Travel Day to Leon

Published: June 23rd 2017
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Geo: 12.43, -86.89

Our ambitions for this trip were much greater than our actual ability to see everything we intended. Annemarie and I both have a great love for waterfalls and were really looking forward to visiting a popular one on the other side of the island. In order to make this happen, we were going to have to plan things down to the minute because we wanted to be in the city of Leon by 6 in the evening to book our grand finale activity. The particular outfit we wanted to go with would not take online reservations and closed at 6. Unfortunately, in a Central American country, or any Latin country I have visited for that matter, you really can't have both the layed back culture, and the ability to plan down to the minute. With that said, we were still going to try. We arranged to rent an Enduro style dirt bike to make the quick ride across the island and part way up the trail to the waterfall. This would shave some needed time off the trip. The plan was to then return, catch a taxi to the ferry that leaves around noon, from there, another taxi to the bus station, then the bus to wherever we had to go to get to Leon. The plan was in motion.Our new travel friends had a change of plans themselves and decided after hearing our stories of the hike up the volcano, they probably should get in better shape before taking on that challenge. They decided to head out this morning. The dirt bike was delivered and we were just about to go when it started raining. Now we are experienced at this type of travel, so we were prepared with rain gear on hand, however, we also know what a hike up a mountain in the rain to see the waterfall would mean. We would most likely be a wet and muddy mess as we returned and tried to navigate our way the rest of the day to Leon. I looked at Annemarie with a plea in my eyes and asked if we could forego the waterfall and join our travel friends to the mainland. After the hike in the water yesterday, as well as knowing I would be driving the dirt bike through the rain, I really was not looking forward to traveling in that condition all day. Although disappointed, we agreed this must be a sign we were not meant to go on that particular excursion this time. The individual Louie who rented the dirt bike to us was also giving the group a ride to the ferry. We quickly changed the plans with him and gave him a little token for his troubles. I got to drive the dirt bike to his house where he picked me up and our group was off. Fortunately for us, we were on the luxury vehicle ferry on the way back. A much nicer, and safer, ride. We didn't even see water washing on board. Once at the ferry station, an interesting thing happened, that you don't even fully comprehend until you look back on it later. Try to picture this. We exit the ferry and there are various taxi drivers, and vendors selling different things and all vying for our attention. Standing nearby was this little old lady, probably around 80, or at least looking the age, 5 feet tall, and maybe 100 pounds, dark skinned and with at least a majority of indiginous blood line. She appeared tough in her age, but frail at the same time, and was simply dressed. Deep wrinkles covered her face. We made eye contact and she asked in spanish if I wanted to buy some coffee. I declined and thanked her. At that point, she takes my hand, to my surprise. Now at this point, I have no idea what is about to happen, only that I had no feeling of being in danger. So I allow my hand to be taken by this intriguing lady who proceeds to go through every hand shake you have ever learned or see done. The whole time she maintains a straight face as a grin is slowly taking over my face and with us thumb to thumb she ends the contact with a little flick of the hand. I was somewhat dumbfounded as we walked away and think I made a comment to the extent of "did anyone just see what happened?" Sometimes little obscure events can be such a memorable experience. Our rasta friend Brad, who, by the way has a radio show Uptown Sound with Bradley Brown in Costa Rica heads off on his way home to Costa Rica. Annemarie, myself, and our two other travel friends head to the bus station. Once there, we load our bags on board and wander the market until departure time. The bus heads out and about an hour or so later arrives in Granada.
At this point, we say our goodbyes as we head in different directions. Annemarie and I make a tactical decision at this point and decide to hire a taxi to take us the rest of the way to Leon, about 2 hours away. That was an interesting ride, during which I tried to sleep to avoid the great fear of dying I had every time I opened my eyes. Traffic regulations are virtually never followed, so the rides can be a bit unnerving. The driver was a little lost in Leon, but eventually dropped us at our destination, Quetzal Tours. We signed up for our finale excursion for the next day, and went to a nearby hostel to drop off our bags.
Leon is another old colonial town and they are trying to have the town officially registered as the city of churches due to the number of historic cathedrals. We wondered the streets and enjoyed the town square as the locals were preparing for a political celebration for the Sandinista party.
Later that evening, as a sort of impromptu date, we decided to enjoy a more upscale dinner in the city. What a meal. We started with the best stuffed jalapenos i have ever had. We then ordered a dinner for 2, consisting of a large platter of sausage, chicken, pork, and beef, 2 potatoes, fried plantains, tortillas, and of course beans, coupled with a few Cervezas, and we were in heaven. We topped it off with a chocolate cake and left that restaurant two happy stuffed gringos. Amazingly, this was all just under $30 total. We returned to our hostel and completed another wonderful day in Nicaragua.


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