We ended up wasting a few days in San Jose which was actually a bit of a dump ("Do you know the way to San Jose? etc" Yes, unfortunatelly I do!), waiting on a shop to open (bit of advice- never arrive someplace on a bank holiday weekend), but it turned out that they didn`t actually have the part I`d ordered weeks ago (a stiffer spring for my rear shock). Thanks for letting me know, Larssen Motors of San Jose!
After that, it was up to Fortuna to see the active volcano, Vol Arenal. We camped for the first time in ages which was nice but after bumping into Sandra and Lars (from the boat) I was almost a little jealous of their $20 a night room with a/c and cable tv and then I remembered that I was really hardcore and I don`t really need such luxuries....
We thought about doing one of the tours to see the volcano at night which all include a visit to one of the 3 thermal baths here but opted instead to take a ride out there ourselves. There was a faint glow at the top but it wasn`t really worth getting the tripod out. After a bit of research, I decided on going to the Eco Thermales baths as the write up for the Baldi Thermal baths wasn`t that great. At Eco, there are 5 baths, stepped upwards, each getting hotter. The idea is that you start off at the cooler of the 4 hot baths, working your way up, then finish off in the very cold one at the bottom. It was a fantastic place and very luxurious but you could only really stay in the hottest one for just a few minutes before you start getting an idea of what it`s like to be a lobster in a pot.
Pleasingly, they also operate an `honesty`system (don`t laugh) for the bar. You leave all your stuff in your locker so you have no cash on you. When you go to one of the bars, you order what you like and then you tell the person on the front desk what you had as you pay on the way out. And lets just say I enjoyed my `one` beer very much thanks, hic...
Eco Thermales with free bar, er I mean `honesty´system
We left Fortuna with the intention of doing some serious miles, but in fact we only got as far as the German Bakery by Lake Arenal, which is a staggering 40kms away. We only popped in for some elevenses (great Apple Struddel and ice cream) but it turns out the bakery is owned by Tom who is a bit of a bike fan and all round top bloke. We were invited to stay in the nice cabaña round the back and were also taken on a tour of the lake that night in his rather fab 8-seater speedboat. When we returned later that night, the power had gone out in the town again so we raided the bakerys various fridges for all sorts of cheeses, sausages and breads to have by candle light. Way to go Tom!
German Bakery, Lake Arenal
Tom, owner of the German Bakery