Day 2 & 3 – Arguas Zarcas to paradise…
That was a lot easier. After a rather dramatic first day, the second was a piece of cake – sort of. The first 60km came with a lot of level roads and temperate conditions. Then, just a few very steep and very long climbs were followed by fantastic downhills. Ok sure, some of us had to push our bikes a bit to get over the hill, and the granny gears were working overtime. The cyclists loved the second stretch – a bumpy gravel road. The first rider in was our French representative, Eric, who glided into the ranch at 10h30. The rain stayed away. Lunch consisted of Peanut butter, Nutella, tuna, and cheese sandwiches – not all together, mostly. For hours we cycled next to Volcano Arenal, one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world. The last time she blew her top was only two years ago. There are still hotels that are built along the slopes of Arenal.
Fauna and Flora check:
Sloth x 1 = Riders who sighted this elusive creature reported that it slipped away remarkably fast so they could not document it for us.
Toucan x 3 = These gorgeous birds hung out in a tree next to our lunch truck for a while.
Stray dogs = Many. One lucky boy licked his chops as he finished our lunch leftovers.
Bat x 1 = Came flying down the passage at me early this morning.
Mice x 3 = Discovered at 1 am in Linda and Lisa’s room. The screams were remarkably contained. It was a mum and her 2 babies that decided to nest in Linda’s comforter. Cristiano’s, our tour guide, voice was heard in the room but he says that he was only enquiring after the ladies’ health.
Leafcutter ants x gazillion = Documented by Lisa, National Geographic style. The spotting of the tiny colony removing large parts of the rainforest on their backs had her remark that if ants with their small brains can be so organised, we should be grateful they are not our size, as they would wipe out the human race in a heartbeat. Some people get very philosophical when they get on their bikes. The leafcutter ant travels for over 2km to get food to and from their feeding place. They feed from a particular mushroom. So the leaves they are transporting are to fertilise the soil for their little mushroom plantation. One leader ant carries the leaf, and atop two tiny inspector ants taxi to make sure there are no poisons such as pesticides on the leaf which might contaminate their mushroom. So Lisa’s is a good philosophy.
Tonight we are staying in the most gorgeous ranch right in the middle of a rain forest: a paradise retreat.
What we do when we don’t cycle
Today is also our day of. We are at the self-sustainable Rancho Margot: home-made yoghurts and cheese, organic fruit and veg, pancakes, free-range eggs and fresh milk. For relaxation? You’d think the lot would be exhausted. Nope, they go horse-back riding, kayaking next to the volcano, ziplining, yoga classes, and yes, the milking of cows. Our doctor, Sarah, and I decided to give it a bash. It is a little harder than it looks but I recon we got at least a glass out between the two of us.
Suzette and Esti chose to go ziplining through the tropical forest.
The aroma of our fully organic home-grown supper is drifting across the breeze. Tomorrow is our first river crossing. This should be interesting.