Yes, home again. Costa Rica was wonderful but, sadly, we couldn't stay forever. This is the very plane that carried us back to the real world:
We saw all sorts of exciting animals: howler monkeys with babies on their backs (they do howl - like a bear or big cat), spider monkeys swinging by their tails, timid white-faced monkeys that hide in the centre of palm trees. Also crocs, sloths, turtles, bats and massive iguanas (4 - 5 foot long with heads the size of small dogs). Plus of course loads of birds, including humming birds by the dozen and vultures, constantly swooping overhead.
We SO wanted to come back to England...
I'm afraid the animals weren't up for posing, but I did try out my new watercolours on some landscapes. Above is Arenal: the most active volcano in the Western Hemisphere, erupting continually. I painted this from our hotel (pictured below) - the perfect location to watch the action, if it hadn't been cloudy the whole 3 days!
We walked near the volcano's base one afternoon, on the spiky, heaped-up lava boulders and, rather eerily, you could hear the occasional distant 'bang' as it spat out fresh rocks. Then we eased our weary feet by bathing in the volcano's hot springs, at a rather plush spa hotel. I know: you hate me.
This is the first location we stayed at, in the mountains (spot the vulture). It was the only place where it got chilly, but only in the evenings.
Next we went to the southern Pacific coast, to Drake Bay (after Francis: he of the cigarettes) a place so remote, we had to get there by a 2 hour, motor-boat trip. It was very humid, but we solved that problem by snorkelling off the beach above. I'm not very happy with this painting: I tinted it after the event, so there is no sense of the sunlight. I might work on it some more.
I did lots more sketches and paintings, and of course took hundreds of photos - I've posted more in the Picture Gallery, as this post is becoming a full-length travel feature!
Also, if you want to hear more about how I work in my sketchbooks, take a look at my short video or check out the sketchbook section of my website, to see drawings from my other travels, like China, Namibia, Vietnam, Australia and all over Europe.