Return Visit to Route of the Flowers

Hugh & Elizabeth By: Hugh C. Talley

Last Saturday afternoon Elizabeth and I decided to take another break from the heat and head to the mountains. We went to Sonsonate and picked up Route of The Flowers. Once you head toward Ahuachapan you feel the temperature cooling down, as I have said before this is a very beautiful and comfortable area of El Salvador.

Our first stop was Apaneca, this is the second-highest town in El Salvador (1450m) and is a very quiet little town, there was not much happening in town but it is a very beautiful area. There are some locally crafted furniture shops that are very nice. We learned that this area is noted for some of the best coffee in the world. They have places that rent 4-wheelers if you like off road and mountain trail adventures. This area is also noted for hiking and camping.
We then went to visit the Iglesia San Andres which is one of the oldest churches in the country; it was destroyed in the 2001 earthquake, but is being restored. It was here that we met two little brothers that had lost their Mother and Father in an accident. They were sitting in the church by their self and when we come in they said Hola and started talking to Elizabeth, they ask her for 2 pennies and she said why do you want 2 pennies that won’t buy anything and he said We need 5 dollars for our school uniforms and if you give us 2 pennies and some other people give us 2 pennies soon we will have enough for our uniforms. We could see that they were sincere, so we talked to them more and found out that they lived with their Grandmother but she was very old and they mostly took care of her. We took them to a restaurant and brought them lunch, after lunch we gave them 5 dollars each for their school uniforms, they were so grateful and happy it was like seeing a child at Christmas in the states. This was very rewarding for us also. We do plan to go back and visit them and see how they are getting along.

Elizabeth and I went to a Restaurant a little further up the route that we had heard was very good, “Las Flores De Eloisa”. They had beautiful flower gardens and it was decorated with antiques. They also had cabins for rent from $44-$71. They were all full because of a wedding party so we could not see what they looked like.

Elizabeth ordered the steak and vegetables and I ordered the grilled steak with potatoes and corn on the cob, I had the strawberry frozen and Elizabeth had the mango frozen for our drinks. I wished that we had eat where we brought the boys their lunch on a scale of 1-5 I would give this restaurant a 2.5. There are much better restaurants on this route.

Our next stop was the town of Ataco a small colonial town with cobblestone streets, a colonial church and is surrounded by beautiful coffee plantations. This day there was folk music in the park and the vendors were selling typical drinks and food. There are many shops that sell many hand crafts such as sculptures, embroidery, candles, paintings and much more. The outside of the shops and restaurants are painted in beautiful pictures of many colors. There is a handicraft shop named Diconte & Axul has a variety of crafts, textile art and they have local artisans that make colorful fabrics using treadle looms. You can purchase these fabrics from $6 to $10 a yard. This is a great place to see.

After this we made a quick visit to the Ave Maria church, they had a celebration going on so we did not stay long.

It was getting late and an evening rain was moving in so we started home. Elizabeth and I both had a feeling of enjoyment from our travels on this day.
I have attached pictures that we took, as always any comments or questions please contact us, we love to hear from you.

DSCN4023

DSCN4021

DSCN4019

DSCN4017

DSCN4016

DSCN4015

DSCN4013

DSCN4010

DSCN4009

DSCN4007

DSCN4005

DSCN4003

DSCN4002

DSCN4000

DSCN3999

DSCN3997

DSCN3995

DSCN3994

DSCN3993

DSCN3992

DSCN3991

DSCN3990

DSCN3987

DSCN3985

DSCN3983

DSCN3980

DSCN3979

DSCN3976

DSCN3974

DSCN3973

DSCN3972

DSCN3970

DSCN3969

DSCN3967

DSCN3966

DSCN3964

DSCN3962

DSCN3960

DSCN3959

DSCN3957

DSCN3956

DSCN3953

DSCN3948

DSCN3946

DSCN3945

DSCN3944

DSCN3943

DSCN3942

DSCN3939

DSCN3938

DSCN3936

DSCN3934

DSCN3932

DSCN3931

DSCN3930

DSCN3927

DSCN3925

DSCN3924

DSCN3923

DSCN3921

DSCN3920

DSCN3917

DSCN3914

The Route of the Flowers ( Ruta de las Flores )

DSCN2019By: Hugh C. Talley

Elizabeth and I decided to go to the mountains for some cooler weather this week, so we took a day trip and decided to explore the Route of the Flowers. The Route of the Flowers will take you on a journey through six small colonial towns in the most mountainous region of El Salvador.

The climate is much cooler and the natural beauty is really something to see, the dense forests, the wild flowers, the waterfalls, the coffee plantations, and the archaeological sites will show you another side of El Salvador and you will see there is much more to the country then the beautiful beaches.

As you travel along the Route of the Flowers, you will find authentic arts and crafts and meet the people that make them, colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, local and international cuisine. This is truly an enriching experience.

We were only able to visit two of the six small towns, we started late and there is a lot to see. We do plan to return soon and maybe take an overnight trip to finish visiting the towns without having to rush.

We started our trip from the city of Sonsonate, we took CA-8 that goes from Sonsonate to Ahuachapan (the signs will say Ruta de las Flores). Our first stop was Nahuizalco, a very beautiful town with mostly an indigenous population. The town has a colonial church that was built in the seventeenth century. The main income for this town is the artisan industry of natural fibers: wood, wicker, tulle (a fabric made of net), henequen (fiber of an agave, used for making ropes, & course fabrics, ect.) There are many vendors here selling their handmade crafts and they are much cheaper than buying them at the airport or souvenir shops.
Nahuizalco has a guided walking tour that is well worth taking. Elizabeth and I really enjoyed this little town.

Our next stop was Salcoatitan, called the city of artists. The name Salcoatitan means “God of Wind and Star of the Dawn” in the Mayan language. The Pipils founded Salcoatitan. This town is where the country’s first coffee plantations developed in the 1860s and is still the town’s primary economic income.

As you enter the town there is a huge Ceiba tree, they say it is over 300 years old and only flowers every 7 years. The Maya believed that the ceiba was the axis of the world and the channel of communication between the world of people and the world of gods. Scholars also say the ceiba is the tree of life and connects the sky above with the water below. I am not sure about all of this but, I will say this was a huge beautiful tree.

We went into the town next and across from the central square, there is a beautiful colonial church that dates back to1824. part of the church has recently been restored.

Next, we made a visit to a museum “Germinal” which has only been open for 6 months. The museum has many very old printing presses, most of them are from the United States and Europe and they are all in working order. They were all used here in El Salvador in the early years. We found this very interesting. This museum also has many woodcarvings on display from a local artist, there are many beautiful things to see, they have quite a selection of his work for sale, and the price is very reasonable.

There is much to see in this town and we really enjoyed our visit, but it was getting late and we were hungry so we went to find a restaurant.
We headed toward Ahuachapan and we come across a mountain resort named “Santa Leticia” this is a beautiful place, they have19 double rooms, 2 swimming pools for hotel guests, a private archaeological park and a restaurant with capacity for 250 people with a menu of local and international cuisine. The rooms are nice and run about $80.00 a night.

Elizabeth and I headed to the restaurant; it was very large and very nice. I ordered the grilled steak, breaded shrimp and French fries with the house salad. Elizabeth ordered the grilled chicken salad. I had a strawberry frozen to drink and Elizabeth had a local drink. I also had strawberry ice cream for dessert. The food was good but not great, the service good. The price was high for this area, $ 46.00.

Elizabeth and I now headed home; we had a very nice day and enjoyed the trip very much. We plan to go back and pick up where we left off; we still have four more towns to visit on “The Route of the Flowers”.

We have attached some pictures from our trip, we hope you enjoy them. Please leave us questions or comments and we will get back to you.

1

2

3

DSCN3731

DSCN3732

DSCN3733

DSCN3734

DSCN3735

DSCN3736

DSCN3737

DSCN3738

DSCN3739

DSCN3740

DSCN3741

DSCN3742

DSCN3747

DSCN3748

DSCN3749

DSCN3751

DSCN3755

DSCN3758

DSCN3764

DSCN3766

DSCN3767

DSCN3770

DSCN3771

DSCN3772

DSCN3773

DSCN3774

DSCN3775

DSCN3776

DSCN3778

DSCN3779

DSCN3784

DSCN3785

DSCN3786

DSCN3787

DSCN3788

DSCN3789

DSCN3790

DSCN3795

DSCN3797

DSCN3798

DSCN3799

DSCN3800

DSCN3801

DSCN3802

DSCN3803

DSCN3805

DSCN3806

DSCN3808

DSCN3811

DSCN3819

DSCN3822

DSCN3823

DSCN3831

DSCN3832

DSCN3833

DSCN3840

DSCN3841

DSCN3842

DSCN3843

DSCN3844

DSCN3845

DSCN3846

DSCN3854

DSCN3855

DSCN3856

DSCN3857

DSCN3861

DSCN3865

DSCN3867

DSCN3868

DSCN3869-1

DSCN3870

DSCN3871

DSCN3872

DSCN3875

DSCN3876

DSCN3879

DSCN3880

DSCN3882

DSCN3885

DSCN3889

DSCN3890

DSCN3892

DSCN3893

DSCN3897

DSCN3898

DSCN3900

DSCN3902

DSCN3903

DSCN3906

DSCN3909

El Salvador Has Elected A New President

DSCN2019 By: Hugh C. Talley

El Salvador’s electoral court declared FMLN candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren the winner of the presidential election on Friday. The election was on Sunday 9th of March, but it was so close they did not declare the winner until Yesterday.

In my post on February 2, my prediction was that it would be a very close election and I was right, the final count was 50.11% for FMLN and 49.89% for ARENA.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Ceren and wish him the best. My hope is that Mr. Ceren will govern as a moderate and not move to far left. El Salvador is a great country with wonderful people and I wish them much success.

Please leave your questions and or comments and I will get back to you.

FMLN Election 2014 El Salvador’s New Elected President: Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

Visit to Termales de Santa Teresa

Hugh & Elizabeth  By: Hugh Talley

Elizabeth and I took a day trip to Termales de Santa Teresa yesterday; this is a resort and hotel located in the mountains of Ahuachapan/Apaneca. There are many thermal pools here and they are adding more. They say the thermal pools have been used for more than 100 years for healing effects.
We did not go into the pools this trip because we did not bring our swimsuits but we do want to return and try them. I touched the water and it was very warm. The waters originate deep beneath the Santa Teresa Geyser. They say the geyser is more than five thousand years old and is the largest geyser in Central America.
The cost for using the pools is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under 12 years old.

They also have very nice hotel rooms that start at $70.00 a night. We did check them out and they are very nice rooms.

They also have horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing, so there are plenty of things to do there.

Santa Teresa has organic coffee plantations that are more than 150 years old. Their Premium Gourmet coffee has won many International Awards. They have a coffee plant right on location that they give tours but it had closed down for the day when we were there.

We had a late lunch at one of the three restaurants and the food was very good.
We enjoyed our visit and would recommend this resort if you are in the area.

We have attached some pictures of our trip.
Please leave comments and/or questions and we will get back to you.

Coffee Plant

Coffee Plant (2)

Coffee Plant (3)

DSCN3669

DSCN3670

DSCN3671

DSCN3675

DSCN3676

DSCN3677

DSCN3678

DSCN3679

DSCN3680

DSCN3681

DSCN3682

DSCN3683

DSCN3684

DSCN3685

DSCN3686

DSCN3687

DSCN3688

DSCN3692

DSCN3700

DSCN3701

DSCN3702

DSCN3703

DSCN3704

DSCN3705

DSCN3706

DSCN3707

DSCN3708

DSCN3709

DSCN3712

DSCN3713

DSCN3716

DSCN3721

DSCN3722

DSCN3723

DSCN3725

Enterance

Enterance (2)

Horses

El Salvador Presidential Election Goes to March Runoff

PIMG_0897 (33) By: Hugh C. Talley

To become President in El Salvador in the first round a candidate must get at least 50% of the votes.

The El Salvador election was held yesterday and it was a very close election if you look at the numbers. In my opinion the media here is trying to make it appear that the FMLN candidate Sanchez Ceren was the winner because he had 49% of the votes compared to 39% for ARENA’s candidate Norman Quijano and 11% for Gana’s candidate Antonio Saca. The way I interpret this is that ARENA and GANA’s ideas and the platforms that they run on are very similar but are not even close to the platform of the FMLN, this would mean that 50% (39% +11%= 50%) of the country wants a Democratic form of government and not a Socialist form of government. The runoff on March 9th will be between FMLN’s Sanchez Ceren and AREA’s Norman Quijano. I think it will be interesting and I think a very close election.

I would also like to say that the web site that was set up by the government for the election results was very impressive, it was very easy to understand and they kept the results up to date. I think they did an outstanding job on this site.

Please leave your comments and or questions and I will get back to you.

El Salvador’s Presidential Race (Up Date)

DSCN2019  Hugh C. Talley

This coming Sunday, February 2nd, the people will vote for their new President. It looks like it may be a very close election and may end up going to a second round in March because of the third party, Gana. This is a very important election in my opinion. The way I see it will mean the difference of El Salvador moving forward in the world to it standing still or worse yet going backward.

Like I have said before I do not want to alienate anyone over politics but I do have very strong political views that stem from my life and travels over my life time. I can tell you that Socialism does not work for the people and it destroys the growth of a country. If you want a country to grow and prosper it needs a free market system and investments from countries that are economically strong. Socialism holds the people back and will keep them from ever getting ahead.

I hope and pray that the people of El Salvador will think long and hard before they make their vote on Sunday.
My GOD Bless El Salvador!!

El Salvador’s 2014 Presidential Candidates
images[7]
Sanchez Ceren, Norman Quijano, & Antonio Saca
The FMLN ( Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front ) is running the current Vice President and Minister of Education, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, at the top of the ticket as well as the popular mayor of Santa Tecla, Oscar Ortiz, as the vice presidential candidate.

The GANA (Grand National Alliance) Former ARENA President Tony Saca (2004 – 2009) announced his candidacy on February 25, 2013. Saca formed a new right wing party, the Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA) in 2009.

The ARENA (The Nationalist Republican Alliance) is running Norman Quijano, the current Mayor of San Salvador, as its presidential candidate, and Rene Portillo Cuadro, the current President of the Technological University, as vice president.

I hope this post is informative and helpful, As always please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Happy New Year!!

DSCN2019

I would like to thank all of my followers, you are what makes us feel like we are helping people understand that life in El Salvador is not bad and a real opportunity for people to visit, invest and/ or retire. This is a great country and getting better all the time. I cannot tell you how much I love this beautiful country and it’s people and their culture. If you are tired of the of the values that are being lost and/or you can’t survive on your retirement in the United States, I think you should look at El Salvador, you can have a life here and not have to work until you die. I know it is hard to just jump up and move but it is one HELL of an adventure and if you can live a better life, WHY THE HELL NOT??

Will, I was at my own New Years Party and drank a few to many beers. I hope you will forgive me, but I am at least a real and truthful person.

I would just like to wish all people a very Happy New Year and God Bless the world!!

A New Well for Santa Elena

DSCN2019

In June of this year a group of Missionaries from Living Water International came here to the village of Santa Elena, Cara Sucia to drill a much-needed well for the village.

Living Water International has completed more than 10,000 water projects for communities in 23 countries around the world, many of these projects have been here in El Salvador.

The well that they drilled here in Santa Elena is a great help to the community. The team ran into many problems while drilling the well, the drilling machine broke down many times and they had trouble getting the parts they needed, but in the end, it was completed and the people here are very happy for the well. I met the missionaries and they were a great group of people and were really team players, they were always upbeat, positive and happy.

I thought this was an appropriate post for this time of year even though this took place back in June it was people helping people who really needed it. In my life time I have spent many a Christmas in many countries around the world and it has always seemed to me that people were a bit happier, more giving, more helpful and more tolerant this time of the year.

I have attached some pictures. Please leave your comments and /or questions you may have on El Salvador.

DSCN3137

DSCN3138

DSCN3139

DSCN3140

DSCN3141

DSCN3142

DSCN3143

DSCN3144

DSCN3145

DSCN3146

DSCN3147

DSCN3148

DSCN3149

DSCN3150

DSCN3151

DSCN3152

It is The Christmas Season in El Salvador (REPOST)

DSCN3334

Christmas is a big event in El Salvador. The majority of the people are Catholic or Protestant so most of the people celebrate Christmas across the country.

El Salvador starts to come alive with Christmas lights and decorations around the middle of November. The malls have a large Christmas tree and times for the kids to visit Santa. All of the stores have lights and decorations. Unlike the United States, many of the schools and Government buildings have decorations and the Nativity Scenes, everybody says Feliz Navidad or Merry Christmas and no one frowns upon it or says it offends them. I very much hope that it stays this way.

Christmas Eve is the big day here, the families and friends start getting together in the late afternoon, there is always plenty of good food usually chicken or turkey with all the side dishes and of course the traditional Salvadorian dishes. Many families attend church services that go until midnight. At midnight gifts are given to the children (usually cheap inexpensive ones), everyone is setting off fireworks the streets and sky are filled with the lights and loud booms. Most families and friends eat, drink and celebrate until the early morning hours.

I have attached some pictures, please leave us comments and or questions about El Salvador.
From our family to yours Feliz Navidad or Merry Christmas!!!

IMG_0937

thCARIUOCK

thCAJ3XKX6

thCAI7GW76

thCAEJO7XJ

thCA7ZJF7N

thCA1K0VL6

IMG_0976

IMG_0975

IMG_0974

IMG_0973

IMG_0972

IMG_0971

IMG_0970

IMG_0969

IMG_0968

IMG_0967

IMG_0966

IMG_0965

IMG_0964

IMG_0963

IMG_0962

IMG_0961

IMG_0960

IMG_0959

IMG_0958

IMG_0957

IMG_0956

IMG_0955

IMG_0954

IMG_0953

IMG_0952

IMG_0951

IMG_0950

IMG_0949

IMG_0948

IMG_0947

IMG_0946

IMG_0945

IMG_0944

IMG_0943

IMG_0942

IMG_0941

IMG_0940

IMG_0939

IMG_0938

Izalco: Town of Mystical Traditions

DSCN2019 By: Hugh C. Talley

This week Elizabeth and I visited the town of Izalco, located in the department of Sonsonate, 59km from San Salvador. This is a town that has a lot of history, mystical traditions and some interesting sites to see. We visited the Atecozol Park and the Iglesias De Dolores (Church of Our Lady of Sorrows). We were not able to visit the arts and crafts area of town because they were closed for some event that was going on, but we do plan to return and check out the arts and crafts as they are said to be really nice.

At the base of the Izalco Volcano, is the town of Izalco, this is a very nice and well-kept little town. Izalco has the largest indigenous community of the region. The town has kept its native healing traditions and rituals. The native healers refer to themselves as “curanderos” or naturopaths who specialize in spiritual healing. Many of the people prefer to visit the naturopaths instead of the clinics because of their traditional beliefs and the plants they are prescribed are readily available and the treatment is more affordable.

We also visited the Iglesias De Dolores, it is believed that this church was built before 1540; it was one of the first Catholic Churches in El Salvador and on the continent. We were told that only the first floor of the main face of the building is original. The interior of the church contains colonial images, paintings, expository and tabernacles of embossed silver. This is a beautiful church and was very interesting to visit.

DSCN3640

DSCN3644

DSCN3648

DSCN3649

DSCN3650

DSCN3653

Also in Izalco is Atecozol Park, this park has natural springs which feed two swimming pools, very nice walkways through a forest with many plants and flowers and plenty of picnic tables, some with grills nearby for grilling. There are guards throughout the park to make sure there is no trouble.
There were two sites that we found interesting, one was the giant statue of Atonatl which honors pipil warrior Atonatl who wounded Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado during a 1524 battle. It is my understanding that Atonatl was later killed in battle.
The other site was a stone image of Cuyancua, a mythological animal that was half snake and half pig the size of a calf. It is told by the locals that at night you can hear a squeal followed by a strong turbulence under the ground. The villagers are said to go in their homes very early in the evening so as not to meet up with Cuyancua.
AS you can tell, we had a very full and busy day that we enjoyed very much.

I have attached some pictures below. Please feel free to leave comments or questions and we will get back to you.

DSCN3558

DSCN3561 Water from natural spring feeds pools

DSCN3562

DSCN3568

DSCN3570

DSCN3572

DSCN3573

DSCN3579

DSCN3584

DSCN3590

DSCN3592

DSCN3599

DSCN3602

DSCN3604

DSCN3607

DSCN3610

DSCN3616

DSCN3617 Cuyancua

DSCN3619

DSCN3620 Cuyancuat

DSCN3622

DSCN3630

DSCN3632

DSCN3633