Random thoughts and stories about sharing friendships and experiences in El Salvador (formerly known as Linda's El Salvador Blog)
Off the Beaten Path: Museo de Ferrocarril
One of the core values we hold dear in our sister church relationship is the practice of doing tourist activities in El Salvador together. Visiting historic sites, parks, natural wonders and museums gives us the chance to learn about El Salvador together. It's true that wherever we live, we often have neither the time, the interest nor the resources we need to "be tourists" in our own backyards, and often visitors in El Salvador have been to many more places in the country than their Salvadoran friends have.
In our sistering situation, taking excursions together is especially important because our community is divided by boundaries. Sections are controlled by different gang groups, and families are not able to cross boundaries from one sector to another. It is very difficult to plan any kind of event in the church or in the community in which everyone can participate, but with careful organization, field trips are something most of us can do together.
The engineer invited me to take a close-up
A great new attraction for school-age kids, youth and adults is the Museo de Ferrocarril (Railroad Museum). The museum is made up of a collection of buildings located in San Salvador on Avenida Peralta, between between the Terminal de Oriente and the backside of the Tiendona market. Plan ahead because you can only enter the parking area via a right turn. Drive slowly and watch for the railway murals on the exterior wall just before the entrance. The cost is $1 per person for the museum, and $1 per person to ride the train. Pay for both right away at the entrance kiosk, along with the $1 bus parking fee. Foreigners are charged $3 to enter, but if you spend a lot of time in El Salvador and guide groups, you might be able to negotiate a deal. I called the day before (2259-4100) to let them know we were coming, and I was able to get everyone in for the Salvadoran price. It's also good to ask at what time the train rides depart so you can plan your visit accordingly.
The guide shows off the ingenious two-
directional seating for first class
The guides are well-trained and will share a lot of historic information with your group! Signs are posted in Spanish and in English at most of the displays. Sometimes the tour groups get pretty big, so ask if you can have your own guide.
The museum resides at the old train station
The round house
We started our recent visit with the train ride. Some of the grandparents in our group remembered the railway system as it existed prior to the civil war. Some remembered the short run which FENADESAL (Ferrocarriles Nacional de El Salvador) reinstated between Apopa and San Salvador from 2007-2012. I think it would be very fun to view the photos which the young people took during the visit. There were, of course, lots of selfies with engines in the background. One boy took pictures of every mechanical gadget on display. Some of the kids recorded what the guide was saying. Many of the mothers encouraged their children to take lots of pictures to use for future school projects. Everyone really had fun. The tour is interactive and the guide was really good at making it fun for the little ones.
The presidential car
View down the route the track for the train ride
A positive side note: the young guides at this museum serve as excellent role models for students who may be studying tourism and history with aspirations of seeking employment in the developing tourism industry in El Salvador.
After we returned from Lake Coatepeque , I wondered if there were any interesting folk stories about the lake. It felt like one of those special places - a little bit quiet, hidden in a caldera, deep blue water, lots of fish. Thanks to Gloria and Guillermo, I learned this story... The legend of El Tabudo has become very popular among fishermen, residents and visitors to Lake Coatepeque and has spread so much that people tell the same legend of all lakes and lagoons of El Salvador. It seems that the owner of a beautiful mansion located on the shores of Lake Coatepeque went for a ride in a traditional hand-made canoe. As he came near the island he was swept away by an underground stream and carried to the realm of the goddess of fresh water, never to be seen alive again. A few months later he appeared to the people who were looking after his property which they had inherited. They were astonished and confused when they saw him because his knees had widened so much that l
Cobblestones, clay roof tiles, and murals add historic charm to Concepción de Ataco Our next stop on the vacation week tour is the town of Concepción de Ataco. This lovely colonial town is a convenient place to stay while exploring the Apaneca mountain region in western El Salvador. Side note: if you are just joining me on this little tour, you might wish to catch up by checking out the first two stories in the Vacation Week series: Coffee Stop above Lake Coatepeque Experiencing the Energy at Tazumal I have visited Ataco with several delegations over the years, and we have enjoyed staying in Ataco for a couple of family vacations. A few years ago, I wrote Off the Beaten Path: Concepción de Ataco , which gives a little overview and history of the town, as well as a profile of the boutique hotel where we stayed. Like many touristic locations in El Salvador, Ataco reveals a little more of its character and history with each successive visit. Hanging flowers add ambiance at Picolo Giard
I am not sure if I have written much about pupusas, but I do love to eat them! Since today, November 14th is National Pupusa Day in El Salvador, I decided to search the word "pupusa" in my Google photos to see what I would find. Although Google could not really tell the difference between my photos of pupusas and those of tortillas, I was sort of impressed that the search feature identified any pupusa photos at all. If you are not familiar with pupusas, I am sorry. They are delicious. The basic idea is to put soft, white cheese and other optional ingredients inside a tortilla and cook it on a griddle. Common options are plain cheese, bean and cheese, cheese with shredded ayote (sort of like zucchinni) or chipilín, or cheese with beans and pork rinds. You can really put anything inside a pupusa. Once, at a pupueria in Washington DC, I had a lobster and cheese pupusa. The masa or dough can be made from corn flour or rice flour, and depending on where you are in El Salvador
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