Friday 8 to Monday 11 May
After our couple of days in Managua we hired a car and drove to Leon, about 120km north.
The small city has a well preserved centre around the City Hall and the Cathedral. The cathedral was undergoing renovations and whilst the inside was completed, the work on the outside was still in progress. It is a big white building which dominates the skyline.
In Spanish tradition, the Central Park is a resting place for the residents. Big trees provide shelter from the heat.
Leon is a catholic city and there is no shortage of churches. They were in preparation for a festival the following week for the Virgin Mary. White cloths were hung from the ceilings of many churches, creating a very feminine feel to the usually austere churches.
There is also the museum of the revolution. We didn’t visit it because all the displays were in Spanish and not easy for us to understand. The sign outside it was clear and concise.
We took the car out for a day. First we drove to Poneloya and Las Peñitas on the Pacific Ocean. The beaches are a favourite get away for the many back packers that travel to Leon. Accommodation is low key in rustic houses with tiny bars fronting onto the sand. No wonder Nicaragua is considered a cheap destination.
Struggling with a car that wouldn’t easily start, our day’s drive was limited to driving with minimum stops.
We drove north through Telica to Chinandega where we stopped for lunch. It was market day in Chinandega and the streets were full of stalls selling fruit, vegetables, clothes, hardware. Driving through the streets meant negotiating stalls, people, bikes and dogs.
Lunch was a good stop and since there was a Budget office nearby we figured we could call on help to start the car. Of course it behaved after that.
We passed the Telica volcano, that erupted the following evening. No serious damage was reported, but it was rather exciting to know we were in the area. We drove half way around the San Cristobel volcano, active but behaving itself.
This part of Nicaragua is a hot spot with a number of active volcanoes. Some of the preferred adventures on offer in Nicaragua are hiking the volcanos.
It was Australia’s Mother’s Day while we were in Leon, and after a couple of lovely messages from our sons, we indulged in a Sunday lunch. As it happened we ordered a selection of Nicaraguan tastes. Sitting in the square under a misting verandah was a perfect way to while away a sunny Sunday.