I am saying hello from the town of Granada, Nicaragua. By jove, two more days have passed since my last blog. Yesterday we cycled 97km from San Juan del Sur to Granada and today was a rest day. The cycling involves a lot of stamina but so do the rest days!
Yesterday we cycled on the Pan American Highway for 40km which was not great. I mean there were trucks overtaking oncoming traffic and therefore entering the right side of the road which is used for ongoing traffic. So we were on the right side of the road trying to avoid big trucks steaming past our left shoulders while driving in the opposite direction.
Dad had a great day yesterday. He finished strongly and we stuck together for the whole day yesterday. The scenery was not great but you can gain an impression of a country by viewing the countryside. This part of Nicaragua is a lot dryer than where we cycled in Costa Rica. There is no jungle heat or rainfall. Instead there is savannah with dry riverbeds. The countryside also looks a bit bleak with little cultivation but a lot of horses and gauchos (cowboys) herding cattle.
No misfortune for any rider in terms of injury or accident but plenty miles until Belize to conquer the lands of Spanish conquest. Today Dad and I witnessed the natural heritage of the Granada region. Granada is situated on Lake Nicaragua and this morning we did a boat trip on the lake. There are almost 400 island albeit smaller islets included. So small that I managed to swim right around one island in about 10 minutes while Dad enjoyed a beer from the cafe on the island.
Then in the afternoon. We went on a tour to the Masaya Volcanic National Park. This park consists of several craters and as recently as 30 April 2012 there was an eruption from one of the craters. In fact there are volcanic gases emitting from this particular crater which makes photography difficult. Nevertheless we did a walk to the highest point and peered down into different craters passing other tourists while our tour guide waited patiently in his car for us to return and head back to Granada.
The life of a traveller is most definitely better than that of many of the local population in Nicaragua, but there is beauty for all people to enjoy, savour and to promote as an exotic destination. In fact Central America has a long history of European conquest with the founding of Granada in 1524. There are many impressive buildings in this city and there is a lively atmosphere in the streets.
The Spanish influence is substantive and hardly anybody speaks English which makes life difficult for us. There is a tale of Third World civilisation here where poverty is surrounded by impressive architecture. Yet the local population seem to be fairly amicable and appreciate their heritage. No aspect in this city can satisfy the inhabitants without there being an attempt to embrace progress.
I like this city and so does Dad. In fact we plan to ride on a horsedrawn carriage this evening. Believe it or not this mode transport is one of the norms of travel within this country and in Granada the horse carriages are decorated with colour and marketed to tourists wishing to experience no doubt an environmentally friendly transport option.
Tomorrow the cycling continue and we wondered perhaps Aunty Noreen, if you fancied a short holiday in Belize to see us finish on 21 December? According to the Mayans. the world is supposed to end on 21 December 2012 when I believe the planets are positioned in a line with each other. It is a polite invitation and no doubt the world cannot end without a big bang!
We are in for a tough few days over the next 6 days that will take us to Honduras but we enjoy a challenge.