Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Adventure Continues To Leon, Nicaragua.....

Another long day here in Nicaragua that began at 6am in the city of Leon and ended with margaritas and new friends in Granada.  It was a cool 7 am yesterday when we left our apartment and made our way to the bus station.  We boarded a bus for Managua, an hour bus ride that would leave us at a rather crazy, busy bus station.  Before I really had time to look around we were herded like cattle onto another bus headed to Leon. The tiny van-like bus was better than the first way over crowded larger bus where we were smooshed by strange butts, boobs of sweaty Nicas standing in the aisles.  We exited the bus in yet another bus station where young men were literally in our faces trying to sell us tours of the city.  Once we escaped the vendors we found a taxi to take us to a nearby hotel to see if they had a room for the night. 

The cozy B&B called Paz de Luna was recommended to us by our friends Pat and Rich who stayed there in the past.  Since I'm rather picky I insisted on a private room with a private bath along with air conditioning as a way to escape the tropical heat.  The city of Leon is said to be even HOTTER than Granada, so a/c was not an option.  Our lovely room was located off an interior garden area for around $50 for the night, which included breakfast. We were asked to wait a few minutes while they gave the room a once over cleaning so we sat in the little restaurant. Since we'd been up since the crack of dawn I was hungry and ordered some fruit, yogurt and granola with coffee for a healthy late breakfast.  Clyde on the other hand opted for a piece of cake to go with his coffee as we waited for our room to be finished.

Our Hotel

Entrance To Hotel & Restaurant

Courtyard & Garden

A Fat Or Pregnant Cat

Fountain In The Court Yard

Leon is one of the oldest cities in Latin America and full of old buildings, churches and parks just waiting for tourists.  A city larger than Granada we made our way around by foot until we were drenched in sweat and tired.  Eventually we hailed down a taxi to take us to a cathedral and from there managed to find many of the other historical buildings.  We stopped into a museum of the revolution where a former soldier gave us a tour, all in Spanish of course.  He proudly told us about the history of his country and the war as we dripped in sweat inside the old building that lacked airflow.  But eventually we followed him to the roof of the old building where he lead us onto the old tin roof for a fantastic view of the city.  All I could think was how this would never happen in the US without a law suit.  The roof was creaky and didn't feel safe yet we followed the man to the edge of the roof to have a look around.

Old Churches In Leon

Leon Means Lion In Spanish.....Plenty Of Lions Around

Another Church

And More..........

A Hot, Tired Tourist Named Terry Sitting On The Corner

This Building Is Where Dictator Somoza Lived And Overthrown

Our Museum Tour Guide Who Took Part In The 1979 Uprising
 That Brought Democracy Back To Nicaragua

To The Upper Level Of The Old Mansion

Here We Are On The Old Roof

Old Tin Roof

Doesn't Look Too Safe?  Well It Didn't Feel Too Safe!

A Grand Old Stair Case 

After walking around all day it was time for a well needed cold shower and a rest back in our hotel.  Later that evening we had dinner at a nearby restaurant called Porky's were we chatted with two young men from Switzerland. A bottle of Ron de Cana, the local rum along with some cokes helped the food go down and the conversation flow smoothly. Today we woke up early as we decided to splurge for our trip back to Granada. Instead of taking two buses we opted to take the air conditioned shuttle from our hotel for a price of $30. During the three and a half hour trek we chatted with a young lady from Paris who was visiting Nicaragua. Also in the van were three young people from Australia who were backpacking through Latin America.

We made it back to Granada by afternoon and later met up with some fellow house sitters for drinks.  Four hours later we ended our conversation with them and stopped at yet another Nicaraguan Mexican restaurant for a cheap burrito.  For less than $4 we each enjoyed a chicken burrito as we chatted with other patrons of the tiny restaurant.  Two young men from England sat nearby telling us about their adventures as we told them about ours.

Granada is truly a mix of people from all over the world who are either living here, travelling through or visiting friends as we are. Time to end another long day of adventures with a cool shower and a dip in the pool here in Granada, Nicaragua.......along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE,_Nicaragua

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Party On Lake Nicaragua......And More

To beat the heat and enjoy some time chillin with our friends, we hopped on a bus that would take us to a party boat on the lake.  For just $10 per person we spent the day on a large party pontoon boat, complete with booze, food and music.  We floated the day away chatting with old friends and making new ones, arriving back on shore by four in the afternoon, tired for a day of too much fun.

Transportation to our Party Boat

Party Boat

View Of Volcano

Tiny Islands Called Isletas

Houses On Some Of The Isletas

Pat, Rich and Terry

Lunch is here
While floating and chatting to a Canadian woman about Panama a small boat pulled up to ours to deliver fresh tilapia for lunch. Excited and hungry we climbed back onto the boat to order lunch. But as soon as the fish was safely delivered aboard to the boat crew, the fisherman passed out drunk in the small boat. Everyone watched and laughed as the boat began to drift away from the larger one while people yelled trying to wake up the drunken fisherman.

The next day was spent roaming around the city of Granada taking in the sights and sounds.  Clyde and I boarded a horse drawn buggy for a one hour tour around the town. Our guide used his best English to tell us about the historic sights of the city. 

Party in the Park

Her Royal Coach Awaits

Next stop was a visit to Mombacho Cigar Factory for a tour.  Nicaragua is second in the world to Cuba for it's production of some of the finest cigars in the world.  While admittedly I have absolutely no interest in cigars, learning how they are made was rather fascinating. While the tour of the small factory was interesting the smell of tobacco and nicotine was overwhelming, especially inside the humidor and other small rooms. 

Sorting by color

Drying The Tobacco Leaves

An Employee Rolling A Cigar

Our Guide

Storage room

We popped into a small museum that featured pre-Colombian pottery and were given a private tour by its gringo owner named Geoff. The owner and his wife are both archaeologists from the states who have been living in Canada for many years. They have been coming here to Nicaragua for the past many years for digs and research. During one visit he was told about a local collection of pottery purchased by a rich gringo that had passed away.  To make a long story short Geoff and his wife ended up managing the museum and will soon be moving here to make it their own. What a wonderful opportunity for them to be able to follow their passion in retirement and also bring something so interesting to the community of Granada.

Cooking Pot later used as Burial Urn

Pre Colombian Pottery
Made Before Columbus Came To Central America

Today we took a bus ride to the famous Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve.  Basically a large lake set in the caldera of two extinct volcanos, we enjoyed another relaxing day of floating in the water.  Lake Apoyo is said to be over 23,000 years old so it's safe to assume that the volcanos are really extinct, at least they were today. This popular tourist attraction is home to a variety of animals and plant life with a nearby hostel, restaurant, bar and plenty of family entertainment.

Granada is home to many wannabe Mexican restaurants offering up their version of food. Tonight we had some burritos at Taco Stop as we dined outside people watching.  Just as we finished up our meals a young man approached us and pointed at our trays.  Apparently he was looking for food scraps and since he refused to leave we let him take them.  Immediately he sat down on a nearby step to rummage through our few scraps of food.  We left the table soon after and headed back to our apartment sad to think about what we had just experienced. Travel is both fascinating and eye opening as we explore the world one country at a time, learning about other cultures along the way.

While Granada is a lovely Colonial village full of tourists it's also home to many poor Nica's just trying to live their lives.  Yet what the Nica's lack in material things they make up for in friendliness, as they open their arms to tourists and foreigners alike who fall in love with their simple country.  Some of those foreigners like our friends Pat and Rich have decided to call this place home, enjoying the benefits of an early, more affordable retirement paving their own way.........along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

Life In Portugal....At A Snails Pace....

Yesterday was just another day in Portugal when my dear husband Clyde said he was going to run to the pharmacy for a few things. Time passed...