Thursday, October 9, 2008

Matagalpa to Granada

This has been the longest day! Of course the howler monkeys woke me during the night but it was the geese that really kept me up. (HONK HONK HONK)

We left after breakfast, today joined by a guide, Fredder. He was great loves his country and full of facts. We drove to the National Park Masaya Volcano (this time the only interruption on the road was waiting for a cow to decide he would move out of the way). We drove to the edge where you have to back into the parking spaces. It is an active volcano and just in case they want an easy exit. We climbed the steps to a cross put there centuries ago by a priest who believed the volcano was the devils home.

Then we drove to the marketplace where local artisians sell their crafts. We walked through quickly and had lunch. Then we drove to Mombacho Volcano Reserve. Oh but we stopped en route to watch a man making clay pots in his home.
We drove up the steepest road I think in the country. Our driver Lino is fantastic. We did a 2 hour hike in 1 hour and then drove back down.

Next we went to Granada where we toured some of the 365 islands via a boat. We saw monkeys! And lots of birds including the national bird of Nicaragua. It is a mot mot of some kind but I forget the name now.

After we went to the city of Granada and I checked into my hotel. It's directly across from the Cathedral and it is really nice. Dropped my bag and left though for a quick mini city tour. We ended with a climb to the bell tower of the old cathedral which meant climbing the tiny steps on the spiral staircase (Kerry, it was like the duomo).

Apparently there was a battle between Granada and Leon - the other Colonial city - for a long time. They fought but now they are at peace except for baseball. They are huge rivals and last year both teams made it to the final. They had to play in a nuetral place of Managua to keep it fair. Granada won so they are very proud.

So now I'm showered in my room and meeting Andrea in a few minutes for a site inspection of another hotel and then dinner. Phew!

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