Actually, I just wanted to get out of the city and take a long, nice drive and I thought having that as an excuse sounded exotic and extra-ordinary. So off I went just as the sun was starting to shine.
Once on the road, just hearing the car engine efficiently working at high speed with the tires hugging the pavement was enough to make me feel excited for the day. With the early morning sunshine in my face and the seemingly endless view of the expressway extending in front of me, I knew it was going to be an enjoyable trip. And I was right!
The 2-hour drive (including a quick pit stop) was just what I needed. Plantations and the wide expanse of green on both sides of the road were enough to make my city-weary soul feel rejuvenated.
When I felt my ears pop because of the change of altitude (the volcano is above sea – level), I knew the city was already far behind me and so were my worries. So I drove with my windows rolled down to let the cool air blow my hair and chill my cheeks. I felt so free!
I drove through fog and sunshine along the two-lane winding roads of this tiny place where the volcano is the main attraction and enjoyed every minute of it. I did not see the volcano just yet because of the thick fog but I figured I had all morning to wait for the sun to claim its place for the day.
By lunchtime and after a hearty meal of mushroom burger (the burger patties are cooked with cultured mushrooms and topped with a special egg omelet that tastes so good!) and buying plants and flowers from the roadside shops, I was already invigorated. A trip to the nearby market to buy fruits and vegetables was part of the route as well so that by early afternoon, my car was full of the earth’s bounty and I felt renewed.
By the time my car was making its way down the road, I realized, I haven’t really stopped long enough to see the volcano! That would be an insult to the town if I do not even take a moment to enjoy its number 1 crowd-drawer. So before I hit the town’s main road that would take me back to the city, I parked my car at the roadside and chose a good spot to see and enjoy the main event.
And there it was, as glorious and as breathtaking since the last time I saw it. The small crater jutting out of the lake that formed within a larger crater. I’ve seen it a dozen times but the sight still takes my breath away. I am still awed by its beauty and magnificence and it never fails to give me goose bumps.
After a good number of shots from my camera and saying a soft "I'll see you again." to the natural wonder, I hoped back into my car and drove into the freeway en route to the metropolis. With dusk slowly claiming the skies and my car full of great finds, I drove at the minimum speed and no longer in a hurry. For me, the trip always seemed to be shorter when I go home from an adventure.
As I entered my garage and turned off the engine, I told myself: Back to reality. I couldn’t help but smile though. I figured I may be back in the busy city, but I have another rich and wonderful experience tucked in my memory bank for me to reminisce during those dreary days.
And besides, I saw a volcano today! Who could top that?
*photo by Summer 10-31-05