When we arrived in El Salvador, we were greeted as old long lost friends by Cristina and Juan Carlos and they welcomed us to their home with all the warmth in the world. They both live in the town of Izalco and took us all over the place to show us what they like about their country.

One day we went with Cristina and Juan Carlos and their friends Mirna and Toño and their son to the beach where we could get a real taste of El Salvador. There was one thing that Cristina told Kim to get because according to her it was delicious. When Kim asked her what it was she said: “conchas” and Cristina put some lime juice on one of the meaty ‘snot’ in the shell and it actually moved. It turned out to be some type of living snot like sea food and Kim’s stomach just turned around when she saw it and she wisely chose the camarones (shrimp who were really really dead!). Seb tasted one and said that it wasn’t too bad, but he too chose for the camarones.

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Because Seb’s computer was still acting up and the fan would just go to it’s maximum speed every time he turned the laptop on, we decided to head over to the local shopping mall in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, and find an Apple store to get it fixed.  The shopping mall was built around the house that used to be on the lot and they fully restored the old house and incorporated it into the mall giving this amazing piece of work. The people from the Apple store couldn’t get Seb’s laptop fixed, but they did give us an address where we could go the next day.

What we have found out throughout all our travels is that a shopping mall looks almost exactly the same in every country you go to, air conditioned big buildings with nice shops, food courts and packed with people and it instantly makes you feel at home no matter how far you actually are.

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In the evening we went to the lovely town of Ataco, in the province of Ahuachapan, with Cristina, Juan Carlos, Danilo, Mirna, Toño and their son. It was a lot colder because we were a bit more in the mountains, but it was still a comfortable temperature. Mirna gave me a scarf and she didn’t want anything in return, it was a gift and one I was very glad to get because it came in handy at that time! Thanks again Mirna and Toño! We found a really nice café where we had some local hot chocolate.

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The streets in Ataco, which means ‘high place of springs’, all had cobble stones and a lot of the buildings had very beautiful murals on them. Although Ataco didn’t win the first place in the Pueblos Vivos contest, the town is still preferred by many international and local tourists.

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Kim truly loves this wall with all the flowers and cats on them and in the daytime this is the local shop named Diconte & Axul and it sells local arts and crafts. The facade is painted by the artists Cristina Pineda Fagioli and Alvaro Orellana and the building itself dates back to 1910.

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Cristina and Kim having fun on one of the lovely beaches in El Salvador.

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In Nahuizalco, we went to try some more local food and take in the atmosphere of the city. We tasted our first fried Yuca and we had some more Pupusas, the local speciality of El Salvador and we loved it! At night the town was buzzing with people and the ambiance was super! We must say that we had some of the best food since we started on this trip right here in El Salvador.

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Nahuizalco means ‘place of four izalcos’ and is famous for it’s wicker and tule handicrafts, but we just like it because it was a clean and vibrant city with friendly people and a nice night market. The local town square had some neatly maintained grass fields and walkways and because it was St. Valentines day, they even put up some heart shaped decorations.

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We even had a chance to see the performance of a local Michael Jackson impersonator but as Cristina and Kim agreed on, he looked more like Boy George…IMG_3682

A new tradition we discovered here in El Salvador was drinking out of plastic bags from a straw. It’s the first time we have seen something like this, and it’s not always very handy, especially when you want to put it down for a second or if you reach the end and you suck up the plastic through the straw, but it is still fun to try new and exiting things.

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The first time we tasted heaven was in Izalco when we went to eat some Pupusas and Cristina asked us if we wanted to taste the local drink named Cebada. It looks like a Barbie doll drink because it is very pink, but we think this is what they must serve in heaven because we loved it!!! It is made out of barley flour and milk and some other ingredients and in the end they add some colorant to make it pinkish and you have to drink it with a lot of ice. You see Kim drinking it out of the famous plastic bag! The t-shirt Kim is wearing is a gift from Cristina and Juan Carlos and it is from Antigua Guatemala.

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In the end after a few wonderful days with Cristina and Juan Carlos we said our farewells and we hoped we would one day see them again (and in the end, this came sooner than we thought).

We headed over to San Salvador again, to see Salvador del mundo on the roundabout and to try and get Seb’s laptop fixed. The guy at the shop said that it would probably be an internal problem, but Seb said that it was probably just dirty on the inside and that he just wanted them to clean it, but the guy from the shop wouldn’t hear about it and told us to leave the laptop there for a few days and that they would fix it. So we left the laptop in San Salvador and rode back to the shopping mall to get a bite to eat before we rode off to the beach at El Tunco.

When we arrived at the parking garage of the shopping mall, we took one ticket for the two bikes because the first two hours of parking were free and we rode together in the garage. First off, the told us we had to put our bikes in the special bike parking area, so we thought, “oh cool, they have an area especially for bikes”. When we saw the area, we knew we would never fit the bikes in because with the panniers on the side, we would take up 3 spaces each and we didn’t even fit through the barriers to get there anyway, so we just parked them in a car spot and went for a bite to eat. When we went to get the ticket validated afterwards, it said that it was free, because we didn’t stay longer than two hours, so we went back to the bikes and wanted to ride out of the garage and be on our way to the beach, but this wasn’t to the satisfaction of a local security guard. He stopped us before we put the ticket in the machine and asked Kim where her ticket was, so she said she didn’t have any and that they had come in together with one ticket and would leave with one ticket. The guy started shouting that this was illegal and that we would have to pay a fine and that he would call backup. He was just talking into his walkie talkie when Seb started saying to him in Flemish that he didn’t speak Spanish and that he wasn’t going to let that guy stop him. The security guard looked all confused at us and for a moment didn’t know what to do, so we saw our chance, put the ticket in the machine so the barrier would open and rode with the two bikes out of the garage leaving the gobsmacked security guard behind us scratching his head.

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From San Salvador we headed over to the surfers paradise at El Tunco where the weather is good almost all the time and you can grab a few awesome waves if you like to surf.

We stayed in a local hostel where we could relax in the hammocks, sit by the side of the pool or walk to the beach which was 100 meters away.

On the beach you could sit all day and look at the locals or the tourists trying to catch the perfect wave and show their skills on the board.

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One day Seb got an email saying that is laptop was fixed and we could go and pick it up. When we got there, Seb asked what they had done and the guy said that they had erased everything (he had told us that he would do that and Seb had a backup of everything) but that this still hadn’t solved the problem, so he had taken the back of the laptop, cleaned it and now it worked fine. Seb was silent for a moment and then told the guy that this was what he had told him the first time and that if he had just listened to Seb, he wouldn’t have had to erase the whole thing. Oh well, in the end, the laptop was fixed and Seb was happy again, so if ever you are in humid countries and the fan of your Apple starts going to the maximum speed the whole time, it is probably some humidity inside that has to be cleaned out and you don’t need to erase your total settings on the laptop…

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Seb enjoyed walking along the beach very much, and it wasn’t always to look at the ocean because from time to time his focus was elsewhere.

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Almost every night, we went to the beach around sunset, just to enjoy the last few moments of the sun above the ocean, looking in amazement at the colorful spectacle in the sky.

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One day we got a message on facebook from Cristina saying that Alejandro (an Argentinean guy who also was at the biker meeting in Belize and who is riding his classic 44 year old BMW R60 from Miami to Argentina) was with them and they were planning to go to a party in San Salvador in the evening and they asked us if we wanted to come. We talked about it for a while, checked out of our hostel and repacked the bikes to head back over to Cristina and Juan Carlos. We first decided to grab a bite to eat, so we went to a local taco place in the center of town and while we were eating, we saw Alejandro and Danilo walking down the street. It turned out that they had left Izalco and came to El Tunco to look for us and to ask us if we would come that night…

We left our beautiful spot by the beach with a bit of sadness in our heart but at the same time we were looking forward to going back to Izalco to our friends.

Kim leaving one of the dark tunnels behind her and riding towards the light!

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The scenery on the route towards Izalco was spectacular and we enjoyed all the twisty roads.

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On the way we saw this tree, trying to touch the ground with his ‘feet’, hanging on to the side of the wall.

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So onwards we rode towards Izalco to be reunited with our friends and share some more intense moments!