Leon - And Surfing a Volcano!

Trip Start Apr 26, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Where I stayed
Big Foot Hostel

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Saturday, May 27, 2006

Leon is a wonderful colonial town. Bigger and more developed, it seemed, than Granada. Boasting a lovely Parque Central with a fountain bordered by Central America's largest church where the famous poet Ruben Dario is buried. We stayed in a pensione with a family who happily invited us to watch TV with them and practice our Spanish. One night we watched an amazing storm develop above the street meat stalls from the steps of the church. We were wowed by a tower of clouds and lightning strikes while enjoying huge enchiladas with rice and chicken and a cabbage wrapped rice and chicken patty - all of course wrapped up in a to-go banana leaf.
The morning we left Leon we got up at the crack of dawn and dragged ourselves to Big Foot Hostel for our trek to Cerro Negro (Black Hill). Which is really what it is, it's a small crater of piled black, sharp lava stones, and it's still active. We sped from Leon to the foot of the crater with our guide Darren (an Aussie ex-pat who has settled here and makes a living running his hostel and giving tours of the Cerro Negro). Battling the wind, which gusted at high speeds, we explored the crater itself and smelt the horrid stench of sulphur. How did we get down, you might ask? Well...we surfed!
We lugged wooden boards up the crater with us and to get down, well, it was more like tobogganing. Wheee! Shane chose the "fast" route while I chose to take my time a bit more, although I still got up a bit of speed. It's a rush watching the sharp, black rocks come at you at a fast pace as you hang on for dear life. You reach the bottom with pants full of stones (I don't know how but I was picking them out of my butt for the rest of the day), but happy that you survived! And it doesn't seem real when you look back up to see where you've come from. It was good fun and I'd recommend it to anyone in Leon.
From here it's on to Honduras...
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