Alegría – Suchitoto

I awoke to a cacophony of bird chatter at dawn. Deciding to join the feathered throng, I padded out into the garden in my jim jams. The señora of the casa came out shortly afterwards and offered me a cup of coffee. That was a lovely bonus and I enjoyed my early morning café in the gardens watching the birds frolicking. 

  
I was directed to an amazing restaurant overlooking the vast valley below Alegría. Even though the valley was shrouded in cloud, it still provided a most spectacular vista to enjoy over a tasty local breakfast. A pleasant morning wander around town capped off my visit to Alegría and I collected my pack to move ever onwards. 

  
My next port of call was Suchitoto in the country’s more northern reaches, but of course, I had my own preferred way of getting there. I caught a bus to the neighbouring little village of Berlin, then another bus to the town of Mercedes Umaña on the Carretera Panamericana. From there I could catch a San Salvador bound bus to where I wanted to get dropped off for the next leg. 

  
I was feeling quite smug thinking I had finally worked out how to travel on the routes I wanted when I made the fatal error of asking the bus assistant as he was dropping me off in San Rafael Cedros where I could get a bus to Suchitoto. That was it! My pack was hoiked back on the bus and I was hastened aboard. That’s not the way to Suchitoto. You have get off further down the road! I explained in vain that I didn’t want to go down that particular road, but the one I had chosen. To no avail; I was assured that they would drop me off at the correct stop and I would get to Suchitoto. Sometimes, Salvadorians can be a little too helpful… 

   
After the driver dropped me off at the ‘correct’ spot and waved me adios with a beaming smile, I hastened across the hectic highway to collect a bus heading to Suchitoto. My wheels for this leg of the journey happened to be a clapped out minivan, packed to the gunnels. I shared a seat with a old señora clutching a chicken with its legs tied together. I didn’t want to know whether the chook was destined for a peaceful life pecking in the yard or was intended for the pot, so didn’t enquire as to its fate. 

  
It was nice driving up through the hills again after the hot flats of the Carretera Panamericana. Due to the nature of the terrain, traffic is forced to slow, making for a pleasant scenic trip and a chance to peek into everyday rural Salvadorian life. Frequent stopping to pick up and drop off passengers added to the slow pace. 

  
We eventually pulled into Suchitoto and I took my cues from the other exiting passengers that this was where the bus terminated. Central Plaza was only a block away as it turned out. I got my bearings and made my way to a hostel I picked out of the guidebook. Blanca Luna was a great choice as I ended up with a nice little room with private bathroom for only USD10. With a beautiful flowering plant strewn balcony and terrace, I think the Travel God of Accommodation was giving me a break from the dodgy dives I had been staying in of late. 

  
As I had a couple of hours of light left, I dumped my pack and took myself for a wander around town. Late afternoon in downtown Suchitoto is very laid back and communal. Old señors gather in small groups to chew the fat on the issues of the day, small boys kick scruffy footballs in the streets, and señoras rock babes in their arms whilst chatting with a neighbour. 
It was back to the central plaza for dinner and a cerveza, watching the passing parade of locals. Mass was being said in the church, which melded in with the other sounds of early evening activity. A very pleasant way to spend an evening in a relaxed little town. 

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