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Published: June 24th 2017
blablablubNicaragua in one word: HOT – but let’s start the beginning: I crossed the border with Karlheinz and his overlander. How much harder could it be, to bring a vehicle across the border? I should receive the answer very soon. 1st
Karlheinz could not find a document from the prior crossing „NO, you cannot leave the country without this document“… then he found it at the bottom of his back in a… hmm… rough shape. 2nd
„THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!! IT IS WET“ Well, it was wet but all necessary information was still available. Could the Honduran bureaucracy and nitpicking be worse than the German? I thought this is impossible. I dried the document (there was more than enough sun) and discussed a little and – 3h later they FINALLY let us pass. Nevertheless, I would not reach my final destination Somoto Canyon today.
The Northern part of Nicaragua was very dry – I could hardly find a green leave on the trees and I was hot, VERY HOT. In the evening we explored the canyon, met horses and cows on the way, took an incredible refreshing bath in the low river and watched the sunset high above the canyon. Somoto
Cañon Tours offered us accommodation, which turned out to be a very bad decision, as they forgot to mention that the nice bathroom next door didn’t belong to the room. Ours was the shithole in the backyard. If you try to use that, some serious disease would be included in the price!
„Hidden in a cat’s eye of a valley, Jinotega, the 'City of Mists,' is enclosed on all sides by mountains dappled in cloud forest“ (Lonely Planet) – this sounds really promising, doesn’t it? So the decision for the next short stopover was made. However, I did not take into consideration that getting there would become a total disaster. From Estelí there was no bus for the next 6h and then it would still take 5h to Jinotega. Sweating, frustrated and close to tears I tried to hitchhike but gave up because no car stopped during 1h. I changed the plan, called Mitch and Justin and took the next bus to León. 10h later I had seen sufficient chicken busses for one day and finally arrived. In León I found the two with a cold beer in the pool. They started 4h later and arrived 2h earlier. One
thing is certain – for the next trip I buy a motorbike!
León is a beautiful colonial city with awesome street food, but thanks to the invasive Spanish, we’ve seen already plenty of these on the way down – so our main point of interest was the volcano boarding at Cerro Negro. Quickly, we climbed the outstanding black hill and got rewarded with a phenomenal view. Fighting the wind, we put on our protection gear to survive the pitilessly volcanic rocks and one by one, raced down the volcano! NUTS! Again, again, AGAIN? Who cares about the 50min hike up! Some crazy people even set speed world records driving down with a bike. That night, the people of León introduced us to their elixir of (night) life – Flor de Caña. But could we drink it like the locals? One shot after the other... there was no way of standing that the whole night.
Then it was time to visit Mike and Patty, family friends of Mitch, who invited us to Montecristo, close to the little beach and surf village, El Transito. Mitch picked me up at the main road and after 16km gravel road we arrived at
an impressive gate and a paved road into a different world. The property was to be a compound of houses, mostly investment properties, but after sour negotiations and poor developers the project has been stalled for years and looked like a cemetery of beautiful houses, started but never finished. However, at the end of that road we arrived at one of the lucky objects, the home of Mike and Patty.
We had an amazing Semana Santa with the two and their Nicaraguan friends, Patty and I got our computers fixed in the burning heat of Managua (41°C), with the help of horseman Rudi I tamed the wild horses of the property and explored the hidden trails and we had the best fish fingers at Janios restaurant Olas Clandestinas. With the never ending chicken bus journeys in my mind, I even learned how to ride a motorbike (they said I’m a natural :D ). After learning that, I immediately volunteered for EVERY shopping trip by bike into El Transito. This is so much fun!
We had a wonderful time with the two and their house full of animals (Patty is breeding Chihuahuas and saving cats from being homeless), enjoying
the time at the pool, drinking plenty of the elixir of life and tasted various times Mikes culinary skills. We stayed 10 days and probably wouldn’t have left without the visa limit of 90 days (since Guatemala).
In Masaya I visited Ervin and his daughter Vasny. I met them last year at the “Laguna de Apoyo” – he offered us to stay at his house where we met the whole family and had a typical Nicaraguan day, sitting in the yard, talking J. Kati and I designed Vasny’s cast with rainbows and unicorns and together we visited Volcano Masaya, where we pushed the car the last meters to the top (it did not make it with our heavy butts inside). At the crater, it was like looking into the heart of the earth, glowing lava flowing and bubbling.
After a short stop in the very crowded colonial city center of Granada and a relaxing day at the “Laguna de Apoyo” I took the bus, the ferry and an island shuttle to Merida (Ometepe). While I was waiting for Gab to pick me up, I got a sweet deal for a motorbike – a Yamaha XT 125, the baby
Sunset at Ometepe.
With Laura, looking at Volcán Concepción.
version of Justin’s (US 30$ for 1 1/2h days). Gab transported my giant backpack to the hostel and I practiced my skills on the gravel road to the Hacienca Merida.
There, we met our favorite Brits, Laura and Andy with truck Sumo and enjoyed way to much Flor de Caña. It is never a “good” ending with these folks! Even Sumo had such hangover the next day that we had to unify our forces to push start him.
To use my sweet new bike, Justin and I drove 100km around the two volcanos. This is how I learned driving the motorbike the hard way – dirt and rocks and stones and puddles and streams and dogs and chicken and horses and cows aand even a 1m wide and 6m long pedestrian bridge – until we finally got to a paved road. At the end of the day I was still happy to give the bike back. My a** hurt!!
Justin was not that lucky the next day, nearly kissed a cow and was forced to keep his foot calm for a while. Therefore, Mitch and I climbed volcano #6, Volcano Madera on our own. It was a
decent hike, over and under roots and through thick cloud forest. Once again I’ve been lucky – after 1h the clouds disappeared and got an awesome view on Volcano Concepción. Last year at this time I sat on the other one, looking at Madera.
These days I stayed at Hacienda Merida, on the west side of the Madera Island. We got blessed with stunning sunsets and a delicious curry sauce. However, another reason to stay there is the brilliant trash recycling idea to build classrooms. I will write another short blog about this project, which deserves lots of attention.
At the end, I reached the visa limit and had to leave. Nicaragua – it was again, a pleasure to visit you! One day I will be back to see you in green, after the rainy season.
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