A Travellerspoint blog

Towns and Turtles

Léon and Poneloya

sunny
View Destination - south on ew5827's travel map.

Wandering around with all our bags in probably the hottest town we'd visited wasn't so fun! We hadn't booked a hostel and as places were fully booked we were regretting it! Luckily, the hostel we eventually ended up at was nice but the room was roasting. I think most rooms in Léon are unless you pay for air conditioning. A busy town with big street blocks (depressing when you're walking from one side of town to the other!) and lots of people, Léon is definitely full of life. There's some great restaurants and cafes - an awesome cafe that opens soley for breakfast - and interesting sites like the impressive art gallery and the cathedral with great views from the roof. They've got a cinema too where we saw The Little Fockers - very funny. We spent a couple of days taking in the town but were glad to be leaving for the coast where at least there would be a bit of a breeze.

Looking over Léon and the hills beyond

Looking over Léon and the hills beyond

The domes on the cathedral room y mi

The domes on the cathedral room y mi

The archways of Léon's cathedral

The archways of Léon's cathedral

Trying to be artistic <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Trying to be artistic :)

While in Xela (the town of our spanish school, Guatemala), a girl who was staying at our hostel reccomended we go to Surfing Turtle Lodge in Poneloya. It's a hostel on an almost deserted beach a short boat ride from Poneloya. It was a bit of a trek to get there as the tide was out so we had to walk quite a way but the setting was beautiful and we treated ourselves to our own cabin.

Our cabin for the week

Our cabin for the week


Potato (the cat) lapping up some fuss

Potato (the cat) lapping up some fuss

Potato the cat thinks she's a dog and comes for a walk down the beach with you, so sweet!

We got a bit stuck, in a good way, at Poneloya. The beach was gorgeous and so peaceful - walking down the beach I didn't see another soul. Occasionally someone on a horse would trot by or maybe even a horse and cart but that was as "busy" as it got. We just chilled out, lying in hammocks, reading a book, jumping waves in the sea (too rough for a proper swim), maybe the odd nap in the afternoon...am I making you jealous? ;) I even had a 1-1 yoga class a couple of mornings; I've never tried it before. The sunsets were fantastic (there are tonnes of photos in the gallery) and the stars at night were brilliant on the first night but then as the week progressed the moon got brighter and made them harder to see.

Another flock of birds fly by

Another flock of birds fly by

The sunset was so crisp on the first day

The sunset was so crisp on the first day

The only thing that I found surprising was that going to sleep with the sound of the waves, which you'd imagine would be so relaxing and soothing, was the complete opposite for me. I ended up wearing earplugs! I'm obviously not destined for a seaside house one day, I think it would drive me mad! I prefer pure silence, maybe birdsong, maybe the odd car noise I'm used too! At least one of us appreciated it though, Chris had the best sleep of the trip so far.

The main reason we stayed so long, or at least that's the excuse we told ourselves, was for the turtles. They have a hatchery at the lodge and we were hoping for some new arrivals. Unfortunately for us, they weren't ready to meet the world yet and after a week we decided to call it a day (or a week) and move on.

Back to the heat of Léon we ended up at a different hostel overnight with a pool table and a swimming pool - very welcome in the heat of Léon. Chris has taught me how to play pool a bit better, a bit too well in fact as I can now give him a run for his money!

Posted by ew5827 15:08 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

The chocolate castle

Matagalpa


View Destination - south on ew5827's travel map.

The wide streets of Estelí to seemed far away when we reached the busy town of Matagalpa. Still is was a chance to catch up on some internet stuff (not that you'd believe me) and we also got to visit a very tasty site called El Castillo de Cacoa - the Cocoa Castle. Closed the first time we tried to go our perseverance prevailed and it was open the next day.

El Castillo produces organic chocolate from locally grown cocoa. It's all about supporting locally grown produce these days so we thought it was our duty to support them by visiting and buying some produce :) We got a tour of the factory, which actually is shaped like a mini castle.

El Castillo de Cacao

El Castillo de Cacao

The beans go into here for roasting...

The beans go into here for roasting...

...then get crushed by hand.

...then get crushed by hand.

This machine splits the shells from the insides...

This machine splits the shells from the insides...


...and then the magic happens behind closed doors! OK so I actually forgot to take photos inside the factory I was too excited watching all the liquid chocolate sorry!

We climbed to the roof of the castle too for some good views of Matagalpa and the area. I wouldn't mind coming to work somewhere like this everyday.

The view from the battlements, nice place to work

The view from the battlements, nice place to work

The view back to Matagalpa

The view back to Matagalpa

The cocoa bean god bid us farewell as we bought some chocolate and headed on our way to León.

The cocoa bean god and his beans

The cocoa bean god and his beans

Posted by ew5827 18:43 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

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