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Published: September 6th 2008
Hello everyone!! We´re both still in one piece after 8 days of our group Volcano trail trip! It was difficult getting used to travelling in a group after having three weeks of going it alone, and we were a little anxious as to who we would be travelling with and whether we would all get along! However, everyone is really great - there are a lot of Brits, two Canadians, one Aussie and three crazy Irish boys partial to ´a little´ Nicaraguan rum... so a good mixture. We seem to have got the nickname of Team America which is slightly bizarre, since Albert is the only one, but everyone keeps assuming that we´re a big group of Americans - Albert doesn´t mind, but everyone else does!
We picked up the group in Antigua, and as we arrived in the joining hotel we wondered why we hadn´t chosen group travel for the entire 5 months, as our massive hotel room came with it´s own hot tub!! (we´ve since found out that GAP adventures lull you into a false sense of security as the hotels go downhill from there...but we´ll get onto that later...) We travelled through the border to Honduras on
the first day and onto Copan - a town with another Mayan Ruins site, similar to Tikal, and after one night (and me becoming known as ´the screamer´ after a massive lizard fell from the ceiling during a group dinner and landed on my menu as I was reading it...!!) we moved onto a big travel day taking us up to the Carribbean coast and an area off of Honduras known as the Bay Islands.
We caught a (very rough) ferry across to Utila, the smaller of the Islands for a three night stay that included horseback riding, during which I (Amy) experienced two of the worst experiences of my life - 1. Having a tarantula land on my arm as we trekked on horseback through the trees (Albert told me to stop screaming in case I scared the horses!!!) (but all is well now although i still keep dreaming of it...)and 2. gaining another 50 mosquito bites, but this time on my thighs and bum as they managed to bite through my trousers - see pics. This tour also included crawling through pitch-black caves, that at certain points had a height of only 3 feet - our route
was only candlelit as we went along... Albert bravely jumped (in the dark) into a bottomless pool of water in the middle of the cave! More snorkelling again in Utila which was fun, but couldn´t live up to Belizean standards.. We did stay in a beautiful jungle lodge on the island, and had a lovely bbq poolside on the last night. However, Albert and I both thought Utila was a bit of a strange place - full of Brits and Americans without a real identity of its own - we were definitely ready to move on, but had two very long travel days ahead of us before reaching Granada!
We were given an overnight stop in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, and we took a trip back to real life as we finally managed to see Batman! With popcorn - Yay! And naughtily had dinner in a TGI Fridays - a break from the local cuisine but amazing nonetheless...
And now in Granada - capital of our 4th country, Nicaragua. There is definitely not as many tourists here, or exciting things to do, but we both really like it here, and appreciate the rawness of this colonial city.
The people here are so friendly, and you cannot help but feel a sense of pity and sadness for the Nicaraguans. They have a 65% unemployment rate, and daily wages are a few bucks at most, but they are such lovely , welcoming people, we could easily stay here a little longer. We went on a city tour yesterday, and kayaked through the Isletas on the lake this morning. We even tried our hands (or feet) at salsa dancing last night after a few Flor de Cana´s- see pics! The low point of Granada is defintely our hotel... it´s tiny, smells of drains and there seems to be water only when the faucet feels like giving us some...We are excited about moving onto Ometepe tomorrow- an island within Lake Nicaragua - the 9th largest lake in the world, and we will bring you more stories from there and Costa Rica next week!
Just so you all know, the transport is very good so do not worry about us - most of the time we get private vans to take us around, although we will experience our first chicken bus tomorrow (big, old American yellow schoolbuses that have been driven
down from the States and are used as local transport!) so will let you know how that goes! We miss you all and love you all, and we are having the best time ever...we just wish you could be here sharing it with us.
With love and hugs
A and A xxxxx
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