Still together with my English friend, I travelled through some of the towns and villages on the El Salvadorian Ruta de las Flores last weekend. We left our big bags in San Salvador and only took what we needed for the weekend to make travelling around on the packed local buses easier.
First, we took a bus to Izalco, a small colonial town with an interesting market. The town has 2 squares, both of course with a church and a lot of stalls selling food. After we had explored the town, we spent a bit of time on the second square, drinking a beer and watching people before getting the bus to our next destination.
Market lady in Izalco posing for my photo
Cow's head on Izalco market
Piñatas on Izalco market
Barbie dolls for sale in Izalco
And it did not fall over... at least not while we could still see it
At the bus station in Sonsonate where we had to change buses, we tried the torta mexicana we had seen advertised all around. We were a bit disappointed though because it was a toasted sandwich (like a panini) with meat, ham, ketchup and mayonnaise. We did not quite understand what this has to do with a 'torta' or Mexico.
A couple of hours later, we arrived in Juayúa. This is the main tourist destination in the area, so that we stayed in a full hostel, which we were not used to anymore. Juayúa has a food festival on every weekend. So we went and tried a local dish, costilla (a T-bone steak) with of course plantain, rice, beans, salad and tortillas. It was very good and sharing one portion between both of us was more than enough.
Animals being sold on the street in Juayúa
Saturday night, we organised transportation through our hostel to Nahuizalco, a town nearby where there is has a night market every night. The indigenous Pipil people sell all kinds of food and other goods here. We tried some rabbit tacos and pudding in a plastic bag. Unfortunately, the rabbit tacos did not taste of rabbit at all. There was more salad in them than meat. They were still good, but nothing special without the rabbit taste. The still hot vanilla pudding with a bit of cinnamon that we had to squeeze out of a small hole we bit into the plastic bag it was sold in was surprisingly good.
Even better than the night market was the main square just next to the market street though. There was a huge colourfully decorated Christmas tree on the square and all the normal trees were wrapped in Christmas lights.
Christmas tree in Nahuizalco
Chritmas light on the Nahuizalco main square
On Sunday morning, we had a typical breakfast (eggs, sausage, chorizo, beans, tomatoes, plantain and bread) on the square, and then left Juayúa and travelled to the nearby Santa Leticia Hotel from where we got on a tour to the archaeological site. The site consists of two statues made by the Mayas about 2500 years ago on top of a hill. The statues represent deities in the form of a man and a woman, both short and round. A smaller child figure has also been found, but this is locked into the owners house at the moment. the plan is to bring this up onto the hill as well after some restoration work.
Typical El Salvadorian breakfast
Santa Leticia archaeological site
Santa Leticia archaeological site
After this short guided tour, we went on to Ataco. Another colonial town, a lot bigger than the ones we had previously visited in El Salvador, and also very nice. We went to a café were I finally tried an El Salvadorian horchata, a drink made out of rice milk (quite different form the Spanish version made of almonds), which was really good. In this town they as well had a food festival on. Stalls on the square were selling all kinds of local foods. we decided to try something very exotic here, lizard. The meat tastes very different from other meats, chicken or fish. It is not great, a bit rubbery, but interesting to try once. I also ate a piece of bread in the shape of a crab (they had it in the shape of lizards too). It tasted just like normal bread, but it was just a funny idea. As I had already mentioned in the last post, they like their ferris wheels in El Salvador. In Ataco however, they exaggerated this a little bit. There were 5 ferris wheels in 2 streets! 3 small ones for children and 2 big ones. They were all empty except for 1, which had 3 children riding on them at some point. How do they finance these we wondered...
Ataco wall painting
How many people can you fit on the back of a pick-up truck?
Clothes sold from a car
Ferris wheel in Ataco
Me eating lizard
At the end of this busy weekend during which we took a lot of local buses, saw a few small but pretty colonial town and tried some interesting and weird foods, we took 2 more buses and arrived back in San Salvador that night.