First, I had the opportunity to take a tour of a coffee plantation and learn about the huge amount of effort that goes into producing a cup of coffee.
Then, we climbed to the even higher elevation cloud forest to reach the volcano.
And we hiked through the beautiful cloud forests,
seeing the plants that had made amazing adaptations to be able to survive there. Like these plants that don't bother sending any clorophyl to their newest leaves (since they are most likely to be eaten by predators) until they get a little bigger.
Or these leaves that have graffiti from over 3 years ago, showing just how long-lasting and resilant they are.
After that, we got stuck behind a tractor as we crossed the continental divide.
Then we stopped at a little shop that offered free samples of cheese, strawberries, coffee, and wine, where I bought some delicious fresh-made cheese and smiled to myself at one possible translation of their name: Volcanic Strawberries.
Next we went to the awesome La Paz waterfall gardens, where in addition to seeing amazing waterfalls
And sleeping frogs
And snakes whose sight made me nauseous
And butterflies at all stages of life, from egg
And while I loved seeing all the awesome things, the very best part was the awesome people I met. Like the kind taxi driver who I had a heart-to-heart chat with when he picked me up at 5:30 a.m. And our charming, knowledegable, and funny guide Mario who was kind enough to help me climb the big rock for the waterfall photo.
And taught us beautiful things, such as pointing out how we humans need to be more like this plant that grows in a spiral, enabling the older generations of leaves to flourish while also making resources available to the younger generations of leaves.
And I loved meeting the awesome tourist family originally from the former USSR who now lives in Brooklyn, who stood together hugging each time we paused to listen to our guide. And the fun and polite Bret who was always looking out for me.
And I felt grateful to live in such a beautiful world.