A magical cloud experience in the mountains of Atenas Costa Rica…

Moment by moment, the clouds grew thicker and thicker.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom was standing on the veranda as the clouds began to roll in.

Last evening around 5:30 pm, just about the time we were thinking about having dinner, we looked outside (unavoidable with all the glass walls in this fine villa), and we thrilled to see fast-moving clouds that we could almost touch from the veranda.

We’d experienced a similar phenomenon when were lived in Madeira, Portugal, in the spring of 2014, for which we’ve included the photo of Tom on the veranda with the link to that post and video. Yesterday, we were as excited to see this event as we were over three years ago….our heads in the clouds!

Tom on the veranda in Madeira Portugal during a similar cloud “white-out.”  For more photos and a video, please click here.

Since we’re partway up the mountains here in Costa Rica (698 meters, 2261 feet, above sea level) in much cooler weather than by the sea (an hour and a half drive), such attractive weather conditions seem to be more prevalent.

Standing on the veranda as the clouds quickly moved across our view, we felt as if we could reach out and touch them. They rolled across the veranda at one point, and we were able to walk through them.

We gasped when we felt the cool, moist air, unlike anything we’ve ever felt before. It was breathtaking. Oh, some might say, “No big deal.  It’s just a bunch of clouds.”

For us, it’s these same experiences that make our travels rich and filled with wonder, so much so that we quickly and easily found our link from our similar experiences over three years ago.

It was stunning to watch the views dissipate and the clouds thickened.

It’s not easy taking photos of clouds right in one’s face, but we did our best.  Had there been more warning, I’d have taken a video, but it came up and dissipated so quickly, I barely had time to load the camera to take these few shots.

Within 15 minutes, the views across the valley cleared, and once again, we could see our surroundings. As a result, today’s “Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica” and other photos result from this event.

When it cleared, we moseyed off to the kitchen to reheat our leftover pizza, cook the green beans and toss the salad. Unfortunately, the pizza wasn’t quite as good as it was in Nevada weeks ago since we couldn’t find the right type of Italian sausage here in Atenas.

It didn’t take more than a few minutes to cover the entire Alajuela Valley.

The only Italian-seasoned sausage we found here had no casing. That was weird. Since it required cooking before placing it on the pizza, it ended up tasting somewhat like hot dogs, which we don’t usually eat. Maybe next time, we’ll try it using the local Spanish-type sausages with casings.

Also, we couldn’t find parchment paper at either of the two markets and had no choice but to use tinfoil (they don’t have non-stick foil here) which we coated with olive oil to no avail. It still stuck to the tinfoil.

Once the pizza was done, we had to peel the foil off the bottom crust, often in tiny pieces. Maybe we shouldn’t have pizza again while we’re here. Or, perhaps we should start packing parchment paper, an item we often use in cooking low-carb items but have difficulty finding in many countries.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed our dinner and a quiet evening watching a few favorite shows on the big screen TV in the comfy screening room. We’d signed up for Netflix last week and had been watching a few choice shows.

It wasn’t quite as thick as it had been in Madeira Portugal, but it was similar. We could still see the light at a distance on the far right.

Whenever we sign up for Netflix, we do so for short periods, watching everything that appeals to us over one or two months, after which we cancel it and sign for HBO or Showtime while we binge watch other favorites.

Right now, we’re waiting for season 7 of Game of Thrones to complete its season, at which point we’ll sign up for HBO and be able to binge-watch the entire final season of this fantastic series. We rarely watch any shows during the day to avoid starting a bad habit that could prevent us from paying attention to our surroundings. Once it’s dark, we’re content to “settle in” for the evening.

Today is another quiet day. Isabel, one of the sweetest and most competent cleaners on the planet, is here today, recovered from her case of “gripa,” a bad cold she had last week when she was only able to work for part of the day. Thank goodness neither of us caught it from her.  She’s busy cleaning now in her cheerful good-natured manner. What a treasure she is!

We’ll have the first of the two rental cars in only four days, one for five days and the second for the remainder of our stay. So we’re looking forward to being mobile again but not so much for the dentist appointment scheduled for Monday.

May your day be filled with natural wonders, whether it’s a bird alighting on your window sill, big droplets of rain on a cloudy day, or a pretty cloud formation wafting through the skies. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 17, 2016:

One year ago, while we were in Phuket, Thailand, it was only six weeks after I’d seriously injured my spine, which took five months to heal. We didn’t do much while there, so I continued to post photos from the Phuket Seashell Museum. I’m sure all of our readers have seen enough seashells, then and now, with only one more day of these appearing tomorrow. But, if you’d like to see more, click here.

Mother Nature comes to call…The magic of Madeira…A year ago…Venice, Italy…

This short video illustrates how quickly the fog rolled over our area.

Saturday, we looked forward to taking photos of the full moon when it was cloudy on Friday night, the 13th.  The full moon would not reappear on another Friday the 13th until the year 2049. We put our hopes into taking photos on Saturday night’s photos when the moon would still be in its almost full glory.

As we stepped outside onto the veranda, we were amazed by this view. We’d seen fog roll in during the day, but not to this degree in the evening.

With our camera charged and ready, we busied ourselves after dinner, comfortably ensconced on the sofa in the living room with a clear shot of the sky through the glass doors to the veranda.

This area was soon hidden by the fog.

Mindlessly lost in searching for vacation rentals in Australia and New Zealand, I jumped when Tom suddenly spoke, “Hurry, let’s go outside!”

It all happened so quickly that we were glad Tom spotted it when he did.

Startled, I looked outside to see a massive wave of bright white fog wafting toward us. No moon photos tonight, I thought. But, I was hardly disappointed as we stepped outside to the veranda for more awe-inspiring views on the island of Madeira.

 Looking out beyond the homes, we could no longer see the ocean.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, in our old lives, Tom spent hours each weekend fussing over his homemade lake water pumping system used for watering our huge lawn. After he’d rigged his creation, he enjoyed watching it at work and repositioning the sprinklers as he tinkered in the yard on his days off work

The fog rolled up the mountain as well.

With no such household tasks, while we live in vacation homes around the world, a conscientious person such as Tom has managed to find other ways to pique his interest in our day to day lives.

To the higher far right of us, we saw the pink sky of the sun setting behind the mountain.

Here in Madeira, he’s adopted a number of new passionate observatory habits: watching the changing weather, the clouds, the sky, and the ocean from the veranda. Several times each day he asks me to join him to see his latest “find” and I happily oblige as I grab the camera.

On the hairpin turn road below our house, a cat looked lost in the approaching fog.

At times, his sightings are astounding. At other times, they’re as simple as a passing freighter or a puffy cloud resembling an animal. In any case, I always stop whatever I’m doing to check out his most recent point of interest.

To the left, we watched as the house below us became shrouded in the fog.

On Saturday night around 9:00 pm, he suddenly blurted out that we’d better hurry and go outside. I took his suggestion with my usual enthusiasm, jumping up from my seat to follow him outside to the veranda.

The street lights illuminated as we watched.

As shown in these photos and video, we had the opportunity to watch the low hanging fog and clouds, so typical for Madeira, as they rolled in from the ocean. The longer we watched the foggier it became. In no time at all, we were in a full “fog out.” We were glad we’d dined in rather than driving through the fog on our return.

Soon, we could hardly see a thing.

Over the remainder of the evening, up until midnight when Tom came to bed, the sky never cleared. The moon never made another appearance that night or on Sunday night when there was a normal cloud cover, not more fog.

Tom on the veranda during the “white-out.”

With limited knowledge of meteorology we assumed that the high heat and humidity, unusual for Madeira, when it reached 88F, 31C attributed to the fog rolling in from the sea. 

Again, to the left, this area became fog covered.

As we stood on the veranda watching the fog approach us I heard a strange crackling sound. With Tom’s hearing loss due to years of working on the railroad, he wasn’t able to hear the peculiar sounds. If any of our readers have especially good hearing, they may also be able to hear these unusual sounds in the video. 


When playing the video, it’s easy to hear the sounds of the goats next door “baaing.” For whatever reason, they continued to “baa” more frequently than usual as the fog rolled in. 

During this occurrence, the temperature dropped dramatically, more than it usually drops at night. In this case, it dropped to a considerably lower temperature and higher humidity than we’ve previously observed.

Sunday, at noon, the sky had cleared and I ventured out for my usual walk up the steep hill discovering this gorgeous lily begging for a photo.

On Sunday morning, when I awoke a 6:00 am I peered outside wondering if the fog remained overnight. In part, it had when the hills were shrouded in fog, later clearing for a perfectly sunny and cooler day at 75F, 23C, the average temperature for this time of year.

In a funny way, this reminded us of those snowy days in Minnesota, with a total “white out” when we were safely at home reveling in the beauty of the falling snow as it covered everything in its path.

Mother Nature, what a gal!  She never fails to offer us opportunities to become enthralled with her ways. The question is…will we take the time and effort to stop whatever we may be doing to notice the treasures she so proudly bestows upon us?

Photo from one year ago today, June 16, 2013:

For hours we walked the streets of Venice crossing over the canals on many occasions. It was actually more beautiful than we’d expected. With the outrageous cost of riding on the gondolas, most of which were “stuck in traffic” we opted to walk instead. For details of the day in Venice, please click here.