“León…a beautiful, crumbly, colourful town, full of stunning churches…”
Emma & Nathan’s Travels
Our next destination was León. Getting around Nicaragua is proving to be the easiest Central American country as of yet. We simply woke up Monday morning, checked out of our hostel and dragged our stuff down to the main road to hail a cab. A little nugget I have learnt is that street cabs are much cheaper than those at bus stations etc. It only cost us 100 Córdoba to get from the main road to the UCA minibus terminal. That's like $3. We told the driver we wanted León and he pulled up right out front of the minibuses departing for Léon.These shuttles/minibuses only leave when they're full. We only had to wait fifteen minutes or so before we were on our way. It cost 61 Córdoba or $2 per seat and we had three seats. Not only were we finding this easy, but it was so cheap! The journey was to take about an hour and a half and we would be dropped into the chaotic swirl that is León's main 'terminal.' As always, we were hurried off and dumped into the manic, bustling, crazy busy, harassment central of the bus terminal. No sooner had we stepped off we were surrounded by taxi drivers and bicycle-taxi driver and people trying to sell hammocks. I told everyone we just needed a minute to gather our stuff then we would figure out our next move. Which was…yep. We hired some poor dude to cycle us and our bags to our hostel. He made $5 out of it but, bless him, it was a long ride. In terms of minutes. We got overtaken a few times too. Directly out from the bus terminal, is a street, forever long and filled with market-esque stalls. They sold everything and at times the stalls were so close to the edge of the road I don't know how cars managed to get down there. That, coincided with these cycle taxis and yet no one got hurt. Expert drivers they must be! He dropped us right off outside our hostel.Our home for two nights. We ended up in a family room with three beds so used one as a wardrobe. We were even lucky enough here to have an en suite. The downside to these countries is the lack of air con when it is searingly hot outside but I'll get to that later. First stop, as always, food. I had found a hot tourist place called 'El Sesteo,' which sat on the corner of the main plaza.The view was a great place to people watch whilst we tucked into our club sandwiches. I say we, Nathan found a long hair in his, and then proceeded to gag when he realised there was mayonnaise in it. I found it quite delightful 😂! Stomachs full, we headed out to explore.Central Park, as with most Central American countries we have visited, houses a great cathedral. León's Central Park, hosts the biggest in Central America. Built between 1747 and 1814, it is the Episcopal first diocese of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, which makes it one of the oldest dioceses in America. You are able to go onto the roof between 2-4pm some days, where they give you sunglasses as the white is so blinding. There are 27 people of importance buried in the crypts beneath this cathedral. Whilst the front is bright white, the sides are not so much. There isn't a whole lot of restoration that appears to happen here. Church the recollection. A towering, mustard-yellow, slightly dirty looking spectacle along the main road just down from León Cathedral. I preferred this church to the cathedral. We weren't able to go inside here but it changes colour at night!Iglesia El Carvario. A mixture of neoclassical and baroque styles, this symmetrical church dates back to the 18th century. It looked beautiful and the murals on the outside were stunning. Iglesia de La Merced, is León's second most important church. The first building was destroyed when Volcan Mombacho decided to erupt.Tegucigalpa had light shades down a street, León has pastel coloured flags. The different colours all around this beautiful town, along with the epic architecture of the stunning churches makes for a delightful stay here. The town comes alive at night with the bars and restaurants home to the steady chatter of both local and foreign. The grid system once again comes into play with the plazas breaking it up so that artisans can sell their crafts to the passing tourists. A mixture of new-looking buildings, such as the theatreto the old, crumbly buildings of decades past,León has everything. Except for air con, which when it is in the mid-30s, with no breeze outside and all you have to 'cool down' are two desk fans blowing hot air round your room, is less than ideal, and cereal bars. I actually found some chocolate chip cereal bars to eat morning/evening, and they weren't on bloody file so we couldn't have them. I felt like crying.