Day 3 at Monteverde and the girls got to do what every little girl likes to do... ride a horse! We went on a 2 hour ride on the trails of the farm. Lot's of up and down the hills, across creeks, through the forest and at the end through cow fields. At one point in the forest, the guide had us dismount and take a side trail because of a nasty looking snake on the main trail. He didn't want the horse to get spooked. At least that's what we think he said, hard to tell since he spoke only Spanish :-)
Marianne very happy and excited.
Evalie a bit worried and unsure at first, but after 20 minutes she was riding like a pro.
The views where pretty damn amazing.
The aforementioned cows.
In the afternoon we toured a coffee and sugar cane plantation. Here we see one of the fields of coffee plants. There are also banana plants in this field, but usually there are only coffee plants.
A sample sugar cane crop on the tour trail. The stalks look a lot like bamboo.
We learned about the machinery used to transform the coffee beans from the fruit picked from the plant to the roasted coffee bean used when making that life giving brew we all love (a lot of us anyway)! Bellow is the sorting machine, that sorts by size, after that they are also sorted by weight.
The girls tried they hands at making sugar cane taffy. Basically it's like making maple syrup, you get the sugary water from the plant, boil it until it's mostly sugar, then let it cool down. By stirring it vigorously you get a big chunk of taffy.
Marianne was always the first to volunteer for demonstrations. Here she is grinding some cocoa beans. They don't grow it at this plantation but they buy the raw product and transform it on site. There are several steps to processing cocoa beans and we got to taste it at several steps... it goes from bitter to sweet and tasty. For our friends back home we'll be bringing back some raw beans for you to taste. :-)
We discovered the ultimate pacifier for Willem... sugar cane cores! He was a cranky guy during the tour, but once he got his lips on a piece of cane he was happy again. The guide just cut off the bark and cut the center into sticks. It's very fibrous but if you chew it a bit the sap comes out and it's nice and sweet. We wanted to buy a bag full but it doesn't keep for more than a day.
We also got a very uncomfortable ride in an ox cart. Next time we'll walk, it's faster!
For supper that night we went back to our favorite restaurant in Saint-Elena, the town we we're staying in. It's called the Treehouse... because, you guessed it, it's built around a huge tree. The food was very good but pricey, then again it's a tourist town.