Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Mountain Retreat

This past weekend I took a 3 hour busride to the town of Esteli in the northwest of Nicaragua. And guess what? For the first time in 6 weeks I actually felt cold! That's right. The posada where I stayed is located in a nature reserve high up in the mountains. To get there from the town I paid a taxi the hefty sum of 200 Cordobas (about $12) - the most expensive taxi ride I've taken in this country. But it was quite a drive! The road was not paved, and we drove uphill the whole way, snaking up through the mountains for what seemed quite a long time.

It was a simple guesthouse made of wood with flowers and coffee trees all around as well as fields of cabbage, lettuce, and other vegetables. I paid 110 Cordobas for dinner, lodging, and breakfast the next day. I woke in the morning all excited to hike up to the top of the mountain behind the lodge. But as I started walking, I realized that I was walking right into a cloud. So when I arrived at the summit, where there is supposed to be an incredible view all the way down to the Pacific coastal plain and the many volcanoes, I couldn't see more than 10 feet in front of my face. Oh well.

As I hiked downhill, I eventually emerged underneath the clouds and was treated to a fantastic view. Further down the trail was a series of sculptures carved into the mountain by a 70+ year old farmer. He was quite a character. He's been chiseling rocks into the shape of animals for more than 30 years and was quite proud to share his work with me. Furthern down the mountain was a beautiful 50 foot waterfall that made for an excellent swimming break. If you've never swam underneath a waterfall, I must say I highly recommend it. Very exhilirating.

It´s been busy at work for the past two days, as I´m going to the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua tomorrow and am trying to finish up my project before leaving. I may not be able to update my blog for a week, but I'll try to post some good stories upon returning.