Archive for March, 2013

Gran Hotel Costa Rica

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

I bought a couple of nights on sky at the Gran Hotel in central San Jose specifically for the end of my trip. It’s a vintage 1930’s building with a few updates, like wifi in the room, but not air conditioning. My room had a small window that opened only so far onto an indoor sort of courtyard so most of the time it was almost as hot as an oven in my room. Just across the hall was the John F Kennedy suite with a poster of famous people who have stayed in the room.

The hotel also had a fitness room and a recreation area with a couple of pool tables. Like a good number of things in Costa Rica, there is more form than function. I couldn’t get the treadmill to work at and the stationary bike squeezed the entire time I rode it. The first time I hit a pool ball into the side pocket, it fell directly to the floor.


Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

On the last day of my Gate 1 tour I asked Ricardo to suggest a good place to buy coffee, since I didn’t want to buy it and carry it around for more than a week. He suggested a grocery store right across the pedestrian street from San Jose hotel, Gran Hotel, and even suggested a couple of brands. I bought all the brands he recommended among a few other things and ended up spending almost $100, something I rarely do at the grocery store.

In the uncharacteristic light rain, I headed to the artisan market. The rain empties the streets a little bit but makes the town look grungier than it looks in the daylight. The artisan market is a block with covered (thankfully) booths that can’t be more than 15 x 15. 

On the way back I stopped at a pastry shop. Ok, actually two pasty shops. I have to say the baked goods are unremarkable in Costa Rica, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. 😉

Museo de Oro Precolumbino

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

The morning started at Museo de Oro Precolumbino y Numismatica, a three in one museum cleverly hidden underground at Plaza de la Cultura. This museum houses an exhibit on the money of Costa Rica, it’s history and the influence of the coffee culture and Spanish, an art exhibit and the Pre-Columbian gold. There is a Heidelberg press included in the exhibit that was used to imprint paper bills. It’s weird and yet somewhat comforting how a printing press is so recognizable.

Lola Fernandez’s art is on display. She is a Costa Rican artist. Included are a couple of three minute videos on different painting techniques and examples on how Lola incorporated those techniques in her work.

The main event, though, is the gold or metallurgy of Pre-Columbian society. There are gold pieces and then more gold pieces. Almost redundantly so, the exhibit seems to go on and on. All of it is nicely done, with signs in both Spanish and English, and well worth the visit.