Friday, 5 February 2016

Not going loopy

I didn't even really want to leave Matagalpa. Not that it's such a great town but more because we had a nice guesthouse, had met some great people and just felt comfortable there.

Comfortable? Nice? They're not words normally associated with 'Adventure'! C'mon man, what's got into you? Time to get back out amongst it. Back to the heat, the hills, the dust, the sweat.....

We're heading roughly south through Nicaragua and had spotted a nice looking wiggly road that looped down towards the city of Granada. We guessed it would go through more lovely countryside, would be predominantly downhill (Matagalpa is at about 1000m and Granada at approx sea level) and if it all got too hard, we could always jump on a bus. The deal was sealed when we saw a flyer for this place ( about 50km ride away. That would work for night 1 anyway, the rest of the ride would just fall into place after that. 

The road climbed up and out of Matagalpa and then descended down across open countryside just as the cyclist who'd described it in their blog that Kate found said it would.
It was a great ride. Lovey views, quiet road and lots of typical rural scenes we've become accustomed to. I'm sure you're getting pretty accustomed to these views as well, this blog is beginning to look a bit repetitive...

As we wound our way down it started to get warmer again. The only thing spoiling the ride was a gusty head wind which felt much worse when it blasted us with hot air. 
Not knowing what we'd find to eat along the way we'd taken some not bad looking emergency brown bread rolls and a few bananas should we need them. We did. By lunchtime we'd not seen any roadside eateries so were hiding in the shade of a bus stop eating a dry chilli flavoured crisp sandwich followed by pretty sorry looking, squashed bananas for desert. The aircon cafe in Matagalpa that served those delicious coffees & cakes suddenly seemed a million miles away.

By about 2.30 we finally rolled into the town of Muy Muy and headed for the only sensible looking eatery on the strip.

We forced a bit of rice n beans down our necks and also devoured 2 litres of water. I think the rising heat had caught us out and I was feeling pretty ropey, I guess due to dehydration. I'd only had one pee since we'd left that morning and more down to duty than need.

Feeling a little better (?) we started on the 5km of uphill dirt road out to the Finca. Rattle rattle, bash, bang, we rode, the bikes not thanking us for the experience... Just keep going, it can't be far.....
Through the river crossing without getting wet feet (just)

Take a photo of the horse because we feel we should even though we know it won't look as nice as in reality....

Push the bikes on the steep bit... Push the bikes on the not so steep but rocky bit....

Admire the view because we felt we should..... Insufficient enthusiasm for photo....

Finally the road came to an end and there was a building. A man appeared, a Nicaraguan farmer type man rather than a friendly guesthouse owner. 
"El Espindido?" Kate asked "Si" he replied. "Cabana?" Kate asked "Si" he replied.....  What no welcome cocktail? No concierge service?

I was totally done in and of no use to anyone. It seemed we were at the place and after parking the bikes in the barn and struggling up the path with the bags I staggered into the freezing cold shower and finally cooled down. I spent the next few hours laying on the bed and I swear I didn't sleep. Kate spent the next hour or so listening to me snore until she got bored and went for a walk up the jungle paths.

The sunset came and went and the howler monkeys came out to play. We didn't see any but it was the first time we've heard their peculiar call. Il Signor came up the dark path with a torch and lead us back down to dinner. It was a bit weird sitting on their porch eating rice n beans (again) whilst they sat inside with their kids watching the telly.

10 hours later we were back at the same table with the same kids watching the telly. We ate our rice n beans breakfast, saddled up and headed off down the same dirt track towards the main road. It had been a different night to most on this trip but not really the rural idyll getaway we'd expected. In fact I'm not really sure what we expected. Maybe it was the fact that the magic of the exotic gardens and surrounding land didn't blow our socks off as it 
reminded us of our old Aussie house (been there, done that), maybe it was the overload of rice n beans, not sure, but I'm afraid El Espindido didn't go down in our top 10 must do's of good old Nicaragua.

Ok, we didn't have a pet parrot I'll give them that. D'you think I need a haircut by the way?

By the time we'd done the rough 5km back to the main road we both felt a bit hot n bothered. Junior Kickstart champion Kate had made it through the river unscathed, my right foot had had a full dunking when I lost my balance. 

We considered our options. Ride 50km (of which approx 15 was dirt we'd been told over breakfast) to Boaco, probably just a dusty small town with a few serviceable places to eat and sleep? Then ride or bus the following day? Maybe....  Bus it all the way to Granada now? No. Getting on a crowded bus half way through its journey didn't appeal. We'd not get a seat and it would be at least 4 hours of bumping, twisting road. Last option, bus it back to Matagalpa?  

The only thing that didn't appeal about this was the whole 'going back' thing. We got over that pretty quickly! The thought of the shady, breezy roof terrace, the clean, bright bedroom and hopefully the company of Gill & Gary who we'd met a couple of days before was too much to resist. Gill and Gary are a really nice, relaxed couple from New England. They are both 66 and still out there merrily having a good time. Quite an inspiration and good to know we've all got a few years left in us to have some fun!

The flexibility and ease of these countries is just great. We cycled up to the bus station and within 15 minutes the bikes were on the roof of the bus and we were bouncing our way back up the same road we'd enjoyed the day before. The buses aren't the most restful experience but for 90p each for an hour and a half ride what would you expect?!

Opening the door to the same lovely room we'd been for the few days prior felt weird. Familiarity is not a common sensation of a trip like this. D'you know what? It felt really really nice...


  1. So back to Matagalpa...Nicaragua looks nice. Yes, you need a hair cut! Clive basking in Thailand, I am back from skiing, luckily in one piece after doing unexpected forward rolls with skis on!

    1. glad to hear you're in one piece. That Clive eh?!

  2. Yes, you need a haircut ;) Loved the image of you re-opening the door to a room you thought you'd never see again and feeling like you'd come home.

    1. Hair cut complete, details to follow...