A lovely lie-in is followed by a wholesome breakfast and time to go shopping in San Jose. It doesn’t take us long to reach the centre square and from here the main shopping areas. I am surprised by how much I like this city. Although not very pretty to look at, it has a good vibe and an array of street traders and street art. I buy some souvenirs from the stalls that line the street; small items of jewellery made from cowrie shells. Anita and I venture into the market place, exploring the narrow streets, the smells, tastes and smiles of the Costa Ricans. Laden with our souvenirs we meet up with the others and head back for the hotel and our lunchtime departure for the airport.
Once at reception we are greeted with the alarmed faces of our students who inform us that our flight home is cancelled due to a volcanic ash cloud. Once we arrive at the airport, our worst fears are confirmed, there are no flights to London until after the weekend. Much haggling affords us rooms in an airport hotel where we hunker down for the next two days. It is rainy and chilly and there is little to do other than eat the disgusting free Denny’s American food and catch up with work. Apart from enjoying the pool and each other’s company, these extra days go slowly. Once our hearts and minds want home, the joys of airport hotels are difficult to behold. But they pass and eventually we are heading homewards. I feel privileged to have travelled and worked with this diverse team of students and colleagues, and will look back very fondly at this Costa Rican adventure.