I still have keyboard problems and as my old computer is so slow and keeps losing the internet connection, I do prefer using the new computer despite the issues. I figured out that I can write in Word (as it is only when I use Internet Explorer that the keyboard is not working properly – definitely a virus!!) and then cut and paste in WordPress… Anyhow, I am sorry that I haven’t been very active on other blogs, I have been reading but writing comments in Word, cutting and pasting just takes too long. I have sent another email to my brother (the computer expert) and hopefully he will be able to help me out with solving this problem ASAP.
It really is the time of visitors, my Swedish friend B’s mother arrived on Thursday evening and on Friday the three of us had a lovely lunch in the OSJ. Then O’s brother arrived on Friday evening and we had lots of joint plans during the weekend. However, B and her mother M are a little quicker in the mornings than us, so we ended up doing the same things but just after them!
On Saturday we visited the “jardín botánico y cultural” in Caguas, a town south of San Juan. A “feria de artesanía y trovadores” (a handicraft & troubadour fair) was taking place and the place was packed with visitors, Puerto Rican troubadours and handmade objects. We met up with B and her mother and said hello before they left. The botanical and cultural gardens were interesting, and we walked around looking at the flowers, parrots and different palm trees. I read afterwards in the brochure we got that the gardens are located on an old sugar cane plantation, la Hacienda San José that has been converted into an outdoor museum.
Unfortunately the excursion ended with me stepping in a hormiguero (ants nest) – tiny, tiny black ants but oh boy, could they bite!! It really hurt and burnt, and my right foot is covered in still-itching bites (that I got a very big mosquito bite on the same leg from the OSJ-lunch on Friday doesn’t help – my lower right part of the body is definitely not very attractive at the moment…)
Sunday morning we were slow to get ready and as the day before, our Swedish friends had already visited the location for the Sunday excursion way before we even left home! It took us a little longer to get ready since we were preparing a pic-nic to bring with us… Plus the fact that the brothers needed a lie-in 😉
Our destination was a cave that both O and I happened to hear about last week from different sources. It sounded really interesting, especially as we still haven’t made it to “las Cuevas de Camuy” (the Camuy caves) one of the most famous sights in Puerto Rico. They were closed for almost a year after a fatal accident happened, and since the re-opening we have only tried once to go but were too late and the tickets were sold-out for the day.
This other cave is a bit of a secret and I won’t tell you exactly where it is located –the locals don’t want it to become too known, which I can understand… Let’s just say that it is on the road between Arecibo and Utuado, overlooking the Río Grande de Arecibo. It was only a 10-minute walk to get there, but we got lost a few times and since the trails were very muddy we had to be careful not to fall. We actually missed the first cave that you can walk through to cross the mountain instead of walking around it like we did.
Once we arrived to the hole, which is the entrance to the Cueva Ventana, we were hesitating a little – it did look very dark, even though we had brought two flash-lights and there were a few concrete steps leading down… All of a sudden I saw a flickering light in the first cave and two guys appeared. We joined them for the second cave; it felt reassuring to not be completely alone and not knowing where we were going.
The entrance is quite big, even if it is almost like a hole in the ground next to the mountain, and you definitely need a flash-light (B and her mother had used a tiny pocket light, I am amazed that they managed). As we only had two lights, I was without one and tried to follow the other ones – which mean that I can’t really describe the interior of the cave much since I was focusing on where I was putting my feet on the uneven floor.
We crossed one big “room” with a high ceiling and we could see the murcielagos (bats) hanging high above us. Then the cave grew narrow and we had to bend over to not hit our heads. In front of us we could see some light and there it was…
La VENTANA (the window) that has given the cave its name! With a wonderful view over the Río Grande de Arecibo, the green Karst mountain tops and small houses perched on the mountain sides. It was definitely worth the 5-minute walk in the pitch dark.
Afterwards we had a simple lunch in the Bosque de Cambalache, in the community of Garrochales (Barceloneta). It is a forest we should try to visit again, since we only used the pic-nic area by the entrance this time. The forests are generally well-organised in Puerto Rico; usually with a little forest ranger cabin where you can get information about trails etc, simple toilets, and covered pic-nic areas with tables, benches and barbeques.
On today’s programme: Old San Juan with J-I and B’s mother, I am brother / mother-sitting 😉