We left our peaceful stop next to the volcano and headed to Joyen de Veren. This is a Mayan site that was preserved because it was covered in volcanic dust just like Pompeii. It is unusual in that it has preserved the way ordinary Mayans lived. The temples we had seen so far were the important temples and palaces of the rulers. When we arrived though it was closed as Monday was its closing day. Still it was not too far off our track so we got back on the road and headed to Suchitoto our destination for the day. Suchitoto was briefly the capital of El Slavador and many wealthy Salvadorians built homes there in the 19th century. However the town was virtually abandoned during the civil war but it is slowly making a come back and is very welcoming to tourists. We had heard of a restaurant, El Mangal, with a pool where we could camp. Unfortunately with no working GPS and or wifi the coordinates we had were not much use. After heading down the wrong dirt road we parked outside the town and Gilly headed in on foot to ask directions at the tourist office. They were very helpful and we headed out of town and found the restaurant down a steep hill next to a pool. It was hot (37 degrees) so while we ordered lunch the girls went for a swim in the pool. As the girls did schooling I needed to get the washing done. So it was back up the hill into town. Fortunately there was a little local bus that I could catch to save the 2 km uphill hike. However there was no laundry in town so I had to catch the bus back with it all. And for the first time in the trip this meant the buckets needed to come out and the washing had to be done by hand. The hot weather came in handy here as it meant things dried quickly. After all the hard work we headed down to a bar on the lakeside for a well earned beer or two to watch the sun go down.
The next day we all caught the bus back into Suchitoto to explore the lovely little town. We visited the church and walked along the brightly painted streets.
We were getting hungry and were determined to try the El Salvadorian speciality Papusas. These are tortillas filled with cheese and other fillings. We had been looking for them without success since we arrived. The first restaurant we went to only cooked them in the evening and the next one we went to had just finished serving them so we trooped back to the tourist office who directed us to one making Papusas.
Lucy was keen to have a go herself.
We found out that Papusas are generally eaten in the evening or for breakfast which was why we were having difficulty finding them at lunchtime. We had a number of different flavours: chicken and cheese, cheese and lorcano ( a local herb), beans and cheese and our favourite, cheese, garlic and jalopeneos.
After lunch we went to a shop specialising in tie dye where you could make your own items. The kids were keen to try this and each decided to make their own handkerchief. This involved patient stitching.
Before moving to the dying process.
And finally their beautiful finished handkerchiefs.
The next day we headed back to the Pacific coast. As always when driving you see some interesting vehicles on the road.
We arrived at the costal town of El Cuco and went looking for somewhere to stay. Fortunately again we had details of a restaurant right on the beach and were able to pull onto the sand with a great view of the ocean.
We awoke the next morning to a wonderful sunrise over the ocean. We did not even need to get out of bed to enjoy this. At this time of the morning the temperature is lovely before the heat of the day. Certainly a nice way to wake up on a January morning.
We spent the day playing on the each, the kids exploring the pools by the side of the sea that were left as the tide went out. As the heat rose we retired under some palm trees for a long relaxing lunch.
We also had to get prepared as we were going to be doing two border crossings in two days. This also meant prepping the truck as the Honduran police frequently check to ensure you have two safety triangles and afire extinguisher. We had also heard they look for reflective tape so we applied some to the truck. Hope it is sufficient.