After a break from the road during our house sitting gig in Leon, Nicaragua we were ready to start moving again. We packed up the dogs and headed for some new scenery. Our first stop was the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua. This is a beautiful, but touristy city filled with history. City camping can be tricky. We found ourselves camped at the Red Cross parking lot with two other traveling friends. It was the perfect location to explore the city, in exchange for a small donation. We visited a museum to learn about local history. There was a beautiful displays about the unique historical doors of Granada. Also a replica of a typical Nicaraguan family room and a discussion about typical behavior of sidewalk sitting. Which we observed MANY times during our time in Nicaragua.
The museum gift shop featured an amazing mobile of colorful, carved wooden birds. This was huge and striking. If only I had a room that was large enough to house this beautiful piece. Also in the museum were displays on some of the rock carvings found in this region of the country and an interesting depiction of religious history and related art pieces. The life-sized Jesus sculpture is mounted on a huge wooden platform with rails along each side. It is designed to be carried by 12 men during a Holy Week parade. (see post about Holy Week just prior to this post and also a year ago in Guanajuato, Mexico, click here )
And during our walk around the town we even found Tony The Tiger’s Nicaraguan cousin At night, while strolling the city park we encountered this awesome toy vendor. He seemed to have all the entertainment needs covered. It was fun to travel with our friends and explore to a city with them. We will keep traveling together as we wrap up our time in Nicaragua. We took the long and winding road down into the crater of Laguna Apoyo. This lake fills a gigantic volcanic crater with a bottomless pool of water. We found a campsite squeezed in between two VERY BUSY lakefront restaurants. The three rigs fit nicely and we had two nights of terrific people-watching while listening to booming reggaeton music from both sides. All that fun wore the dogs out and they spent some serious time snuggling on the bed together.
It is good that they got some rest, because our next destination required quite a bit of planning and preparation to reach. We were going to put the truck camper on a ferry to Ometepe Island. This unique island was created by two volcanoes emerging from the earth in the middle of a huge lake. There is now a land mass between the two volcanic peaks, and a lakefront shoreling that holds many villages, towns and opportunities to explore. This part of our adventure began with observing some rather large waves, and then loading our truck camper on a huge ferry, along with our friends.
Our campsites were fun and unique as we drove around the island and explored the various communities there. We enjoyed time with our traveling friends.
Some of the highlights of Ometepe Island included a hike to a lovely waterfall, examining some rock carvings collected from various locations on the island and relaxing on the shoreline at different lakefront campsites.
The view from our back door at one campsite was green, floral and lush. And the typical busy day of driving down the road included a crowd as shown in this photo.
One of the oldest churches on the island was an interesting stop. Because it was near Holy Week, the church was decorated as shown in this video.
And in the store-room of the church we found this wonderful, old wooden display box. It was over 10 feet tall, and probably contained a valuable piece of religious art at some time. Now relegated to a dusty store-room! On a nearby wall we noticed a stain coming out from behind a piece of religious art (one of the stations of the cross). As we looked closer we realized that we could see behind the artwork and the staining was from the bats that live back there! We could hear them squeeking as they slept through the bat-night.
Following our friends down bumpy dirt roads and exploring new places was a lot of fun, but never without some sort of incident. Here is a brief video of a short section of the bumpy road. And then a photo of the examination of a broken shock mount.
Ometepe Island offered us some great adventures, beautiful sunsets and wonderful memories. But the time has come for us to exit Nicaragua. We ferried back to land and drove ourselves to a campsite near the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border. This campsite offered an amazing view of Ometepe in the background. And local families bathing on the shores of the lake.
We were finally ready to depart from Nicaragua. A country that surprised us in many ways. We made great friends and formed lifelong relationships. And we had our new dog, Nica to enrich our lives as we continue our journey.
Next up, Costa Rica!