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Colonial exploration in Nicaragua

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Coming over to Nicaragua was the first of many crazy border crossings, which have turned out to be fairly hectic affairs with people trying to rip us off left, right and bloody centre! Luckily a local Costa Rican American (possible drug smuggler) told us the 411...essentially just pay everyone off. The bus dumped us in the sweltering heat on the side of a road in Granada. For some reason, it was far hotter in Nicaragua than the muggy tropicalness of Costa Rica. The fact that our hostel dorm had no air con/fans/any kind of ventilation, meant that we spent the whole time feeling grossly clammy. As previously mentioned, there was the cutest, tiniest kitten at the hostel...still not too sure if it was a stray but Coops wanted to put it in her backpack and also feared that someone would tread on it in the night!!

Granada was the first of our colonial towns and was definitely an exciting change of scenery. Our first venture around town was filled with lots of photo opportunities of the beautiful buildings, every single house painted a different bright colour. The main square had horse drawn (cant really call them) carriages with some slightly sad looking horses, which made Bets feel bad. We also made ourselves want to cry by venturing into some of the lush hotels that surrounded the plaza. They had beautiful courtyards and swimming pools which we were close to jumping into with our clothes on! We got very excited when we found a cute cafe (with book shop on the side) and completely forgot that we werent supposed to be drinking tap water when we both ordered an iced coffee. Bets felt the consequences the next day...eek!! Endeavours to find the supermarket were slightly unsuccessful (as we made our way through the bussling, market street as darkness approached) so we were forced to eat out and were severely disappointed. We ended up in some American sports bar near to our hostel...the only redeeming factor was the fact that we were entertained by a drunken American couple but Coops food was essentially kfc and Bets had a "baguette" in a burger bun.

The next day we made our way (with the help of a friendly nun!) to a market in Masaya. Lots of handicrafts, souvenirs and some local tat! We allowed ourselves a few treats, both of us deliberating for ages on what colour hairband to get!! After a quick lunch from a barbeque in the main square we were pointed in all different directions to find a bus to Lago (lagoon) del Apoyo. We have found this a lot.....even though the locals are trying to be helpful, quite often they dont really know what theyre talking about!! This may have something to do with the language barrier! As usual we were thrown off the chicken bus at the top of the lake and had to walk downhill for about 45 minutes to reach it....when we got there we werent even sure we had the right place, because the beach was fairly questionable! However the view was stunning and the water crystal clear. Even though we had bikinis at the ready, we only managed a quick paddle and stopped for a drink, which Bets managed to through all over herself due to being zonked out from the heat and mugginess. The journey back was a nightmare as it was a sunday evening and the buses had stopped running...so we ended up forking out for a taxi (again!) Another extremely disappointing meal was had in the main square that night, where we thought theyd accidentally given us childrens portions. We havent managed to find any really tasty food as a lot seems to be fried, american stylee (The US influence is a lot more noticeable than we were expecting). Weve been trying to be "economical" by having endless ham sandwiches with crisps to liven it up a little...two weeks on and we didnt realise you could actually hate a piece of meat!!

We took a tour around the isletas (little islands) of the nearby lake with a fairly useless guide, who quite happily told us he doesnt speak much english....helpful! The islands are really cute..some tiny with a family living in a shack and others massive with wealthy nicaraguans owning their holiday homes here (the ex president Samosa had one!). The highlight, once again, was animal related as one of the islands creatively named monkey island was home to 4 monkeys who came right up to the boat as we approached and we were actually a little bit scared...do monkeys have rabies?!?

Then we went up to Leon, another impressive colonial town but much less restored. We stayed in one of the happening hostels, with some real traveller types! We befriended some of the many Germans that seem to be travelling here, through the use of the tiny communal kitchen. We decided that we could finally allow ourselves the luxury of a day of rest, in the form of sunbathing! Once again, wed been informed by some helpful locals (?!?) that the beach at Las Penitas was beautiful. After a long excited bus journey we arrived to find the beach completely deserted and the (kind of) grey sand frigging boiling! We set up camp only to be perved on by some local guys who came out of nowhere so decided to quickly move on and placed ourselves in front of a hostel for safety! (Mums...be proud). The waves were huge and rough but we were so hot and covered in sand that we had to brave them. Bets managed this with the well practiced trick of diving head on into the wave. Unfortunately Coops didnt know about this! She took two steps in and mild panic set in. When the wave hit her, her little pegs couldnt take the force and she got totally wiped out! This would of been ok...had it not been for the subsequent two other waves that then went over her head with Bets shouting from a distance "watch out!!!" She appeared after a full salt water nasal flush looking confused, disorientated and slightly traumatised. As a result...she is still picking sand out of her hair!!! It was hilarious though! The long anticipated icecream had to wait until we returned to town and we shotgunned the only 2 hammocks in the hostel to munch down on them....good times!! We cooked a slightly interesting version of a spanish tortilla...we really need to get to grips with cooking in hostels!

This finished off our adventures in Nicaragua and we were then going to be moving quickly on to Honduras....

  • Coming Up! The 3am wake up to get on a stinky chicken bus to the border (we use this term loosely!*

  • Lots of love from a currently rainy (so we are hiding in an internet cafe) Central America!!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 26, 2010 from Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
    from the travel blog: We are off to find the wizard!
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    O my goodness, not too much traumatising times I hope. ( I thought Samosas were Indian food!!!!)
    lots of love girliesxxxxx

    permalink written by  Linda Cooper on September 28, 2010

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