Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Leon, Nicaragua

After my ordeal trying to mail my purchases from Masaya, I gathered my strength and headed to Leon. I had wanted to see Lago Nicaragua and Islas Ometepa, but ultimately decided that I should keep heading north towards Honduras rather than double back south.

Leon was founded in 1524, but destroyed by an earthquake in 1610. It served as Nicaragua's capital from the time it was rebuilt until 1857 when Managua took over. Today it is a politically progressive town that houses the nation's first university, founded in 1912.

I arrived in Leon in early afternoon, put my bags down at Hostel Via Via and got some very helpful advice from the Belgian owner Bart about how to get to the Mosquito Coast in Honduras from Leon in two days.

Then, I headed out to explore the town. I headed first to the largest cathedral in Central America. Heading inside, I met Nubia and her aunt Nubia (yup, same name) and we explored the nooks of the cathedral together.

Here's a shot of the central square in front of the cathedral:

Then I checked out Ruben Dario´s old house, which now houses a museum before returning to the hostel to chill for a bit. Dario is credited with greatly simplifying written Spanish--making it clearer and more concise.

On the advice of a great Dutch couple who work at the hostel, Harry and Macha, for dinner I headed behind the cathedral for some great typical Nicaraguan street food. You can see pics of the food in the "la comida tipica" post on Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

After dinner I headed to a bar with live music. I didn't see nearly enough live music while I was traveling--one of my biggest regrets. This band was really fun and the whole place was having a good time.

At the bar I ran into Pilar, who was also staying at my hostel. Unfortunately, all of the bars closed pretty early, so here we are back at the hostel drinking with my little mp3 speaker set.

I only stayed in Leon for one night--well, really half a night because I left at about 3:30am. It was a whirlwind tour, but quite fun.

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