A long and harrowing drive on a sightseeing outing on a rainy day...The photos are well worth it!


 
I walked through the archways in the topiary garden at Senor Scissorhands Topiary Garden in the small town of Zarcero.
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"
Today must be weed wacker day. Ulysses is getting the gas ready to do the massive lawn by hand with a weed wacker as opposed to any type of lawnmower. It seems to take two days to complete the monumental task when it usually rains in the afternoons when he stops during the storm.
Yesterday morning we dashed out the door early hoping to get to our planned destination in the town of Zarcero before the storms started.  The drive proved to be much longer than the listed 71 minutes of "Maps." 
 
Upon entering the grounds of Parque Francisco Alvarado from the parking lot behind the church, the topiary art began. 
About Zarcero:  "Zarcero is the capital city of the canton of Zarcero in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the distrito (district) that includes the city. The district of Zarcero covers an area of 12.01 km and has a population of 4,277.
The city lies at an elevation of 1,736 meters above sea level[1] in the Cordillera Central (Central Mountain Range) of Costa Rica, 50 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital city of Alajuela and 27 kilometers southeast of Ciudad QuesadaZarcero, known for its brisk mountain climate, lies in a dairy and agricultural area also noted for the local enterprises that practice organic farming. Distinctive jams, cheese and other dairy products are among the items produced."


No sooner than exiting the car, it began to rain.  I was determined to take photos regardless of the weather.  While Tom waited in the church I scoured the grounds taking the photos. I was soaked when done but didn't care.  It was worth it.
Driving through the hills and mountains in Costa Rica is challenging.  The roads are some the steepest and most winding we've seen in our travels since the mountains of Tuscany Italy four years ago.

The church and topiary gardens are located in the center of the town.
 Once it starts raining, the steep roads become slippery and dangerous, a breeding ground for many fatal crashes including vehicle going off the roadway where there are no guard rails, into the massive ravines below. 
Is this a dinosaur?
As I've mentioned many times in past posts, Tom is a good driver and generally, I have no fear as we maneuver through rough terrain.  There were a few times yesterday on the return drive we both expressed concern when the slippery steep road suddenly loomed before us, turn after turn, bend after bend.
Sure, it was disappointing it was raining but it didn't deter our enthusiasm for this unique venue.
At certain points, we both said we'd never seen anything like it.  Once we were down to a lower elevation, we both sighed with relief although the rain pelted the windshield with surprising force.  The wipers simply could not keep up.

Upon commencing the drive to our destination which included countless road changes and turns, about halfway through we suddenly found ourselves at a standstill in traffic.  Other passengers were getting out of their vehicles to see the cause of the long delay.
A topiary duck.
A guy in a truck in front of us even got out to purchase a beverage at a nearby restaurant returning to his truck, bottle of Coke in hand, to continue the wait.  Tom's not the most patient driver in traffic but he stayed calm while waiting until we began moving again about 30 minutes later.
Could this be Topiary Gumby?
We drove through another city, Naranjo, described as follows:  "The town of Naranjo, settled in 1830, was originally known as “Los Naranjos” (the Orange Groves) due to the abundance of orange trees in the surrounding area. Although the name has been shortened and a number of orange trees lessened, this city of 35,000 has remained an important agricultural hub for Costa Rica."

While in Naranjo we parked and walked about taking photos of another church which was under construction.  Photos will be posted as this story continues over the next few days.
The beautiful church, Iglesia Catolica de Zarcero is the church located on the ground with the topiary garden.
Upon finally arriving in Zarcero we were both in awe.  The historical church, the topiary grounds and the lovely woman sweeping the floors in the church who directed us to the best advantages for photos, all impressed us.

It was difficult to determine exactly which animal(s) this may have been but it was interesting none the less.
It's during times like this when our mouths are agape with beauty and creativity before us, whether man-made or made by nature, that the very purpose of our travels lies before us.  Rain or shine, we weren't going to miss a thing.

These archways were most fascinating especially when considering how much work goes into the upkeep.
The camera and I were soaked after taking photos outdoors during the downpour but I didn't care.  I looked like a drowned rat but still it didn't matter to me.  The only issue was the cool temperature in the town hovering in the high 50F's (10C's) making me shiver once we were back in the car.
Aside from trips to San Jose, the capital city, this was the worst traffic we'd seen in Costa Riva thus far when we were stuck in traffic for over 30 minutes due to road construction which continued for about 10 km.  We saw two ambulances stuck in this mess with the lights flashing.
But then, when we passed some rapids on the return drive, I was hanging out the window of the car, getting soaked once again while taking photos.  There are no shoulders on the roads in Costa Rica in most areas and the two-lane roads make it difficult to slow down for photos when there's often a car behind us.  We do the best we can.
On the return drive when the rain had stopped and the sun came back out, we had "safari luck" and didn't get delayed in the construction traffic when the vehicles traveling in the opposite direction were standing still to let us pass.
We'll be back over the next few days with more photos from yesterday's road trip.  We can't stop smiling over the outstanding day!

May you have an outstanding day!
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Photo from one year ago today,  20, 2016:
In Negara Bali, this guy on a motorbike had an attached basket carrying live chickens for sale at the markets.  For more details, please click here.

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