Sunday, February 3, 2013

CA Trek 2013 - Granada

Our first stop in Nicaragua was Granada. I wasn't there for very long but, in all honesty, it didn't feel like a city with much to do anyway. Plus, I still managed to have one epic adventure, so it was all good.
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Granada was similar to Antigua, though a little less touristy and a bit rougher on the edges. For my one day there, I decided to skip the walking tour of the city and instead rent bikes and head out of town with a small group. Lonely Planet recommended what they described as a cool swimming spot a few miles out of town, with a route that included biking along the coast of Lake Nicaragua. We rented bikes, grabbed sandwiches for lunch on the road, and headed out.

The directions weren't terribly clear and we missed a few turns but, after asking some locals, were confident we were heading in the right direction. The dirt road was full of rocks and the weather was hot, but we pushed on towards our destination. As we pulled up to the spot, we were greeted by something of a shock: the "swimming spot" looked more like a murky pond that the road ran straight into. We checked around the area to see if maybe we were missing something, but there was nothing. We cursed Lonely Planet's lies and deceit.

At that point, our only real option was to turn back. We had only been going for a bit when, out of the blue, my bike broke down. At first, I assumed the chain had come off and it would be a quick fix. Upon closer inspection, however, we saw that the derailer was a total mess. A nut had come off one of the bolts and the whole thing had bent out of shape. There was no way we were going to be able to fix it, and we were still something like 3 miles out of town.

Abbie, Mike, and I had been trailing the larger group when this all happened and they had gone on ahead, so Mike took off to let them know what was up while Abbie started walking back with me.

Abbie and I trudged along, talking about our old jobs and betting on how long it would take us to reach somewhere where we could get a much needed beer. Suddenly, the others started cruising in around a bend with big goofy grins across their faces. They pulled up and proudly announced that they had found a solution to my situation. A few moments later, a horse-drawn carriage came galloping around the corner.
They had managed to find a carriage driver willing to pick me up and take me and the bike back to town for just $5. Ben had come up with the idea, equal parts ridiculous and brilliant, and Jesus had flagged down the first empty carriage they saw. Apparently Jesus had thought it was still too expensive and tried to talk the guy down, to the point where the others thought Jesus might walk away!

I felt a bit like a king riding back, sitting high in my carriage with an entourage biking around me. To the locals we passed, I probably looked like the laziest gringo they had ever seen, choosing to take a carriage instead of just biking.
While our bike trip could hardly be classified as a success, the awesome way that it ended made up for it. As soon as we were in town, we grabbed a few beers from the bar and laughed about the twists and turns the day had taken.

The next morning, I woke up early to wander around town a bit, since I hadn't had a chance to see much of it. Though I don't feel like I missed too much, it would have been nice to have a bit longer there, but our van was waiting to take us to our next destination: Isla de Ometepe.

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