Rica Road 2


We found Costa Rica today. We were driving along the road, heading up into the mountains, and we found it just ahead of us along the roadside. And then we were in it. The Costa Rica of our mind had suddenly become real in the countryside around us.

How does one recognize the place in their mind in the actual world around them? What transit gathers you hence and reveals the space and spirit of a place in a moment? When do you know you’ve arrived?

Paris Bakery Outside


Clotilde came to Tamarindo from Paris over twenty-five years ago. A baker, she recreated herself in the image of her Parisian self and opened The Paris Bakery along the unlikely sands of Costa Rica. She made her home here, and in doing so she brought a taste of Paris to this surfer village in Central America.



We left Tamarindo this morning our satchel full of croissants, apple tart tartin, petite quiche, macaron, and other treats.

We drove North into the mountains.

German Bakery 2


Perhaps our eyes were on the lookout for connections to this theme of home and transplants, but there ahead of us on the winding hillside road was a rather odd sign, considering our location, for another European bakery, this one from Germany.

German Bakery


We went inside and heard about Tom’s journey from Munich to the Costa Rican mountains, his sense of belonging and his decision to build a bakery and a new life here. Since we already had French desserts, we were glad Tom also stocked traditional Bavarian weisswurst sausages, homemade sauerkraut, and strong dark German beer. We loaded up for later.

Of course, we had come to the mountains to see the Arenal Volcano. And after a two hour drive into the clouds we knew it was nearby. But where?

Arenal Volcano


Then, as if revealing itself to us alone, the iconic image emerged from the clouds and solidified against a brilliant blue horizon. It was astonishing, and I felt myself cast back eons in my primeval brain, looking up at the past and future of the planet in the same instant. I expected to see dinosaurs thudding on stocky legs ahead of me, to find pterodactyls cruising the sky lanes high above.

The ancient jungle sounds came to life at the same time, the buzz and the burr, the guttural wail and the screeching creatures of the day and night. The vivid audio landscape of some ancient homeland bloomed in the deep recesses of my mind.

“Follow the gravel road for approximately two kilometers and then enter the property at the second gate,” Esteban said in a phone conversation I had with him from my home a million miles away in suburbia California.

outside 1


Now, out here in the middle of the new world, his homestead and our new lodgings came into view.

Tonight, we’ll set a table and enjoy a meal of German food, dark German beer and French desserts.

deck appetizer


But first we’ll start with appetizers and a fizzy drink on the patio, which is an American tradition for us back home in California.



One Response to Paris, Munich, and Arenal Costa Rica

  1. Mark says:

    Looks like fun Frank! Enjoy the trip!

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