Day 4 - Ventured back into the centre of San Jose to take up the offer from our city tour guide to do a day tour of Cartago. So we jumped on a bus and headed to Cartago with the ticas - locals.
Cartago use to be the capital of Costa Rica. It's much cleaner and friendlier than San Jose. We headed to the market were Steven - our guide bought us a number of different fruits to try and had a traditional Costa Rican meal - tomalis. Tomalis is only made in the November and December for Christmas. It's mashed corn and plantain - which is like a potato but sweeter with meat in the middle steamed in a plantain leaf - similar to a banana tree leaf.
After eating we checked out the old remains of what was the towns church. This church was destroyed by earthquakes 3 times and so after the 3rd time it was destroyed they decided not to rebuild it.
We then moved onto the towns replacement church which has a very interesting story behind it. This church was built on top of a river and the reason for this is that back when the locals lived off the land a little girl was getting fire wood from near this river and found a carved stone figurine of a women and so she picked it up and took it home and put it in a special place. The next day she went to get the figurine and it was gone. The little girl just assumed someone had taken it and so didn't think any more of it. That afternoon the girl went back to the river to get more wood for the fire and found the figurine exactly in the same place she found it the day before. So she took it back home again. This time she showed her father the figurine and told him about it. The next day the figurine had disappeared again. So the little girl took her father down to the river where she had found it and it was there. The father decided that this was a sign of something mythical, something special so they built a church in the exact place that it was found.
The locals then believed in this mythical spirit and prayed for many things in the hope that they would come true with the help of this mythical spirit. These priers started to come true. Things like winning sporting events, purchasing a house, getting married, having children, organ replacements or being cured from cancer and so on. Underneath the church people have hung charms of the things / objects that have come true. There are cabinets and cabinets of silver charms it's pretty incredible.
After the church we went into another little town via bus and whilst on the bus Steven made us try the fruit that he had just bought at the market. Unfortunately I can't remember the names but there were a lot that were combined citrus's - for example orange and lemon, orange and mandarin, lemon and mandarin - this one was not nice - you know that face you make when you eat a very tart lemon and the eyes squint, flicker and wink and your mouth goes wide but narrow