Colonial cities and hammock sprees!
Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
28Trip End Mar 16, 2010
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Where I stayed
Granada is a very flat city. Due to various volcano eruptions and earthquakes a lot of Central American towns and cities consist of mostly one or two storey buildings, very squat and square. The highest point overlooking Granada was at a church down the road from our hostel called La Merced just 2 blocks down from the main square. The bell tower provided a lovely view over the city at sunset and the dollar we paid to climb the stairs was well worth it. Apparently the money goes towards the refurbishment of the church.
Nicaragua is common for two things: Pharmacies and Rocking Chairs
Anyway, back to Granada. We spent most of our first day walking around the city, hanging out in the Parque Central, checking out the child buskers and all the horse carts offering tourist rides
That night we hit the rum again, albeit a very cheap and nasty variety in the hostel before heading out. There we chatted to various other travellers, some we had met along the way in other parts of Central America and some new. We also swapped a few horror stories and one in particular was very chilling especially for me and my snake phobia...
This girl that we were talking to was telling us about a roomate of hers at uni, who had a friend whose family collected snakes back in England. Apparently they had quite a variety and used to let the snakes roam around the house. They also used to (freakishly!) let some of the bigger snakes eg pythons and such, sleep at the foot of their beds at night! Anyway, the snake that this girl normally had at the foot of her bed suddenly stopped eating and at night the girl would wake up and find the snake lying right next to her, straight as a ruler. She thought this behaviour was a bit odd and was also concerned about the lack of eating so took the snake to the vet. The vet was not very informative about snakes and said that he would put in some calls to reptile specialists and snake specialists and come back to her about it
One early morning, probably around 5am, the phone rang and it was the Vet. He said that the snake must be put in a secure area immediately and not let out. Apparently the snake was starving itself and by lying up against her was measuring itself so that it could eat her!!!!!!! By being straight as a ruler it was seeing if it could swallow her. This story really gave me goosebumps and there were some screams when the ending came out. Ew.
After all our horror story swapping we decided it was time to hit the town. Unfortunately the usual group thing occurred and we all faffed around for way too long before actually heading out, thus leaving us with very limited options on places that were 1) open and 2) were not charging exhorbitant entrance fees. This left us with Cafe Nuit, a bar around the corner from our hostel that had live music on Friday and Saturday nights playing salsa music and a largely Nicaraguan crowd. We got some beers and settled in to watch the swinging hips and flying feet of the salsa dancers, deftly avoiding actually having to do any dancing ourselves! One particular man took a liking to Alan and starting putting his hand on his crotch and making some suggestive comments to him
We had decided to go to Lagono Apoyo the following day and surprise surprise, we woke to another beautiful sunny but terribly hot day. Apparently Lagono Apoyo has depths reaching over 200m in the middle, being a lagoon formed in a volcanic crater. A short hop skip and jump on the chicken buses and we were lazing in extremely warm waters, surrounded by beautiful scenery. That day though, none of us wanted to do anything more strenous than the odd lazy swim with perhaps a bit of floating on the water and reading our books on the beach. We had met a fellow South African in our hostel the day before, an Afrikaans guy called Phillip who was travelling for six months through the States and Central and South America. I think he was relieved that he could speak Afrikaans with us and spent the day at the lagoon regaling us about how he has run the Comrades Marathon 14 times! Amazing achievement! He also managed to flag down a 4x4 vehicle to take us back to Leon for free that afternoon. The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, watching a very weird movie with Jon Cusack and generally just chilling in our new hostel/hotel, Kulala Lodge, right next door to where Jules and Lyndsey were staying at the Bearded Monkey.
Monday we spent the morning going to the supermarket, La Colonia, to pick up some groceries and first aid replacements after our volcano expeditions had wiped out the supplies
We met up with Jules and Lyndsey for a refreshing drink under the trees in the Parque Central. Al and I shared an amazing juice blend of fresh orange and melon juice, and had a laugh with the little kids selling baskets filled with little hair clips and combs and hairbands. They are such cheeky little things, but always in high spirits. After our relaxing half hour Al and I left Jules and Lyndsey to nurse their hangovers from another rum filled evening and walked through Plaza Independencia and on to the Convent San Francisco. It used to be a convent back in the day, but is now an interesting museum showcasing local art from various decades and also a photo history of Leon dating back to the 1920´s through to the ´60s. My how things have changed since! I also got to relax in a nice Nicaraguan rocking chair for a little while, trying desperately to escape the humid heat beating down on us.
We had decided to check out the next day and split the group up for a little while. Jules and Lyndsey were heading to the Pacific Coast for a few days to chill on the beach. Al and I wanted to head to Masaya to look at purchasing some hammocks for this home that we have still not purchased
After picking up our hammock the next morning, we headed out of town to the Pueblos Blancos, a collection of little towns known by the name due to their white houss, about 40 mins away
We decided to head back to Masaya a while later to get some food and to escape the heat, which had now become unbearable. Alan was also not well with a bad stomach and we spent the rest of our afternoon lazing in our room finishing off our respective books. A nice relaxing few hours spent together.
The next day we headed to the Masaya National Park, but that adventure has already been told, albeit not in a good way.
* Note, the next day was the day got robbed, so there are no photos for Masaya or the Pueblos Blancos on the blog as they were unfortunately on the camera that got stolen.