Saturday, May 11, 2013

Off the Beaten Path: Start at the Clock Tower in San Vicente

The "Off the Beaten Path" stories have been numerous lately -- a result of a recent month in El Salvador with free time to wander, and a desire to share some of the amazing sites in different parts of the country.  Thanks for sharing your experiences and questions as Linda's El Salvador Blog spends a little more time exploring the country and culinary treats of El Salvador. 


The approach to the clock tower...friendly old
guys and friendly officers.
My friend Deb and I were dropped off along the edge of the town square.  "Meet back here in about six hours."  Six hours to seek out every nook and cranny in the town of San Vicente.  "We'll be fine!" we reassured our Salvadoran pastor (who left grinning and shaking his head).

Our pre-visit internet search suggested we begin our tour by climbing the clock tower in the town square.  Since the tourist office/cultural house was apparently under construction, this seemed like a great idea:  climb the tower, pinpoint the landmarks from above, and then walk around without getting lost.

Climbing..
The tower was built in the late 1920's, although local folks like to trace its history back to 1700 Spanish construction.  It was damaged quite severely in the 2001 earthquakes, but has recently been restored.  We began our assent, realizing pretty quickly that in the middle of the day on a Friday, the tower serves as a popular make-out spot for young couples.  We stopped at each level, admiring the spiral staircase and old tile floors, pausing to look out over the railing to see if the clouds had lifted to reveal the San Vicente volcano.  I'm not sure exactly where we were in our climb when the bells started to chime.  These bells were seriously LOUD, and we decided not to be beneath them for the chiming of the hour.

The bells in the tower
We made it to the top, and like little kids scrambled quickly from side to side to side to side to see what we could see.  We looked down upon the arboles de fuego (fire trees, named for their red flowers) and the old guys hanging out on park benches near the statues of Cipitio and cartoon ducks.  We looked out to see the volcano, green trees and agricultural fields.  Between the green in the distance and the green grass below us on all four sides stood the buildings of the town.  "It seems small," we thought, "easy to navigate."  We made a plan to walk straight out from the town square and then back again, aiming for a different church in each direction.
San Vicente Volcano

After taking plenty of photos of the views in the distance, we trained our eyes once again on the park below us.  Old men on benches.  A few men playing checkers.  One man with a collection of cardboard.

As we descended the steps, our points of view changed, and suddenly we were back in the park and others were gazing down upon us.  "Buenos días. Buenos días," we greeted the men as we walked past them and the cartoon statues.

Cathedral of San Vicente
We crossed the street and started our journey ... here we come, San Vicente!

To be continued...
We saw many people.  We met several people.
We remember this man.
Men in the Town Square
Statues like these are common in many town squares...we
understand the presence of Cipitio, but what is with the ducks?

1 comment:

  1. very nice always your stories, Viva El Salvador the smallest country, with the biggest heart,

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