A Travellerspoint blog

March 2015

Warmth and Volcanos Here I Come!

A Real spring break

sunny 37 °F

Choosing a Spring Break destination gets harder every year since Mike's list of unseen countries gets smaller every year. After searching through airfares, we had narrowed it down to Serbia, Bosnia or Nicaragua. Nicaragua had the upside of not losing a day both ways for the trans-Atlantic flight so Nicaragua won out. Plus, it's WARM there! Both Mike and I are done with winter and a warm few days in Central America sounded like just the ticket to lift those winter blues.

I'm hoping the wifi is more readily available in Nicaragua than it was in Germany. (Go figure, one of the most industrialized countries hasn't figured out reliable wifi). I'll post pictures and thoughts along the way.

Posted by Jengt 13:44 Archived in USA Tagged volcano sprin_break Comments (0)

Better Hot than Never

sunny 95 °F

I knew it was going to be hot. Really, I did. In fact, that was one of the pluses for going to Nicaragua.

We got into Managua, Nicaragua around 1:30am Saturday morning after a one hour delay
leaving Ft. Lauderdale. Thankfully, we planned ahead and asked for a driver to pick us up for the 50 minute drive to Granada. We talked with the hotel rep on the way in about our plans and what we wanted to see in the three days we'd be in Granada. We figured we'd take the first part of Sunday to get our bearings and check out some sites in the city. From there, we'd finalize the rest of our time here.

I was repeatedly awakened to the sound of what seemed to be firecrackers off and on from just before dawn until we finally rolled out of bed around 8:30. It turns out, that since it's Palm Sunday, the churches hold processions through town and set off a noisemaker as they turn a corner. Mystery solved.

Granada is a very walkable city. We got a map and started out to see what we could. There are several churches we wanted to see. The first is the Convento San Francisco. Formerly a convent which now houses a museum. As we approached, we noticed that Mass was still in session. It was an interesting background as we walked around the grounds looking at the ancient pottery and stone sculptures from Zapatera Island dating back as far as 800AD.

Statue from Zapatera Island

The next couple of churches on the list were shut up tight by the time we got there. Apparently, even on Palm Sunday, churches close at noon. We still managed to get some lovely photos of the exteriors. However, one item we missed out on is climbing the bell tower of the Iglesia de La Merced church. It's supposed to have the best views of the city and surrounding area. Oh well, maybe another day. The last stop for our morning was Mi Museo, a privately owned museum of ceramics dating back to 2000 BC.

Iglesia De La Merced

Iglesia de Xalteva

Pottery in Mi Museo

The temps are climbing steadily now. It's well over 90 and the hottest part of the day is yet to come. We decided to take a break and go back to the hotel to cool off and figure out what we were doing that afternoon. We decided on a boat tour around a group of little islands off the coast of Granada in Lake Nicaragua. It was nice to ride along with a breeze checking out the many small privately owned islands. On one was a former Spanish fort and another was inhabited by spider monkeys. The homes on some of these islands are quite stunning. I think I know where I want to live after I retire. HA!

Las Isletas

View of Volcan Mombacho from Castillo San Pedro

Spider Monkey

Tomorrow, we're off to Volcan Masaya for hiking and zip-lining in the canopy. For now, I think I'll sit here on the patio and enjoy a cool drink and a cool breeze.

My retirement home

Heading back to shore

Posted by Jengt 20:15 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged churches islands monkey Comments (0)

Volcanos and lakes

... and a procession to round out the day.

sunny 92 °F

It was another beautiful and warm day in Granada. I promise to come back and write something witty about our day but for now, you get pictures...

Volcan Masaya

Volcan Masaya

Me, in front of Lago de Apoyo

lagoona de Apoyo

Procession helm the Catherdral

Posted by Jengt 20:50 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

"Flying" around

sunny 95 °F

I was looking forward to today, our last in Granada. We had planned on hiking on Volcan Mombacho in the morning and then zip lining after.

Our driver showed up at 7:45 to take us to the Volcan Mombacho starting point. From there, we piled in a large transport truck with seats for 25 or so people. We climbed up the side of the mountain on roads which are steeper than a lot of roller coaster hills I've been on. It was warm at the bottom but chilly at the top. As we all disembarked from the truck, most folks, me included, donned our jackets for our hikes.

Extinct crater on Volcan Mombacho

At the top Mike and I were given a guide for our 2 1/2 kilometer hike around the top of the mountain. At around 1,200 meters the top of the mountain is a cloud forest. There were ferns, vermiliads and other interesting plants along the path. Our guide pointed out the fumaroles (steam vents for the volcano) and the extinct craters we were hiking around. There were excellent views of Granada and the surrounding countryside - including Lake Nicaragua. By the time we finished, my legs were a little sore but not horribly so.

View of Lake Nicaragua from Volcan Mombacho

Part of our hike


After our ride back down the mountain, our driver dropped us off for our canopy tour on a coffee plantation at the foot of the mountain. I have previously zip lined but Mike hadn't. I was interested to see what he thought of it.

I had a blast! It was just Mike and I which made it easier for the guides to show us a few tricks. When I zip lined in Costa Rica I was part of a large group. The guides were busy making sure everyone got on the lines so they didn't have time for anything extra. Here, our guide even took our cameras and took photos for us! I'll definitely look back on those photos and smile, nearly as much as I did while flying 'Super Girl'!

Flying upside down on the zip line

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to try to hit up a couple of sites we couldn't see earlier in the week. We were hoping to climb the bell tour of one of the churches that was closed on Sunday. The doors were open this time but the caretaker was nowhere to be seen to allow us to climb the stairs. We're now 0 for 2 on this site.

After stopping by a tour company to get some answers on our next destination, we headed back to the hotel to cool off and rest for a little bit. We were drawing to the end of our time in Granada. We ended the evening with dinner and a couple of beers on the Main Street where restaurants have tables set out and there is music playing everywhere.

All in all, a good day. Now for bed before heading off to our next stop and some Volcano Boarding!

Posted by Jengt 21:56 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (1)

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