Day 10 – Leon, Managua, Masaya Volcano & National Park, Granada

25 Mar

Internet in the room meant I could catch up on everything, except blog typing. Chose a continental breakfast in the hotel so I could take some time to do this.

Back to the room to cool down before meeting up with Barry and Maxine to be their tour guide for the morning. We visited the museum of the revolution and met the fighter who showed us where he had been shot – unfortunately in the buttocks. We also climbed onto the corrugated iron roof for a view of seven volcanos in a row. Didn’t fall through, but health and safety doesn’t exist. Volcanos also not very visable.

Then it was on to the Cathedral, where a service was just starting – bikes, dogs, and a very photogenic ray of light all included.

Marched off to the museum of Ruben Dario, a famous poet come revolutionary. It was closed at 9:15am, despite the advertised opening hours of 8am clearly visible. Several shaking of gates and padlocks later, a guard appeared and grudgingly let us in. Wish he hadn’t.

On the way back to the hotel we took in a couple of extra churches, mostly to escape the heat. Had a quick shower, and met the tour leader in front off one of the murals, which she explained charted the history of Nicaragua from the pre Colombians, to the modern day, including the Spanish, Americans and the various revolutions along the way.

As we went around town, we were bothered by child and adult organised beggars – but were asked to ignore them as the money generally goes to adults for drinking.

Back at the hotel, we boarded a new bus – this was truly a coach, and meant that we could all get a seat to ourselves. Instantly, the group retreated to their own worlds. Think it was about 38°C outside.

As we drive off, Lou demonstrated some of the facial language used by the local Nicaraguans, to great hilarity.

We stopped off for some Quesillos – tortilla, cheese, picked onion and sour cream, together with as much onion and chilli sauce as you wanted. Definitely an acquired taste.

We stopped off at a local dogging site to view one of the volcanos across Lake Managua. ‘Twas very pretty, at least from the side we saw. Lou had to try and stop Susan from peeing in the bushes, I think.

We moved in through the capital, Managua and stooped at our now common place petrol station for some food. Most of them have seating areas and have food on sale for prices that would shame your local BP garage.

We also stopped off at the old cathedral shell, public archives, eternal flame and national museum. The beggars were everywhere, inviting one that have gifts and then wanted money – very clever.

The president has painted things pink, because he thinks it makes him softer and more electable. If only it was that easy!

Moving in to the volcano Masaya national park, we stopped to pick up some lava, and saw the visitor centre, which had a very interesting display that we had to unfortunately rush around.

The coach them drive to the top of the crater, and parked facing downhill – in case it needed to make a quick getaway. This is an ACTIVE volcano. Only allowed to spend 20 minutes on the top due to the sulphuric fumes. Annoying American teenager group present. They wonder why loud and brash does not endear them to the rest of the world? Nicaraguans don’t generally do health and safety, but even they had built a wall, to stop people falling in. A german tourist had recently fallen to his death. The Americans were climbing over the wall. Far be it from me to interfere.

Driving on, we entered Granada by 4:30pm and had time to check into the Alhambra overlooking the main square, before going on a brief city tour to orientate ourselves.

We met for a group meal tonight as it was Phil’s birthday. We had signed a card and a cake was provided for all. There was also a small local band in the local restaurant. “Happy Birthday” had a few more verses in Nicaragua – at one point, I thought it was one for each year (and Phil ain’t a young chap).

Lou’s painter friend also picked up the painting we had been carting about for the last ten days. Hoorah!

During dinner, we were also entertained by a man making maracas. David couldn’t get the names he wanted on them correctly spelt, and then kept on asking for more. HR people for you, eh! Maracas come in pairs, but he wanted each one separated. Think he somehow ended up with 6.

David fell sleep when he got back to the rocking chairs in the hotel, and we stole his maracas.

I headed to bed, as it will be another long day tomorrow, and I had three days blogs to write!

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