Around San Jose, CR

From the Museo de Oro Precolombina
After 2 extractions and 2 root canals for Alan on Monday, we decided to keep it low key for him the following day. Hiring a taxi, we found our way to the center of the city. One thing we noticed on our return to the city was new street signs, everywhere. On our last visit, the dirth of signage made it difficult, if not impossible to get around.

Having checked out the possibilities, we headed
From Lola Fernandez's Volcano Series
first to the Museo de Oro Precolombina y Numismatica (Museum of Precolumbian Gold and Coins). This popular tourist destination houses a dazzling collection of Precolumbian gold pieces, in conjunction with a history of how the gold was mined and worked into the unusual pieces. The museum also includes a permanent display on the history of Costa Rican money, and varying temporary exhibits of contemporary artist. Lola Fernandez's work was the current show. The exhibit was an extensive display of this first-rate Costa Rican artist, spanning her 65 year career. Her style ranges from realistic to abstract, and she uses a wide range of medium, including oil, watercolor, acrylics and textiles. Her diversity and talent are impressive.

National Theater
Over the roof of the Museo de Oro is the Plaza de la Cultura. This small open air concrete square reminded us both of St. Mark's Square in Venice, due to the prevalence of pigeons. Conveniently, this is also the location of the Costa Rican tourist office, so maps or other info on the country can be obtained here. Moving on around the corner, we explored the Teatro Nacional (National Theater). Currently hosting an international flute program, this building, built in 1897, is considered one of San Jose's finest public buildings. Arriving too late for the noon program, we learned that our casual attire was not acceptable at the theater, even during the daytime programs. Next time, we'll know that shorts are not okay.

Metropolitan Cathedral
Walking a few blocks over from the Theater and across the street from Parque Central (Central Park),
we found the Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral). Built in 1871, to replace a church which had been destroyed by an earthquake, this is the largest church in the city and considered to be the most important Catholic shrine in the country. Colorful Spanish tile floors and stained glass windows grace the church.

Central Market
Having visited the Mercado Central (Central Market) on our last
One of the many vendors
trip to San Jose, we wanted to go back there once again. Within the market, there are over 200 vendors, selling everything from meat to produce, and spices to souvenir t-shirts. There are also dozens of small cheap restaurants called sodas. The market was first established in 1880. We were hoping to score on a hot avocado and shrimp salad we enjoyed there before, and we found the item on a menu, but the reality didn't live up to our memories.

On exiting the market to the west, the Avenieda Central is a pedestrian street mall that runs for several blocks. Here shoppers can find inexpensive clothing and shoes. There are also a variety of street vendors, but most seemed to be selling lottery tickets. I know we probably made an error of judgement, but we did not buy one of those tickets, even though each vendor was certain they were selling the winning ticket.

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