Volcanoes

By Chris and Jenny

Some time has passed since we last wrote something about our time here in Nicaragua. The reason is that we are quite settled in here and feel at home in Granada. The last two weeks passed very quickly and we cannot believe that our time in Nicaragua is actually soon coming to an end.

The second week of classes passed with some change as Jenny did not take classes with María but another teacher, Gerald. The reason was the inflow of new students at the school. There was no group that fit Jenny’s level, so she took private classes instead. This week, she is back with María.

On Friday and Saturday we went to see two different volcanoes here in Nicaragua, Masaya and Mombacho. They are both in the immediate surroundings of Granada. The trip on Friday was with Casa Xalteva to the volcano of Masaya where we had a guided tour first by Andrés from Casa Xalteva and then by a tour guide working in the park. Masaya is an active volcano with a crater that constantly breathes out thick smoke and sulphuric gases. But about this trip we don’t want to bore you with much text, but just show you the images … because the views were breathtaking!

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You can still see the path the lava took if you search for the black spots.

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Before colonization it was believed that a witch lived in the crater. In order to appease her a regular human sacrifice was performed :(
Before colonization it was believed that a witch lived in the crater. In order to appease her a regular human sacrifice was performed 😦

DSC_0344DSC_0347DSC_0370 DSC_0381DSC_0384DSC_0386After watching the sunset on Masaya, we also visited a cave on the volcano in which hundreds of bats live. A great experience as well! Supplied with helmets and flashlights, we walked through the cave and got the chance of feeling the bats flying passed our faces in the darkness.

The group of Casa Xalteva people with which we visited the volcano consisted of about 9 students. All of us were also interested in visiting the other volcano, Mombacho, which is the one you see on the Granada pictures. It is a sleeping volcano which means that there is a crater that did not die completely but is covered at the moment. Only one really small crater is active there and ejects some smoke. The fact that Mombacho is not really an active volcano means that it is covered completely by forest and wildlife, the so-called cloud forest through which we hiked together on the biggest existing trail, the Puma.

The guide showed us lots of plants and animals, among them the original “Begonia”, the plant that Europeans decorate their balconies with. This cloud forest original is eatable and can be used for salads. Next to that, we got to see some venomous plants, huge ferns, different types of monkeys and even one sloth (Faultier in German)! And we had the chance to play Tarzan!

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Here are some more pictures.

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Both of the volcanoes were so very different which was probably the most impressive thing. It is impossible to compare them and say which one is more worth a visit. Masaya’s last eruption was in the 18th century, which is why it is much rougher and not so much wildlife grows there. About Mombacho, we learned that it once had been about 2000 m high but an eruption reduced it to its current 1300 and created the Isletas, the small islands in the lake of Granada.

The islands were another destination last week. A boat trip there showed us what rich foreigners and also the wealthiest Nicaraguan families (like the owners of Flor de Cana, the local Rum), do with their money: They buy an island!

IMG_5665What more happened during the last two weeks? Jenny’s Spanish improved drastically, we went to a Salsa class, tried our free gym membership, Jenny did Zumba in Latinamerica (depressing next to all the perfect Latinas) and we had to say goodbye to Eliza, who left to travel the North of the country. In addition, Jenny also volunteered a little with the kids this week and helped with Math (and sometimes Spanish) homework.

Chris also planned his own activity with the kids, namely the Spaghetti Bridge challenge. Pictures follow later.

It’s weekend again and we plan to see more volcanoes! Tomorrow, we will go to Ometepe, the mystical island in the lake which has two volcanoes. Next week, we will leave Granada to see the city of San Juan del Sur and then cross the border to our next destination, Costa Rica.

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