The island of two volcanoes (Ometepe) and another colonial city (Granada) (and not the one in Spain)

mural granada nicaragua womens rightsAfter a mad dash from the overpriced Costa Rica to take refuge in Nicaragua, my first stop after a dusty border crossing was Ometepe. Formed thousand or millions or billions or however many years ago by two volcanoes rising almost symmetrically from the island, it sits imposingly as the largest freshwater island in the world in the middle of the huge Lake Nicaragua. I took a boat over the island and met a French Canadian named Usagi who had been living on Ometepe for years and had a nice little hostel near the dock. He told me all about the local folklore along with another Nico who had been living in Miami for years and was planning a move back to get into the tourism business. Folklore slowly led into indigenous rights (which don't exist on the island) and inevitably to

Nicaraguan politics that ended up in a passionate lecture on how jodido the country is. I was hoping to climb one of the volcanoes (Concepcion) but ended up deciding otherwise when I felt the midday heat. Instead I took a 50 km roundtrip bike ride to the isthmus of the island to the Ojo del Agua, or Eye of the Water, which in the past was used as an initiation site for the youths' rites of passage but was now just a tourist attraction (re: no indigenous rights) with a bit more concrete but still incredibly beautiful. The water was crystal clear and amazingly refreshing, coming out of a spring from water from the other volcano, Madera (Wood, called that because they used to bury people on the volcano and plant nine seeds over the tombs to carry the spirit into the tree, or something like that), and making pools with volcanic sediment at the bottom. Supposedly having healing properties, I took my time and lazed around before hot and sweaty 25 km bike ride back to Moyogalpa, where the hostel was. I wanted to explore more on the island, but the heat put me through an intense process of lazification. The next day I took off to the nearby town of Granada on the mainland shore of the lake, one of the first Spanish cities in the Americas and quite nice in the quaint colonial sense. Pictures are below.

 

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On the lancha to Ometepe with the volcano Concepcion in the background.
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Taking a dip in the Ojo del Agua.
One bike ride back there was a slight hold up.
And then another one.
Your typical Nicaraguan bus station.
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Street in Granada.
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I made myself some arepas with red beans, sauteed onions, tomatoes, a fried egg, and cream. Worthy of a picture.
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Main church in Granada.
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I saw this mural walking through the street of Granada. Powerful statement on womens´ rights in Nicaragua
Trying to capture the not-so-pretty parts of the city. This is run off from dirty clothes washing water. At least it smelled nice.
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Jesus looked kind of bummed out.
Proud enough of myself after making this to take a picture.
Laguna de Xiloa north of Managua, stopped here before continuing on to Leon.
01/25 
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