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  • Day136

    Juayúa, El Salvador

    March 2, 2017 in El Salvador ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Ruta de las Flores, the flower route.

    Well we made it - in case you were wondering. It was a little over three hours in a packed, sticky, bumpy bus, with a midway change over in Sonsonate. If there was an opposite to the phrase 'no sweat', I would use it here, my spinal channel made the Waikato river look like a dried up creek.

    Juayúa (pronounced why-oo-ha) is a tiny agricultural town, not famous for anything other than it's location on the (now fading) flower route. Ruta de las Flores was once a beautiful highway lined with blossoming flowers and colourful murals, punctuated with delicious coffee, intrepid hiking, waterfalls and views to die for. Nowadays a lot of the magic is gone, at least it feels that way...

    As the internet at La Sombra was horrible, we didn't receive any confirmation on our accommodation booking. Therefore our first activity in Juayúa was finding a place to stay. On our second attempt we found Hotel Anáhuac. Conveniently they had received a booking in our name and we quickly got settled into two fantastic private rooms. Spacious, cool and trendy with modern art, tiled floors and white plaster walls (plus ensuite!). Probably our most luxurious accomodation since Chicago! To top it off, they had specialty coffee and an avocado tree. Great find Cat!

    For the inconvenience of finding food, and the lack of appealing options during our transport, we had not yet eaten and hangry humans were beginning to appear. La Cafeta sprung itself upon us with a Sydney-esque decor and menu. We seized the opportunity for a well overdue and delicious late breakfast and as a result, moods started to turn. Phew! The remainder of the morning disappeared around the hotel, reading, swinging in hammocks and catching up on the internet and lost sleep.

    Actually, there's not an awful lot to do in Juayúa, so once we had circumnavigated town we decided we better sign up for one of the two tours on offer. Coffee and waterfalls have both been reasonably well covered already so it was almost a flip of a coin as to which we chose. In the end, the scent of the local bean for sale at the front desk, combined with the prospect of unlimited coffee sampling won us over. Specialty coffee 'Lechuza Cafe' here we come.

    You're probably reading this and thinking 'more coffee?? Boring!'. Well I was bordering on that same thought when we piled into the tray of a truck to depart on a private tour. At $20US pp, my head was spinning at the opportunity cost. However I'm delighted to report it was worth every penny and if you want to find out more about your daily black magic, I'm aiming to post a seperate blog all about it.

    In hindsight, we shouldn't have done the tour so late. We ended up consuming a fairly hefty amount of coffee which didn't stop until around 5.30pm. It's fair to say we didn't sleep too well that night!

    MERC got out twice in Juayúa. Elevation-wise the running was brutal, but the heat was slightly more forgiving than El Tunco meaning for once in a long time I actually enjoyed a run! We're yet to engage in combat with a dog, but we're (I mean Mike) very wary of their presence. We had a couple of narrow misses up in the hills here...hopefully that's the worst we see!

    Ataco (cue: dad jokes) is another stop on Ruta de las Flores which we visited briefly by chicken bus. There's really not a lot to say about this place aside from some great murals and a ginormous cross. I almost felt sorry for the place, with it's dwindling volume of tourists and fading markets it felt a bit used and abused. The feeling was swiftly forgotten by the arrival of a darn good pork tortas, clearly demonsrating the extent of my emotional allegiances.

    On a hot afternoon in Juayúa we trudged down to the local waterfalls and thoroughly enjoyed a refreshing dip in the man made pool. The water was spurting out of the middle of the cliff from a natural spring, caught halfway down in a man made pool, then disappearing back into the cliff to power a hydro dam. All very confusing to one who just wanted relief from the heat.

    By the sounds of things we got out of Juayúa in the nick of time. Saturday brought markets and lots and lots of people. We snuck out on a very sweaty chicken bus to Sonsonate and upon arriving, met queues and queues of people waiting to board our bus in the opposite direction. SO thankful that wasn't us! We made good time to San Salvador, covering the distance in not much more than 2.5hrs at a per head cost of $2USD. Making money!
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