Quite a few people had recommended this place and seeing as it was only a couple of hours ride from Granada, how could we resist?
Now I don't want to sound like a Moaning Minnie but I'm afraid the place just didn't hit the spot with us. The weather wasn't the best (bit cloudy and very windy) making the lake pretty choppy and not the reputed aquamarine bliss we'd been told about. Our hotel (the only one available) was a bit shite, although still the same price as the nicer ones... Blah blah blah. Anyway, here are some photos that'll probably make you think that I am a Moaning Minnie, especially if you're reading this in the cold drizzle somewhere...
We only stayed the one night and by 9.30 (departure delayed due to very near 'accident' in the toilet dept on my part) we were at the top of the crater after completing the 3km of aforementioned bank... Climb.... Phew, am I waffling? (More than normal?!)
It actually felt great to be back on the road again. We'd decided to take a small track out over the back of the volcano that would eventually lead us down to the road south that we needed. We wanted to get things back in our control and go/do what we wanted, not what the guide book 'told you to'.
Things started well. Then the road got steeper. Bank... Bank.... (No view this time) until eventually we had to give up and push. Steeper still. We tried zig zag pushing but that didn't really work very well so we resorted to doing the 'Superman', a technique also employed by mums all around the world whilst pushing their kids in buggies on steep hills. Here is kate doing an excellent Clark Kent (well, sort of)
Flippin eck it were steeper than anything we'd been on, ever
Mind you, when the view came back it made it worth it.
Despite the hard work we were having fun. We stopped off for a chat with the locals
And then when this doddery old bloke turned up I couldn't resist helping him down for a bit. When I'd had enough and said I needed to go back up, instead of thanking me, the cheeky bugger asked for some money!
So, extra puffed out from the walk back up AND 25p down (he did thank me for that) we marked the occasion with the selfie stick. I keep telling kate it's a GoPro pole but seeing as the GoPro (cheapo copy actually) hasn't been out of its bag yet, I guess it's a saddo selfie stick...
By the time we reached the top we'd done the grand total of 7km in 2 hours with a rise of 600m. We needed a drink!
We bimbled into the sleepy little village of San Juan del Oriente and found a little shop selling plants and delish homemade fruit punch. The owner told us there was a lookout point at the top of the street so off we went. Bloody hell we got a shock. It was 'tour bus central'. The place was swarming with American tourists, some walking around drinking beer at 11.30am. One of the bus drivers actually used a whistle to 'herd up' his fee paying passengers, I mean, come on! We dutifully took a photo of the view and quickly skidaddled back down the road to a more genuine eatery that was quite a bit smarter than many we've been to. We got a few gawping looks as the aircon buses rolled past, imagining the "Gee honey, was that 2 white people in that terrible looking place?" comments.
We were unfortunately back in civilisation. The road got hot and busy as we headed down towards the main highway. Despite a very blustery head/side wind we covered ground quite quickly only stopping when we met Jorge (George) who was riding from the bottom tip of Argentina to his home in Mexico
Nice guy and a true cycle enthusiast. Check his tattoo out!
Passing the town of Nandaime we pulled over for a drink stop. We bought some tasty snacks from a grumpy old wizened lady, thinking they'd perk us up for a few more miles in the saddle. They turned out to be like the most horrible, shite stinky toe jam cheese stale cold waffle/toast. For some reason the person who made them (wizened hag?) thought that by sprinkling sugar on them they'd actually taste nice?
We thought we might try to push on until the town of Rivas, some 40km of hot, blustery road away. The Hotel Manchion had other ideas though... We've seen so many signs for places along the way. Sometimes the signs make the place look really flash until reality comes into sight. Sometimes it's the other way around, sometimes the hotel never materialises. So, expectations were low but this time, results were high. Check this place out!
For $30 inc breakfast (saved 10% by saying we didn't need a receipt nod, nod, wink, wink) we got a Welcome Cocktail (well ice tea actually) and a few hours sitting here
Gotta be happy with that! Cheers