¿Por qué hay vacas aquí?

First, a shame-faced apology because I know I should have written much sooner after I returned from Nicaragua in order to properly write about Nicaragua but I didn’t so I’m sorry world.

Also, a shout-out to Brazil, because for some reason I have very high readership in Brazil.

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So man, where did I leave off?  On our way to Liberia?  Liberia was nice — it was nice to spend an afternoon on the beach.  After that, we spent a day at Rincon de la Vieja National Park.  This park was great because you could go from hiking to scenic waterfalls to high volcano tops to desert, Martian bubbling mud all within a day.  Almost 20 miles of hiking later, and we were ready to be on our way to Nicaragua.

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There was a little bit of apprehension to be had relative to crossing the border.  We had a willing driver that would take us as far as the Costa Rican side of the border, but no more.  Our driver’s demeanor was friendly and jovial up until about 10 kilometers from the border to Nicaragua, but from that point on he had nothing more to say, and kept his hands stiffly at 10 and 2.

Really, though, the border was fine.  Some attempted scams, some difficulty finagling the inefficiency of the Nicaraguan side, but we made it through.  The day was really only just beginning, though, as we needed to find our ferry to take us to Ometepe Island where we would spend our first few nights in Nicaragua.

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We found it, and after the two-hour journey, arrived dehydrated and hungry at Yogi’s Hostel.  While I would definitely not recommend Yogi’s, I would absolutely recommend Ometepe.  Its two volcanoes shoot out obtrusively from the water, and often with the right breeze, you could easily see the peak of Concepcion.

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I don’t normally recommend standing in the middle of an airstrip runway.

We passed a lazy day on the beach, and another day attempting to hike the volcano in the above picture.  The howler monkeys let us get halfway up or so before reminding us that it was their volcano, not our volcano.

A few more days in Ometepe, and then we were back on the road to Granada, a colonial city a bit north of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua.

Granada is seriously beautiful, and was complimented by our stay at La Mexicana, a great hostel run by a woman whose investment in making sure her guests enjoy themselves is clear.  Flor had great tips, and went out of her way to make sure we were taken care of.

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Granada brought a trip to a chocolate factory, nearly being run over by slow-moving cattle on the lakefront, and a night hike up a volcano.

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Because, you know, this is where cows belong.

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The night hike was definitely a highlight.  You’re able to stand right at the crater’s edge, and once it is dark, one can make out the glow of the lava beneath.  The tour we took led us through a lava-formed cave, too.  Arriving at dusk, you are greeted by thousands of bats flapping out of the mouth of the cave getting ready for their evening meal.  Anyone that knows me can attest that bats are my greatest fear.  Still, cool.  Type-2 fun.

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IMG_2062It was a serious honor to travel around these new parts of the world.  Next up on the travel itinerary is a trek around the Yucatan Peninsula and up and down the Gulf coast there.  One more month of school!

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