Tuesday, January 28, 2014

León to Masaya

Getting from León to Masaya meant booking a shuttle, which we did with Terra Tours. For a 2 hour ride, the trip cost us $12 each. We were lucky that the front seats were vacant, so we didn’t have to squeeze in the back, but we were still a bit cramped. Having the A/C blasting on us was a bonus.

We were told the shuttle would not take us directly to the hotel, but to a gas station from which we would need to take a taxi. Uncertain of the logistics of this, we held our breath. As luck would have it, we arrived at the gas station at the precise moment a taxi was dropping off passengers. The driver ran out to grab him for us and gave him directions. The ride was $2.

Our accommodation, Casa Robleto was fantastic. As one enters, a large salon runs the horizontal length of the building. The high ceilings and great depth allow the heavy wooden furniture pieces to envelop the space without making the room feel crowded. Rocking chairs, being a cultural custom of the country were present. They and another loveseat that did not rock were created in an amazing fashion combining hand carved wood with intricate caning designs.

Beyond this room is an immense space. The perimeter is covered, but the center holds a garden that is open to the sky. One section holds a pool table and more rockers. Along the right hand wall are the doors to the bedrooms, while at the back of the area, there is the open dining room to the right and the kitchen to the left. This sense of openness has been the most exciting feature of the Nicaraguan home architecture. When you don’t need to worry about hail, snow, or sleet, or freezing temperatures, there is a great freedom in design.
Our room had a bed that was beyond king sized. It could have slept a party of four and still had room to roam. The rest of the room still had plenty of floor space, relieving any sense of potential claustrophobia. The staff was more than friendly. Then it was time to see what the town was like.

Walking to the central square, we were thrilled to see the streets were well maintained, as were the sidewalks. There were no gaps or huge holes to lose a foot in if not paying attention. In addition, the square, though housing the mandated Catholic Church that had seen better days, there were hundreds of families utilizing the park for social activities. Temporary and permanent amusements were filling children’s dreams and helping to deplete their energy. Vendors were selling a variety of foods, drinks, and shaved ices.

Restaurants and other businesses placed around the square seemed to be flourishing. The word charming kept creeping into my mind. I was happy we were here and joyful it was better than León.

What did not get my vote for best of anything category was the Internet connection throughout Nicaragua, but it seemed to get progressively worse as we traveled. I had concerns it was my laptop that was the problem, but hence it was not. In Masaya, it took a good 20-30 minutes to download my e-mails. Uploading anything like my photos or blog was impossible. In León, I had complained so much they had someone come to check the wiring on the router to no avail. Here they just apologized profusely, but I was getting the idea it was a country issue.

Highlights of Masaya next.

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