I have joined a mad Irishman on a cycling trip around the world.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Costa Rica and Nicaragua

Costa Rica has been the sea, more firemen, and mountains.We took it easy for the first few days, camping near the beach and swimming and staying with firemen.

Nelson was my favorite fireman
Near Punta Arenas

We were back on the Pan-American highway for a day which was horrible. There was no shoulder and truck after truck came thundering along in both directions, we had to dive off the road once or twice to avoid being squished. We turned off and headed upwards to Monte Verde,  a moutain surrounded by cloud forrest. The road was steep and untarred, just rocks and gravel. It was really hard work. It took all day to do 22km. As we reached the town the wind picked up and a fine but freezing rain was falling. Two young boys accompanied me up the last hill, (I was barely cycling faster than they were walking) and I reached the top without noticing.



We took it easy for a few days and went to visit the cloud forest. We didn´t see any of the promised sloths, monkies or frogs, only two turkies which a guide was pointing out as we happened to be passing. But the trees and vines and moss were impressive and we managed to spend a few hours there. On our way out we found a humming bird cafe with loads humming birds zipping around.



Before leaving Costa Rica we managed to find a mirror for my bike. It is amazing, I don´t freeze every time I hear a truck coming and am much happier trundling along. I´m king of the road now.

Lots of volcanoes in Nicaragua
Crossing into Nicaragua I clocked two thousand kilometers and felt very proud. Everything immediately got very dusty. But it was flat for a change and we flew along  past volcanoes and windfarms.For a break we visited Ometepe, an island in Lake Nicaragua. After another stomach churning boat jouney made worse by the bikes and bags being tossed around by a tosser, we found a nice hostel called Indio Veijo, The Old Indian. The Old Indian himself was a friendly man with a great huge single dreadlock and a monkey on his shoulder. There were many animals, two monkies, a mad dog, a deer which thought it was a dog, a squirrel which jumped into Julian´s lap and ran up my arms, a cat, five kittens and a duck. We camped in the garden among the animals for a few nights. One night the dog got loose, I woke up thinking it had nicked one of our bags but it turned out to be the duck. The dog was happily running around with the duck dangling from its mouth by its bill and the deer running after. I thought about chasing the dog and the deer around the garden but the biting monkies were awake and after a while the duck seemed to stop struggling. "The Old Indian is going to be sad" I thought as I climbed back into the refuge of the tent. However in the morning the duck was happily waddling around apparently none the worse for its ordeal.


Mad dog...
...and the deer in cahoots

We cycled one day to Ojo De Agua, a mineral pool where people go to get young again. After splashing around for a bit a lady with a camera asked if we would answer some questions about the island for Nicaraguan TV. Julian agreed and told her yes, the island was very nice and he did like it and yes, the pool was very nice and he did like it. That was about it. I kept quiet thinking I´d only embarrass myself, it wasn´t until afterwards Julian told me I had a dragonfly sitting on my head and it had been there the whole time.We also visited some petrogliphs, this time by a very slow bus. The petrogliphs were made by the Nahutal people around 3000BC.


Nicaraguans are very friendly on the whole, only the kissing noises and whistles which follow us everywhere on the bike get a bit tiresome. Julian has taken to kissing back. We hope to be in El Salvador for Christmas.

Pedaled: 2410km