for coffee in the morning, hanging out in the garage, visiting, chatting, cleaning the van and fixing a couple things. Our Honey is now in tiptop shape. Sam and Jim’s vehicles, a 40 Chevy and a 54 Chevy, are worth a showing:

They even trusted us to take it for a drive!

Back to our last night in Vegas: Have you guys heard of the app Hotel Tonight? We were told about it just a couple days ago and checked it out for our last night in Las Vegas. Turned out we got a room at Planet Hollywood for $10! We were very happy about the price, and figured that even if they put us in the basement, it’s a great deal.

So, we check in and let them know we are on our honeymoon – it never hurts to try! The receptionist then proceeds to inform us that we have been upgraded to a suite with a view of the Strip! Whaaat! Pretty psyched we get in the elevator and find our sweet suite. It has a circular bathroom, Arnold’s original Terminator jacket, a lounge and a view. How cool! $10!

After getting ourselves calmed down, we ventured out into the deep of old Las Vegas – Fremont Street. At Fremont Street we met up with super cool Sam and Jim. Fremont Street is crazy. You will see all types of people. Women with beards, men with their junk tucked back in a bikini, Micheal Jackson, Elvis (a few of them), Tupac, people who put themselves into boxes, women and men with big boobs, small boobs, feathers and sequins, people who state they are too ugly to be in porn and ask for money instead. It’s all pretty wild, wildly entertaining.

Every hour the music is blasted and the Fremont Street light show is on. Some people sit to watch, some people stand to watch, some people lie down to watch, some people are busy pouring vodka from the top of their head and some people are simply too drunk to know anything is going on at all. It is all good.

Sam and Jim took us to a biker bar called Hogs and Heifers just off Fremont Street. The bar is often danced on and women love to leave their bras there. I didn’t do either of those things, but I did have fun anyways. Sam and I were lucky to get a picture with the security beef in the corner. First we got this shot:

Then he asked us: Do you want a real Hogs and Heifers shot? And we got this one:

That’s how badass this place is. We fit right in.

So, Las Vegas, we left our sins behind and hit the road again. Where to? North on Highway 15 – we are going to Zion National Park! (North?!? Yeah, I know!)

Living it UP in San Francisco

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For our wedding we were the fortunate recipients of a gift card to The Ritz-Carlton from Landon, Kyler’s brother. We decided to treat ourselves in San Francisco and checked in!

With parking being very expensive in the city we had parked our van for free in the hills of Berkeley and taken the train in. With backpack on our backs and sneakers on our feet we looked like the average traveler, not like the one that would check into the Ritz.

Upon arrival we were immideately greeted by the gentlemen and ladies of the Ritz. Glasses of champagne were in our hands before we had time to say our names. Gregory at the front desk then proceded to inform us that he had upgraded us, the newlyweds, to a suite on the sixth floor. Yes! Excited and sweaty from the hike we excitedly got in the elevator and slid our key card into the slot to allow us entrance to the sixth floor. In the very end of the hallway we reached our destination, Suite 627. We unlock the door and walk straight into heaven.

Suite 627 is approximately 80 m2. It has a hallway, one guest toilet, one full bathroom with a tub and a shower, a large livingroom, a large bedroom, a little hallway leading into a little area with a desk and two large closets. It’s located on one of the building’s corners and therefore has views of the city from two angles. Awesome.

After a bit of jumping and running around our suite, the door bell rings. When we just thought life couldn’t get any better, a lovely personalized card and strawberries wearing chocolate tuxedos enter our little piece of heaven.

After a sought-after shower we ventured out to San Fran’s Chinatown and Little Italy. After dinner, we got some cheap wine and Ritz crackers and returned to our suite at …wait for it… The Ritz!

Not long after getting back, our lovely housekeeper Sui came by and filled up our supplies of ice, coffee and milk chocolate. I was also given a white rose and she took a couple photos of and with us.

After housekeeping left, we called the front desk and got movies delivered on the door. The last part of the night (well, not the very last…) was spent on the couch (a luxury when living in a van) watching a movie. The Pursuit of Happyness, in case you wondered. What a lovely time we had!

The next day, Tuesday, we worked out in the hotel’s gym, showered multiple times and made several coffees. Oh, we also went to Alcatraz! More on that later.

Wednesday morning we asked for a late checkout and enjoyed all facilities to the max. Including sitting in every chair the suite had to offer. In the last photo you can see the windows at the corner of our suite.

Kyler was worried that I’d be disappointed by van living after having had a taste of Haute Living, but do not worry! The variation is what makes it truly special!

I love the diversity of the life that we are so fortunate to be living. (Written in the Walmart parking lot in Napa.)