A trip to El Castillo on Rio San Juan

Trip Start Nov 26, 2007
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Trip End Jul 14, 2008


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Where I stayed
Hospedaje Universal

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

After spending most of the day hanging about at the resort, we set off late afternoon for Altagracia. A packed bus and then a fortuitous pickup got us to the pretty shabby looking port. Our overnight ferry to San Carlos awaited, but was an hour late arriving and another hour before we left. Like all the travellers, we got first class tickets (not much more than normal price anyway) to get a seat, but most were already taken either by others or their bags!! We pushed into the the edges of a couple of rows and settled down to watch some great tv!! We had during the night, some Nica karaoke (with Benny Hill type chases in their videos), a corny US tv movie about a marine avenging his wifes kidnapping and best of all, a double bill of black and white Tarzan movies, starring Johnny Weismuller (1940s?)!!! At least the journey was smooth.

So, not much sleep when we got to San Carlos at 6am, and we had to hang around the dock till 1030 for our next boat to El Castillo. This was a nice boat ride down the Rio San Juan, skirting the border with Costa Rica. Lots of birdlife anyway and wee villages living on the banks.

We booked into the hostel on the river, along with our Chilean amigo, whom wed met back in Leon, then had a wee tour of the fortress. The reason for the name of the place, it was a Spanish fortress built to keep the British out of Central America centuries ago. One of the more famous faces in the museum inside was Horatio Nelson, who fought here when he was young, and lost an eye!! And Francis Drake who is mentioned as a pirate. The woman who looked after the place was really helpful explaining things in a mix of Spanish and English. Understood the Spanish better! We were supposed to pay for photos, but hid the camera and when we were alone at the top of the fortress took a whole load!!! Scots eh!!

Not much else exciting going on, except for another resident of the hostel, who got savaged by a dog later that night and appeared in the morning with his legs wrapped in bandages, still bleeding. Meanwhile a friendly Canadian explained how he almost lost his leg from an innocuous scratch last year!!!
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