Walking

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast.   

-Paul Scott Mowrer

¡Pura Vida!

Every walk includes flowers!    🙂

Hilltop Morning Walk

Margaret, the lady birder from Canada who was in a nearby casita for one month, did most of her birding right here in Roca Verde, including uphill above my casita and on Calle Nueva, the country lane alongside Roca Verde. (She also walked to other neighborhoods in town and had a few trips away, including to Rancho Naturalista & the Tarcoles River.)

But her finding so many birds here got me back into more birding where I live and beyond my own garden where I have no feeders now which has reduced the numbers. Friday morning I spent an hour walking up and down the hill above my house with the result of the following photos of vistas and birds.

Not bad for less than a 200 meter walk from my house! And I know I have already shared similar views and birds on this blog before, but each new time in the viewfinder is a little bit different perspective, a different light, a different pose or action of the bird, and a new joy for me! No new bird species this time, though the immature Blue-black Grassquit was my first immature version of that species! Notice how different she looks from her mother or some other adult female Blue-black Grassquit in photos above.    🙂    I loved the walk and will keep doing it occasionally!

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  – John Muir

Vistas

 

Birds

 

“I love walking because it clears your mind, enriches the soul, takes away stress and opens up your eyes to a whole new world .”    – Claudette Dudley

 

See also Walking Calle Nueva Atenas, the country lane alongside Roca Verde or . . .

Walking Atenas – emphasizing flowers in this small farming town in Central Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Village Morning

The Featured Photo is a shot from my terrace at breakfast this morning looking toward our mountain village of Atenas. I live in a peaceful place, appropriately called tranquilo in Spanish by the people here.   🙂

-o-

 

My Google Timeline Report for February:

WALKING: 36 km, 9 hours

BY VEHICLES: 351 km, 13 hours (Around town by taxi, several Alajuela trips by bus and the longest trip was to Heredia, north of San Jose. The walking was an almost daily walk to town plus 3 local birding walks with a Canadian friend.)

And they reminded me that my most distant destination for February was Heredia from which came my photo below. Should I be worried that Google knows so much about me?   🙂

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Heredia Historic Building by the Spaniards – photo by Charlie.

¡Pura Vida!

Retired in Costa Rica

See Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA Photo Gallery.

Highway West Going 4 Lanes!

You spoiled Americans may say, “So what?” but this is a really big deal here in Costa Rica! For years Ruta 3 was the only route from San Jose to the west coast, a narrow, 2-lane, winding mountain road that went right through downtown Atenas (when travelers got to see this charming little town) and then over another set of mountains & one-lane bridges to Puntarenas and Jaco Beaches.

Ten+ years ago they finished an outdated toll road called Ruta 27 from San Jose to Puntarenas with a side branch to Jaco Beaches, much straighter through the mountains but unfortunately most was still just 2 lanes and all the bridges are 2-lane!  🙂  There are 3rd lanes or “passing lanes” on many of the uphill sections to help get around slow trucks, but that is it! Poor planning for the long-term future! See the operator’s video on Ruta 27.

Now it seems the legislature has approved a coming upgrade to widen Ruta 27 to 4 lanes all the way to Puntarenas and Jaco – a huge improvement for those who drive this busy route when it is finally finished, though they are not even starting until 2021! Read all that I know about it on the “Live in Costa Rica Blog” article. 

And for those fewer people like me who really like the Atlantic Coast or Caribe as we call it here, you probably know that the widening of Ruta 32 from San Jose to Limon (the flat part beyond the big mountain range) was approved a long time ago and is being widened to 4 lanes right now. It is an easier, quicker job after you get through the mountains of Braulio Carrillo because of the flat land between Guapiles & Limon and I assume they will eventually widen it through the mountains too. Both of these widened routes are important not only for retirees and tourists but especially for commercial trucks delivering goods from our two big shipping ports of Limon & Puntarenas to warehouses in San Jose.

In smaller, poorer countries like Costa Rica this kind of “progress” is slow & expensive, but sure as in this case. I don’t want us to become “too big” or “too developed” but one main highway from coast to coast is a good thing for everyone, though you will sure miss seeing a lot when you zoom by!  🙂   And it passes on the outskirts of Atenas just like the old coast to coast train did in a previous century.  🙂     ¡Así es la vida!

¡Pura Vida!

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.    ~Charles Kuralt

Country Lane Birds & More!

20200209_072404_001-A-WEBIn an earlier post I introduced you to the little 5 km country lane behind our Roca Verde development and along the stream by that cow pasture in front of my house. It is called Calle Nueva which would be simply “New Street” in English and the 2018 blog post was titled  Finishing the country road walk today . . .   Then later I added a photo gallery: Walking Calle Nueva Atenas 2018.    Same photos!

Yesterday I walked part of the road more slowly than I did with young man Jason Quesada back then. It was with another older person who is a birder from Canada! Totally different! We saw more than 15 species of birds just behind where I live and here are a few photos of some of them! Even got one lifer on this walk of about 2 hours, the Black-crowned Tityra, both male & female! CLICK A PHOTO TO ENLARGE.

And apologies for several washed out pictures with white sky. That was because I was not paying attention to details and accidentally turned the dial to “Manual” without setting the manual settings and wasn’t looking at the images on screen! Ugh! Sloppy old man!

Birds on Calle Nueva

 

Interesting Flowers on Walk

 

 

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Mountain Farm Vista on Calle Nueva.

 

Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong.

~John Denver

 

¡Pura Vida!

Morning Bird Walk

Glad to get back to nature posts after all the other stuff I’ve been posting the last week! And the featured photo above is a Passion Flower growing on a neighbor’s wall along the street uphill above my house.

In my Roca Verde neighborhood, and most neighborhoods across Costa Rica, we have “Snow Birds” or “winter residents” who come to visit or live here during the very cold months up north (Dec-Apr). One of those couples I met for the first time last year always stay in Roca Verde, just a few doors up the hill from me – she is a birder and he a relaxer.  🙂   They are from British Columbia, Canada.

Yesterday she showed me all birds she had photographed in Atenas in just one week, most right here in our neighborhood! Thus I was shamed into birding more in my own neighborhood and later some other places in Atenas – but it means getting up at 5:30 in the morning which I have not been doing much here. Mixed emotions!

I live adjacent to these farming hills seen from street above my house.

This morning I spent just one hour, mostly between 6 & 7 and saw about 20 species of birds, photographing about 15 of them! ALL WITHIN 300 METERS OF MY HOUSE!  For you Americans, that’s just 3 blocks, and all along the street in front of my house, up the hill. Of course I ran into Margaret who get out every morning early for birds and we birded together much of the time. I will not do it every day like her, but hopefully more often now!

By 7 there are not a lot of birds to see. It is the magical hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset that give the most birds! (Same thing on my trips!) And some of these birds from today have not come to my house or I haven’t seen them in my garden yet.  CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT . . .

This Morning’s Birds

Catholic Church in Central Atenas is also seen from the street above my house, though not as close as this seems through my 60 mm lens!   🙂

 

I like where I live!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

My Windows – My World

As Frank Lloyd Wright said,

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

And as he created his magnificent houses always integrated with nature – I have tried to create views through all my windows & doors that bring nature in and take me out! I love traveling in the nature places of Costa Rica, but living in nature day to day keeps me going! The luckiest guy in the world!

Look through My Pura Vida Windows on life!

Terrace – My Biggest Window

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Garden Door View

This garden greets me upon every departure and arrival!   🙂

 

Living Room Window

A Strangler Fig Tree – shades from afternoon sun.

 

Kitchen Window

Kitchen view garden.

 

Laundry Room Window

Slope with interesting tree!

 

Office-Guest Room Window

I planted a row of palms for privacy from street

 

Bedroom Window

Pot plant in front of the outside palms.

 

“Dormer windows” above my bed in the jungle!

 

Bathroom Windows

Above sink & toilet – my beautiful hill!

 

I shower in the jungle!

I am Rich in Nature!

 

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.     ~Socrates

 

For the wealth of nature surrounding me in Costa Rica, see my photo galleries:  “Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA.”

See why I love it here!

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Scenery

Okay – my last post for Xandari! You may get tired of seeing photos from there, but hopefully they reveal why it is one of my favorite hotels in Costa Rica! I never tire of it and hope to keep going back! And like other great places, the friendliness and helpfulness of the people there is one great reason I may not have mentioned much! And that has nothing to do with my photography library being there – they treat everyone like royalty! I highly recommend Xandari Costa Rica anytime you are here and need a hotel near the airport or better yet for a luxurious nature experience over a longer period of time. You need several days to hike, see, photograph, and do all there is to do in this hotel!

And one of my many reasons for liking it is the beautiful scenery I have grouped here in two categories. As always, click a photo to see it larger and then you can return or take the option to see the photos in that gallery as a manual slide show. Enjoy!

Xandari Vistas

 

 

Xandari Trails & Grounds

And in case you wondered why no flowers here, I did a Xandari Flowers post last week or for those from all my trips there, see the photo gallery Xandari Flowers. 

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”     ~Rachel Carson

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Costa Rica    (hotel website)

For the photo report on my latest and third trip to Xandari see my CR Trips Gallery 2020 Xandari Nature Resort, AlajuelaNOW READY! And includes for the first time my visit to the Starbucks Alsacia Coffee Farm.:

Photo gallery of my latest visit to Xandari Resort

Or if researching Xandari, see photos from my 2 earlier trips in both galleries and in books:

2019 Xandari Birthday Week Celebration:  GALLERY   –or–   BOOK

2018 July Xandari First Visit:   GALLERY   –or–   BOOK

 

My Xandari Villa

My third time to visit one of the most expensive hotels that I like in Costa Rica gives me a third different and bigger room/villa. I rarely show this many photos of a room, but because it is unique, I decided to this time along with the Art in My Villa, yesterday’s post.

This “room”  is called a “King Junior Suite” meaning just one king size bed in multiple rooms or spaces, a large suite or villa. They call all their rooms villas because most are in separate buildings and all are large.

From the lobby and restaurant main building, you walk through the gardens on a beautiful winding, paved path to the entrance of #5 in this case:

Private Entrance Compound

Kitchenette by front Terrace

 

Living Room

 

Valley-View Terrace

 

Bedroom

 

Bathroom

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Shower behind blue wall overlooking private garden. Toilet in separate room behind me.

This exceptional hotel is just 20 minutes from the San Jose Airport, thus a starting and ending location for many international tourists coming here, like the people I visited with this time from England, Germany, France, Canada and the U.S.

Yet they are immersed in a tropical rainforest with hiking trails, 5 waterfalls on the river, wildlife, both wild and cultivated flowers, a small farm for the kitchen, a wonderful Spa and restaurant. Some things are worth paying more for!   🙂   I do this occasionally here while other times I “rough it” in the wilderness to be closer to nature. I like both experiences! And the way Xandari combines both luxury AND nature! Plus now they house the Charlie Doggett Photography Library!   🙂   That alone makes the visit worthwhile!   🙂

Luxury is attention to detail, originality, exclusivity and above all quality.
~Angelo Bonati

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Costa Rica

My Photos in an Art Gallery

One reason I was happy that Xandari would house my library of Photo Books is that the entire hotel is an art gallery with art literally everywhere, inside and outside. It was built by an Artist/Architect and his wife an Art Teacher. In another post I will display the art in my villa this time – different every visit!

The above stained glass window is in the reading room of the lobby and my photo books are on a book shelf at the entrance to that reading room. In earlier Tennessee days I tried to sell photos at art fairs calling them “Nature as Art” which fits this arty nature retreat very well. I’m happy to be a part of Xandari!

 

Today was my very full day with an early morning birding hike with excellent guide Jose and a lovely couple from England, followed by breakfast and a tour of the only Starbucks-owned coffee farm in the world which I will tell you more about later, then an afternoon late lunch, relaxation massage, a desert at dinner time and I’m ready for bed! With lots of photos to process tomorrow, my last full day here.

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari 2018-Enchanted by Nature
Just one of 29 books in the library!
Brilliant Book cover
And the other one about Xandari!  Plus all of my other Costa Rica photo books!

To see all of my Costa Rica Photo books, go to My Bookstore at Blurb where you can preview any of the books for free electronically! Best if viewed in full screen mode of course!   🙂