AdventureCentral AmericaNicaragua

Sunday, November 23, 2008 – Granada

We started the day at the Café Chocolate for breakfast. Mindy had an omelet with salsa, I had a ham-egg-and-cheese croissant, and Shannon had a Spanish sausage and cheese croissant, but since she didn’t like her Spanish sausage and I did we swapped meat. Which sounds slightly wrong but was very sanitary, I promise.

At 9:00 our driver, Antonio, arrived to take us on our day trek around the area. First stop was a trip to Volcan Mombacho.

Volcan Mombacho
This volcano is no longer active and has a few craters you can walk around – one with a guide and one without. Antonio dropped us at the base of the volcano so we could catch a ride with one of the “eco-buses” to the top. These buses are really trucks with 4WD that can handle the steep (STEEP) turns in the road and the bumpy obstacles along the way.

Bus-truck ride
We stopped at a coffee plantation on the way for some coffee and pictures of the amazing view. I had some of the strong but bitter coffee, not because I like coffee but because I was so damn cold that I would take anything to warm me up. We hadn’t planned our outfits well; shorts and tank tops were great for the heat of the city, but the higher we climbed in our eco-truck, the colder the weather became. Luckily they rented jackets at the Eco Station at the top of the volcano or else we would never have been able to hike through the wind and the chill.

View from Plantation

Shannon at the Plantation house

At the station we listened to the briefing (no trips to the second crater without a guide!) and decided to stick to the first crater and its 1.5KM loop. It was a lovely day for a walk, and we had a lot of fun photographing flora and fauna we never heard of. At one point the trail forked off, one way to a scenic overlook; the other to a steam vent from the volcano. Both vastly different in their temperatures.

Shannon in action

Mindy, exploring nature

Mombacho Crater

Shannon and Mindy

Shannon, Mindy, and the view of Granada

Shannon (faaaar away) enjoying the lookout

The trail

Me in the ranger’s station, demonstrating our walking techniques
(pic by Mindy)

After two hours the group climbed aboard the bus/truck for the steep ride down the mountain. We rejoiced each time we were in the sun since we’d turned in our jackets and were still pretty cold. By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain we were ready for Antonio and the warmth of Granada.

Laguna de Apoyo
It was a long drive to Laguna de Apoyo, which is the crater of an ancient volcano that erupted 20,000 years ago. Now it’s a beautiful sight and a place to relax and swim. We had lunch at a little restaurant that specialized in fried food, and then we went to the Monkey Hut – a local hostel – that allowed use of its waterfront property for a small daily fee. We changed into our suits though we had no intention of getting wet and the sun had disappeared behind the trees. We fell asleep on a little area of grass.

Laguna de Apoyo

Laguna Restaurant

Monkey Hut

Granada at sunset

Dinner at a Mediterranean Joint
Back in Grenada and after a round of showers, we headed out for dinner. Our initial choice of ribs was obviously a poor choice since, well, the restaurant wasn’t there. And not only wasn’t it where it was supposed to be, nothing else was on that street either. Nothing except the three of us and an alley-full of closed doors and darkened street corners. Oh, and the two adolescent boys on the bikes who grabbed a handful of my tushie as they rode by. Argh!!!!! I shouted a few unladylike words at them and we decided it was time to leave the dark, deserted street for a more populated area and Mindy’s choice of a Mediterranean restaurant. The funny thing is that it happened again on the walk to the second restaurant – this time from a completely different adolescent cyclist. Apparently, here in Granada, it’s perfectly okay to cop a feel off a tourista or two. I spent the rest of the walk far from the edge of the sidewalk, looking over my shoulder for any little noise.

Our dinner of paella was delicious, though. So that made me happy, as did the wine and the dessert of ice cream, pastries, and chocolate.

Mmmmm… paella

The girls

Pretty fountain in the restaurant courtyard