I wake up in the morning, slightly chilled by the mountain air. It is such a difference from Granada that I am immediately energized. I walk out to the porch. Jessica is already up and filling her journal with her thoughts. I smile and greet her, happy to be in company. I look over the porch wall, greeting the gardener with a groggy “Buenas.”
Our days are spent exploring camps and farms. Food is eaten, jokes are made. It’s a time of connecting for us. Somewhat melancholy as we are preparing mentally for their departure from Nicaragua.
The long way home from camp takes us by flower vendors on the highway. The girls jump out of the car, freely purchasing lilies, roses and daisies. Frank finds the perfect sunset spot. A fence is jumped, a hill is climbed. Most of the group sits while Garrett and Tom run down the hill, dodging bacas and their patties.
We drop off three of our group at the bus station in Esteli. Seth turns the iPod to The Stars. We are quiet. Tired from a weekend of laughter and coffee. I scan through the images on my camera, Heather and I squatting, Seth’s superman pose, Trevor’s creepy boy grin.
Thirty kilometers later we are waved down by the National Police. We pull over and wait. No, we don’t have our passports. We live in Granada. We are volunteers. As they leave to consider charges, I break out in laughter. For once, we will be able to truthfully tell them we do not have money. The last of our money is being burned in the diesel engine.
I watch the side of the road drop off into a valley. The landscape is dotted with yellow trees. The sky is hazy and blue, the kind of hazy that makes you check your glasses for smudges.
The heat when we step out of the van on our street is stifling. We flirt with thoughts of turning around and going back to the mountains. In the end, we settle back in to our home. Already planning the next break to the mountains.
Hostel: La Buena Onda
Car Rental: Dollar
Restaurants: Selva Negra (2 out of 5), La Buena Onda (3 out of 5), Cafe Barista (3 out of 5), Restaurante Perrera (kilometer 158-ish on the highway between Matagalpa and Jinotega, 4 out of 5), Cafe Luz y Luna (4 out of 5)
Itinerary: Day One. Drove to Matagalpa (2 hours driving distance from Granada). Checked into the hostel. Ordered coffee, checked email, ate dinner in the cafe. Day Two: Woke up and drove to Selva Negra for breakfast. Drove to the Vida Joven camp outside of Jinotega to explore the grounds, drove towards Jinotega and ate at Restaurante Perrera. Day Three: Drove to Esteli (1 hour from Matagalpa) and ate lunch at Cafe Luz y Luna (4 out of 5 stars). Drove home (2.5 hours to Granada).