sunset over the caldera
After breakfast the next morning we decided to go on a tour that took us to the caldera onto one of the islands and to a hot springs .... We drove to town..... I took my usual frustrated pictures from the back seat..... Considering the speed I did get a few good shots..... We parked at one end of town and walked up to the main town.....
We went into town first to get food at the bakery. Once we had our lunch and some water we started thinking about where we needed to meet the boat for the tour. As luck would have it we were at the exact wrong part of town. David and Ben took off running.... I was supposed to run but I got annoyed that we weren't just taking a taxi instead of killing ourselves so I took pictures as I trotted behind the boys.
I was tired and hot and peeved that we weren't enjoying the town as we raced through. David met me at the top of the tram. He had paid for the tickets already and was waiting for me. I was really warm from hurrying........ we stuffed into the tram pod with three cruise people who were astonished at us in general. They just stared at us as we decended down to the caldera floor. I continued taking pictures and tried to act much cooler than I looked. (my face was beet red and I was a puddle....)
When we got to the boat I was happy to see it was an old fashioned wooden boat. It had a huge wooden mast and a second floor. All of the wood was beautifully varnished.
flower pots at top of stairs
We got on and found a place to sit in the back area. We found we were next to a couple who were on their 3 month honeymoon. What a smart couple... they had a wedding and took off immediately afterwards... most of their gifts were money.
We got to the caldera island and found we needed to pay an entrance fee. There were souvenier volcanic rocks we could buy but I wanted to wait.... A few people headed to the top of the island... David and I decided to head towards the first large mountain.... It was really hot and the land was crumbling large black jagged stones. There was a trail lined with huge stones.... we followed it then we went towards a flag that was off the main path.
White pot with blue sky ... sigh... wish I were there now!...
.... David made it to the flag and I stopped at the middle of the hill... unusual for me to not go all the way but I got a picture of David... he reported there was not much there ... and I was about 30 feet short... David made his way back to me and we picked our way back.... As we walked we were shocked at the amount of litter. But weird litter.... buckets and things that looked like tubes..... We finally decided it must be left overs from fireworks. From our perspective it was wrong to leave this trash! There were deer or goat dropping that were old and we noticed the grass shoots weren't chewed off so either they were on the other side of the island or .
a beautiful church!
... ..... we hated to think.
We walked back down the hill .... it was rough going. I moved quite a few larger loose stones in the path to make it safer for hikers.... The ticket booth was abandoned and I was not able to buy the lava sample they had packaged in little boxes. I wanted it on our way up but opted not to carry it with us... Oh well. Next time... We sat in the shade on the boat and drank water waiting for the boat to take off....
Our next stop was the sulfer hot springs.... I was really keen to see it. After about a 20 minute ride the boat stopped in a little inlet.... The captain announced that the springs were against the side of the inlet and instructed people to jump out and swim over.
House with blue door
I was really disappointed as I wasn't a strong enough swimmer to go that far. Quite a few people didn't jump in... I don't know if they were in the same problem I had but I had really wanted to see the springs. The water was supposed to be warm but when people jumped in most of them reported it was freezing. The honeymoon couple asked me to get into their pack and photograph them.... I took several and they swam over to the springs. Ben swam over with a group and eventually came back. He had me take his picture also. He brought me a yellow rock from the springs... it was so nice of him.... it was really light and smooth.
.. I was really pleased to have it. Everyone came back ... quite a few of them reported the "hot" springs was difficult to tell if it was warmer than the other or not... they said they thought they could tell it was a little warm but not much.... So maybe I didn't miss so much!..... we returned to the main docks.
A man was at the docks selling rides on donkeys for 5 Euro. I said no then I walked over and looked at the trail.... hmmmm... it did look like more fun than the tram. David paid the 5 Euro and I got into line. Coincidentally the honeymoon couple were also there. One of the donkeys fell...... the girl said I don't want that one and the guy lead it over to her.
. I was surprised at how sweaty and tired it looked. She protested then got on at the man's insistance. Her husband got a larger animal. I got a white donkey that I noticed right away how it carried it head like it was tired. David took my picture and then the donkey took off up the stairs... (David couldn't give me back my camera but it came out to be a blessing.) Then the bad thing happened..... one donkey got away from the man and began racing up the stairs with no rider. It was somehow a partner to mine and mine also began racing up the stairs..... Over and over the four donkeys crossed each other and shoved each other and fought to be the lead.
... sometimes we were almost dragging our knees on the sides... it was actually alarming to be on an animal crisscrossing and pushing each other. Another alarming thing was how long the hike was.... towards the top all three of our donkeys were fatigued and stumbling. The riderless one continued egging them on. We three riders were not having fun at all. One of the donkey ride helpers stopped the three donkeys when we were about a block from the top. We were all happy to dismount and walk through the droppings to the top. We talked all the way about how lucky we were that we hadn't been hurt... It was the craziest ride I had ever been on ...
A sweet and improved church picture
David met me at the top and told me Ben had walked back to the car to bring it closer so we didn't have to walk through the town again. I was happy to walk and photograph and duck into interesting shops.... I got some Christmas ornaments for the girls and chatted with the store owners. Apparently the cruise ships would be stopping and a lot of the owners were about to close for the season. I looked at jewelry at one of the many jewelry stores (although many were closed) ... one lady got me and would not let me leave.... David came and quickly accessed the situation and told me we have to go NOW to meet Ben... she grabbed him too but he was strong and pulled me out of the store.
.. I was cracking up ..... I told him I stepped in and she jumped on and rode me like a horse .... I was calling her my jewelry jockey..... then around the corner came Ben.... bad luck here... we had to go by my jockey again..... she jumped Ben but he escaped pretty quickly. The shame of it was I was really interested in getting an $800 ring but she was way too pushy .... I can't buy from a hard sale person.
We walked around a bit in the shops on the caldera edge and walked to the car. We returned on the same road and went into the Santos wine distribution store. We bought some wine, liquor and pepper corns... then we went out to the edge and watched the sunset.
We got a plate of finger foods and a bottle of wine. In my heart of hearts I wanted to be in town photographing a church with the sunset ..... but the sunset was beautiful from the winery too...... Quite a few cars arrived and the people ran over to the area we sat in to see the sunset... I have to say it was one of the most unusual sunsets I have ever seen....... lots of beautiful reflective light...
We returned afterwards to the motel. We were tired and decided to go to dinner close by.... then Ben wanted to go to the same place as the night before.. it was excellent so it didn't take too much to talk us into it. The cats greeted us like old friends.
Door with little pink plant
... Then! What a surprise the honeymoon couple were there..... We talked on and on about the donkey ride.... My oh my.... we were so lucky not be be hurt! We returned to the hotel to pack as we were leaving the next morning..... :(
Later David said we should have cancelled the plane....paid the fees and rescheduled for a few days later..... He was so right..... This island was too beautiful to hurry through!