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Published: September 20th 2009
I am sorry for the delay in blog posts, but it was because I was having a great time and the internet services were expensive and slow.
When I left you last I was heading to the city of Leon. We spent little time here, but really enjoyed the street markets and cheap movie theaters. FYI dont see the movie GI Joe. We were awake bright and early on our first day here by explosions over our hostel/city. We thought maybe someone was invading the city and we were kind of on edge, but it turns out we showed up for the first day of a month long festival. We spent one more day here and were awoken again at 5 am to a mariachi band playing directly outside our hostel door. They were celebrating the hostel owner's daughter's 15th birthday. We had enough of these early wake up calls so we jumped on a bus and went to the beach for some waves, sunsets, relaxation, and lots of fried fish.
Las Penitas, Nicaragua is a dusty road beach village not known for its surfing, but rather for swinging in hammocks and swimming in the 80 degree ocean. It
would have been and incredible few days if the sand flies had not come out to say hello. Think of an almost invisible mosquito with a small bite that itches like no other and lasts for days. They were not horrible, but unpleasant enough to be noticed. We did not last long here because we felt like we had to keep moving and so off we went back to Leon for another night before our continued march north into the coffee region of Nicaragua.
We arrived in the mountain town of Matagalpa and were relieved to have some cooler weather and a small TV in our hotel room. With only a little time to spare we got moving quickly. We spent one day searching for the citys best coffee which we found, along with some sand flies and mosquitos and then we found some information to tour an organic chocolate factory and another cloud forest region which housed a huge coffee plantation. El Castillo de Cacao, the chocolate company, turned out to be a small factory operation run by Europeans in a backyard castle type building. Natalie and I had a private tour and got to taste and purchase
view from our hotel
some amazing chocolate. When our small supply ran out all we could think of was our failed opportunity to buy more chocolate when we had the chance. In the afternoon on this same day we toured Selva Negra and enjoyed nice walks with great views of coffee plants. It turns out this place was operated by some Germans. Apparently Nicaraguans dont run many of the nice places their country has to offer, or at least it seems to be that way sometimes. It was all organic farming including the dairy farm that was run there as well. For a snack we had some good coffee and amazing fresh, warm milk. Anyway, it was a great afternoon of exercise, but we were happy to lounge back in our hotel room when all was said and done. With so much to see and such little time, we had to get on with our travels.
We went north to Esteli where we arrived to a town that seemed dead because it was a sunday afternoon. We were quite upset and only spent the day here before jumping the border to a new country. This one troubled by political turmoil and a military
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