Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day Tripping from Granada

What a New Year's celebration! We were all still laughing and amazed at the craziness from the previous night. Christy, Steve and I sat at breakfast reminiscing and laughing. Granada definitely knows how to welcome the New Year! As we were walking the Parque Centro, we stumbled upon one last soul that had decided to make the sidewalk his bed for the night. He looked like he needed a little more rest.
After breakfast, we decided to drive an hour to Laguna de Apoyo, a large volcanic crater that was now a lake. Our hotel recommended a hotel that where we could pay $15 and spend the day using their beach facilities.
It was the perfect way to relax after New Year's celebrations. We were all moving a little slower and ready to relax on the beach. The water was refreshing. I lounged on the shore reading while the McCrosky's took the catamaran out for a ride around the lake.
After a small rain storm and lunch, we each curled up for reading and naps in hammocks overlooking the lake.
I made the mistake of sleeping with my backpack as a pillow and messed up my back. I noticed a stiffness as we walked back to the car but the next morning I was a mess. I had to get a deep tissue massage and some pharmaceutical products to help ease the pain. No climbing a volcano for me! I sent Christy and Steve to Mombocho while I waited for the masseuse to arrive. Luckily, the hotel had recommended a guy that would arrive in an hour. I needed some major work. He arrived and walked into my room.  Jose opened his bed and put a sheet on it. He told me to remove my clothes. I waited for him to leave the room but he was doing his stretches and preparing to work over my muscles. I decided to go ahead and remove my clothes. I quickly laid down on the table and waited for a towel or blanket. None. It was naked massage time!  Fine. I hurt so bad I did not care. Jose was a professional...or so I hoped. He asked how I hurt myself and I told him I fell asleep in a hammock. He made a tsk, tsk, tsk sound and instructed that I never do that again. Then he went to task massaging my bum, back and legs. After a while, I thought he told me to turn over. He stopped me half way and twisted and cracked my back. Ahhh! It released pressure. I was feeling better. Then he told me to get up. He removed the sheet from the bed and placed it on the floor. He told me to lay down and pull my knees to my chest. I was naked and this was definitely awkward. What the hell was he going to do to me?!?! He rolled up a towel and placed it under my back. Then he put his weight onto my legs. Craaaackkkkkk! More relief! He rocked me towards him and rolled the towel higher under my back and rocked me back. This was odd but my spine cracked. The pain in my hip and leg went away. After a few more times he had me back on the table and started massaging a cream into my sore muscles. It heated up and felt good. Before he left, he saw a Icy Hot patch on the table and put it on my bum/lower back. Then he told me to take the pills I had bought, drink lots of water and sleep the day away. I felt 60% better when he left. That was a great 90 minute massage for $33!! I slept the day and night away.
I woke in the morning feeling much better. I was hungry and needed to find the McCrosky's. My bag was packed. This was my last day with them. I was going back to my backpacker lifestyle and flying to the Corn Islands in the morning. The McCrosky's were flying back to the states. :( I found Christy and Steve at breakfast. They had a great day at the volcano and had done some rough hiking...I never would have made it! We decided to go to stop at Masaya before returning to Managua.
The Masaya market was the nicest one I had visited in Nicaragua. We strolled shopping and bartering for artwork items and then rewarded ourselves with smoothies. Afterwards, we drove a short distance to the Masaya Volcano. We stopped at the information center and learned the history of the volcano (including the sacrifices of women and children).
Then we were prepared for the drive to the ridge. This was an active volcano with gases and lava!! We read that we were only allowed 5 minutes at the top. As we arrived at the top, we backed into a spot so we could leave ASAP if the volcano erupted. I hoped that would not happen but, you never know!

The gases were thick and we could not see any lava. Bummer! We looked around and hiked up a small path. After a few photos we left as rain started to fall. We drove to Managua. Christy and Steve did not have a reservation so we tried to find an area with hotels listed in the travel book. We saw a Crown Plaza and Steve went in to work out a price on a hotel room. They decided to stay the night. I was getting a taxi across town to my hostel. We said our goodbyes. It was fantastic having the McCrosky's travel with me. I have missed them so much! I was sad to say goodbye but I know I am on the downside of this trip. I will have to start thinking about going back to the "real world." I will see them back in the states.
I arrived back at the Hostel De La Casa de Los Abuelos and waited for my friend Chantal to arrive. I repacked my backpack and decided to leave a few items here in Managua that I would not need on the islands. I was ready for the next adventure, 7 days relaxing on Little Corn Island in the Caribbean.

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