Saturday, January 15, 2011

Interlude: Around León, Nicaragua (December 25, 2010 - January 2, 2011)

We arrived in León, Nicaragua on Christmas Day, with the intention of staying through the New Year.  León is Nicaragua's second biggest city, and features crumbling colonial architecture and what is supposed to be a lively university scene, although when we were there the students were all home for vacation and the city seemed a little vacant.

this bus with the roof sawn off was seen in the main plaza of León, where it arrives every evening it seems.

This street graffiti is saying that all of León supports Daniel Ortega (current president), along with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro

from León we headed on a short cycling/hiking trip to the nearby volcano of Telica.

the route featured some excellent mountain biking just after San Jacinto

...this is dawn from a prominent ridge leading to Telica...

an excellent sunrise view of the enormous crater of Telica, and Volcán San Cristobal in the distance

Mike and Rochelle (Australian friend of ours)

another glimpse of the Telica crater in amazing morning light

... it was a 9 hour roundtrip from camp to summit, through varying landscapes.  Jason, Craig and Sonia weren't feeling well, so only Mike, Rochelle and Jeff pushed to the summit ...
the last push up to the summit rim, on a rocky slope with no trail

Rochelle gathered a wildflower bouquet on the way up and sacrificed it into the depths of the crater

Jeff at the Telica crater rim (elevation 1060 meters - low compared to Guatemala volcanoes); that is noxious sulfurous gas filling the crater.  The last big eruption was in 1948.

Mike ponders the new crater (center) and the ancient (foreground left)

we ended this trip absolutely filthy

from Telica, we cycled back to León in time to catch a baseball game later that evening... baseball is the main sport in Nicaragua, while most other Latin countries prefer soccer...

Mike, an avid baseball fan, was an active heckler from these seats and the locals found this to be hilarious

León was playing Granada, and won the game.  The Nicaragua league only has 4 teams!!  The baseball, however, was quality, with many exciting plays and an animated crowd.  Compared to a MLB game, it was like travelling back in time, to when everyone went to the game walking or cycling, and the stadium was local and small enough so that all seats were good seats, and very little commercial advertising, no instant replay, hand-changed scoreboards, etc..  The entrance fee for the bleacher seats was 10 córdobas, or about 45 cents!

if you look in the background of this photo, you will see the free seats obtained by these committed fans

Iglesia de la Recolección, León - one of the more spectacular buildings to be seen in León

Iglesia de San Juan, León

Playa Poneloya near León.  This was New Year's Day, in which nearly all Leoneses head to the beach for the day...

curiously enough, there is no sunbathing or swimming culture, so folks just stand around on the beach with their normal clothes on, or wade in the nearby estuary.  Pictured above is Playa Las Peñitas.

we found fresh fish frying on the scene... 50 Córdobas (a little over two dollars) for a plate of fish and salad.

this fish is called Corvina, and is delicious fried.  After a little research, it seems that this may be called seatrout in English.  

1 comment:

James said...

Your expedition looks like the experience of a lifetime! I heard about your blog while talking to your pops Douglas in PA at the call center i work at, he says to tell you all he's well