Culture and Crafts & Gourmet Coffee

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Iqaluit as I type up this post tonight. The current temperature outside is -26C with a windchill of -40C! It honestly seems like a lifetime ago that I was in El Salvador, but in reality it was only a few weeks ago since I returned to Canada.  It was such and awesome trip…last week I shared about you some of the memories from the resort spending days pool-side!  Today I want to share with you the first day trip outside the resort…where my mum and I had the opportunity to explore a bit of El Salvador beyond the Resort!  So without any further rambling here’s the post…this is a PHOTO heavy post… just too many good ones that I had to include!

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On Saturday, February 15th my mum and I ventured outside of the fabulous resort to see a bit more of El Salvador.  The plan for the day was to visit a few different cities/towns to see their markets and do some shopping…have lunch and visit a coffee plantation and then a factory!  We had a really small tour with 8 people including my mum and I.  Krisia from Decameron Explorer Tours was our guide for the day.  Such an awesome tour guide, so knowledgable and passionate about sharing her country with us.  Thanks for a wonderful day!

Starting off the day… we ran into the farmers moving cattle from field to field!
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The first stop on our day was in Nahuizalco. We started out in the central square…where there always seems to be a Catholic Church…which are usually white!
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From there we walked through the food market…where you could anything from fresh veggies, eggs, fish, chicken and beef! I loved walking around the market and seeing how different the food shopping experience can be from your typical supermarket in Canada! El Salvador0040

After walking around we had a bit of free time to wander in & out of the shops along this street.  I did manage to pick up some things for my nephews’ birthdays…and a table runner and scarf! El Salvador0045 El Salvador0048 El Salvador0049

Back onto the bus we went after a short ride the next stop was Juayúa. This little town had an awesome bustling centre square with a fountain in the middle with lots of shade from the trees!
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Mum and I went in and visited inside the church…then went on to explore some of the market stalls for some shopping! El Salvador0064 El Salvador0067

The next stop was at Santa Leticia, a coffee farm located in the municipality of Apaneca in the department of Ahuachapan.  We climbed up into the back of that truck and visited the coffee trees on the side of the mountain.   El Salvador0075

We took a walk amongst the trails…looking at the coffee plants!  (Did you know that coffee has a ‘fruit’ that has to come off to get to the bean? I did not know this….) El Salvador0077

Below on the photo to the right was my “amigo” who was the Tourist Police Officer that went along with our tour for the day… Mum and I choose to bring up the rear of the hike…so we spent a bit of time talking with him. El Salvador0081

I was so proud of mum this day…hiking in the hot heat…about 1400 to 1700 metres above sea level with her new hips!  Go Mum Go! El Salvador0084

We walked through this trail to the only private archaeological site of El Salvador, a sacred ceremonial place where the Mayans worshiped their gods and where this civilization evolved 2600 years ago!
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Here our guide, Krisia, explained more about “the King” and the “the Queen”.  (faces on these giant rocks… “the prince” had been removed and a replica was outside the resturant where we had lunch!) The King was split into two because someone though that there might be ‘gold’ or ‘treasures’ inside of it! El Salvador0086

Here’s a replica copy of ‘the Prince’… El Salvador0095

After our walk back to the truck and a bumpy ride down the mountain we arrived back at the restaurant where we had a fabulous lunch! El Salvador0090 El Salvador0093

The views of the countryside are amazing… we stopped at this look-out for a photo op! El Salvador0096

After lunch we stopped at El Carmen Estates a coffee factory.  We walked through all the processes of what happens to the coffee before it is packaged in bags to be sold!
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Coffee beans drying in the sun… El Salvador0103

Bags and bags of coffee beans!
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This was an amazing thing for me to watch was these men pick up these HUGE bags of coffee, carrying them on their shoulder to dump into the machine for sorting/grading….back and forth they went… in the hot day, carrying that heavy load!  El Salvador0107

These women were going through the beans to pick out the ones with ‘imperfections’…like the close up one on the hand…every 2-3mins the belt moves on and the women get a new batch to sort through. El Salvador0111El Salvador0110

There was lots to learn…and lots of fun opportunities to take photos! El Salvador0114

We went to the gardens of the main house…to enjoy coffee on the lawn, and have the opportunity to shop and buy some coffee! Since I have never had a cup of coffee in my life, I wandered around taking photos and picked up some coffee beans for my friends in Pang that were checking my mail box while I was on holidays! El Salvador0119 El Salvador0121

The last stop of the day was in Conception de Ataco…which was founded by the Pipiles tribes in the heart of the mountain where the cobbled streets…and woven fabrics.  It was awesome to wander around the streets! El Salvador0124

I stopped in the centre square to listen to this band play…sitting on a bench watching people walk by…such a fun way to pass the time.  People watching especially in a city square is the best place to watch people. El Salvador0126 El Salvador0130It was such a fabulous fun filled day.  It was nice to get away from the resort and see a bit of every-day life in El Salvador!  I was so excited that I was able to share this day with my mum.  Thank you again Krisia for sharing stories and country with us for the day.  It was great to meet you…and this tour wouldn’t have been the same without you guiding it!

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