It has been a while.
From Somoto headed down to Esteli. Just checked out war museum and then pushed on to Leon as I had a urge to see a beach. In Leon the Aussies served a mean sangria in the dorm. Next day headed to the coast. Spent a rough two days at Las Penitas lying in a hammock reading. Taking breaks to swimming in the ocean. Back in Leon the Aussies were still there and more drinks to be consumed. Next day got a slow start and headed to Managua which I zipped through and continued to Masaya. Masaya. is known for its Mercado Artesanias which is nice, but I am not ready to add more stuff to my backpack. There is a nice overlook into a lagoon from the edge of town. Above the town is Fortaleza De Coyotepe which is known for being a place to make your last stand from 1912 to Somoza's Guardia Nacional in 1979. All of last stands at the fort were not successful. There were good views from the fort and bats were hanging out in the lower tunnels. From there caught a ride to Volcan Masaya. At the gate to the park there were signs all over the guard house "No Solo Entrada" with a picture of a guy walking with a slash through it. The guard talked to me in Spanish for two minutes while I smiled and nodded. Then he waited to for a answer to his question. As I understood almost none of the conversation I was once again my limited Spanish. He asked for my nationality in English and then took my entry fee. I was in and hiking the 5k to the Volcano rim. There is smoke coming out of the large crater that obscured the bottom from view. I could see a good ways in but no lava was visible. All the cars in the packing lot were backed for a quick departure as a couple of years ago the volcano started shooting out large rocks (500lbs) taking out a couple of cars. Caught a ride to park gate with some guys from Florida. Then immediately some Spanish travelers got me a ride in the front of an SUV that took me to bus I needed to catch. I thanked the Palestinian driver with one of the two Arabic words I still know. And he would not take any money for the ride. My luck with rides was good and I had not missed any of places I needed to stop at. The bus was taking a while to be ready to leave. I wander a little ways into the market for a look. Then I realized it was going to take me a while to find my way back to the bus terminal. The bus that I was planning to take was gone. There was another bus in its place and just another hour wait. The first bus did not have any tread left on its tires so the second bus may have been a good thing.
Got to Laguna de Apoyo and found the place I wanted to stay full. The next place was just down road and had a room. Almost everywhere I have gone the hotels have rooms on my first try. Laguna de Apoyo is a lake in the middle of a old volcano. Swimming is great in the volcano's waters. In Granada I notice that I could not find my ATM card. Did a piece by piece search of everything no card. So I must have not put it back in the wallet last time at the ATM. Good news is I have another ATM card for a different bank.
Love and Kisses