On the 29 of december we woke up, packed some backpacks and headed off to Leon by bus. We had to make a stop at UCA and transfer to a second bus. Once in Leon we started walking towards our place. During the walk it was so hot that Taryn was getting squishy (the 30 some degree sun was melting her). About halfway we stopped at El Sesteo for lunch. Me, Mom and Lucas all had the same shrimp pasta. The bread that came with our noodles was super hard.

After lunch we continued walking to the place where we would be staying.  First though, there was a small detour. Lucas wanted to jump on one of the many trampolines in the central square. It was cheap enough so Mom allowed it and when that was done we actually walked towards the house.  Once there we were greeted by Connie, one of the owners, and baby Sofia, her niece. The house looked small, but was actually a good size. You enter the front door and see the living room, walking you forward you reach the dining room, beyond that the kitchen with bedrooms and bathrooms off it and lastly, past that is an outside area where our room was.

We placed the bags in the bedroom and then explored the church and graveyard that were practically out the front door.  We could only look at the outside of the church though because a sermon was in process. As we walked through the graveyard I noticed that most of the gravestones were intricately designed. Others were quite big. When we had seen the whole thing we headed back to the house for the dinner our hosts, Connie and Carlos had made. Dinner was super delicious. We ate gallo pinto (rice, beans, spices, and tiny pieces of red pepper and onion), fried egg and plantain.  After the amazing supper we went out for icream.

In the morning, the first thing we did was have breakfast with Carlos and Connie. Fruit was being served. The show playing on TV for the little kids was interesting and maybe a little weird.  After eating we got ready to hit the beach, Las Peñitas. We got driven there by Carlos’ friend. Carlos, Connie and baby Sofia came in the car with us. We arranged to get picked up at 4pm. The first thing we did was get a drink, Mom and Dad wanted more coffee and Lucas was hungry for pancakes.  I had a neapolitan shake. While waiting fir the food to arrive I played pool with Lucas. When we were finished we booked a boat tour to San Juan Venado. This boat had no cover, so I had my arms and legs  wrapped in a sarong to avoid burning. Our tour guide had very good eyes, able to spot many birds and creatures in the trees. All the trees surrounding us were the same kind, mangroves. One thing the driver showed was was super cool. It looked kinda like a spicy pepper.

When the boat got as far as it was going to go, we turned back and headed to the turtle hatchery island. Once off the boat it was a small walk to where the turtles actually were.  First, we washed our hands in a bucket of water so that we could pick up the baby turtles. The turtles were so small and cute. Turns out they had only been born at 5 that morning and were going to be released at 5 his afternoon to the water. After playing with the turtles for a bit we got a drink from the bar. I had juice. I dipped my feet in the waves a bit before going back to the turtles. I stayed near them basicly the whole time. I wished we would have been able to stay overnight  in one of the huts and watch the release. On the way back to the main beach we took some more people in our boat with us. One couple, who’s kayak was in the back, told us all abut their sandboarding experience. They did it yesterday and we were going tomorrow. Back at the main beach we walked to the restaurant for lunch. I had fishsticks and fries, the same as Mom.

After lunch, which was quite tasty, we went to the beach to play in the water.  Sadly, Mom couldn’t go in the water because she hurt herself getting into the boat after turtle island. Me, Dad and Lucas played in the giant waves for about 30 minutes before it was time to start drying off.  I got knocked over by the waves many times. At four pm Carlos and Connie were there to pick us up. On the way back the adults chated about how we enjoyed the beach and what we did.

Once back at the house we changed out of our swimwear and headed for dinner. Connie had made rice, beans and salad; another typical dish delicious just like last time. When dinner was over we chilled in the bedroom until going to bed. In the morning we had breakfast (can’t remember what), and then got ready for our day of exploring Leon.  First we stopped at a pharmacy to get some painkillers for Mom on our way to the cathedral. Inside the cathedral there was an amazing nativity scene. As well Ruben Dario is buried in the cathedral.  After exploring inside we paid a little bit of money to go up on the roof. We had to take our shoes off and certain parts of the roof were hot on my feet. Being up there was super cool; we had an amazing view of the city.

After seeing the church we headed to the Ruben Dario museum. The museum was quite interesting, but it took us a while to understand the signs as they were all in spanish. After seeing the museum we headed to Two Frida’s Cafe to grab a drink. The cafe was name after the painter Frida Kahlo. I had an iced coffee. Finished drinking we headed to get lunch at a mexican place that had been recommended by the people from the boat yesterday. The place wasn’t open yet so we looked at tourist place to inquire about sandboarding. The mexican place still wasn’t open and since we needed to be ready for the sandboarding guide to pick us up around 2pm (I think it was) we went next door for pizza.

On the drive to the base of Cerro Negro we chatted a little bit with the other people in our group and discussed Mount Everest. At the base we got our gear bag and started climbing up the mountain.  One of the guides took my board because it was awkward and heavy for me.

The hike up the volcano was kinda hard, but the top offered a great view. I had to put my hat into my bag because the wind was so strong I didn’t want to lose it. We looked around up top for a bit and then got geared up to go down. I was very nervous to do it, but did anyway. I had no other choice besides staying on the top of the volcano forever.

For my trip down the volcano I tried to go super slowly, but maybe I went a bit too slow. A few times my board would stop completely because it was weighted down from all the sand on top.  The experience wasn’t has scary as I had been imagining. It was actually a little bit fun. At the end I was covered in the black sand. As we walked back to the parking lot there was a very beautiful sunset.

Once back at the house we showered all the dirt off and went for dinner. Connie had made another local dish. Finished eating we went out to partake in the new year’s festivities. We looked at lots of different stalls and ended up buying some grapes for that tradition.  At roughly midnight the fireworks started. The show was amazing, much louder and closer then Canadian firework shows.  Afterwards we ate the 12 grapes before heading back to our place.

In the morning we packed up our bags and had a last meal with Connie and Carlos.  We signed their guest book and headed to the bus stop. Just like last time there was a transfer at UCA.  At our main Nicuragua house we were greeted by Hooka, the dog.