A delicious breakfast consumed, packed and ready to go, Gerald arrives. It is so great to see our friend, as he has become just that, our good Nicaragua friend - Fero calls him my 'buddy'.
We head out of Managua and Fero inquires if we are going the right direction as this doesn't look like the highway. Gerald and I just laugh - only Fero would question a local tour guide. The two kibbitz back and forth which brings lovely giggles from Gerald, and so the day begins.
With Gerald, being the tour guide extraordinaire that he is, there is no such thing as a straight 'transfer', we get tour information throughout. We stop about halfway in Izapa at El Salero which is a salt manufacturer, harvesting salt from the Pacific to industries and possibly even private kitchens. The process was fascinating and we really appreciated the stop (only Gerald with his company Duran Tours takes the time to stop here!).
Onwards to Leon, another beautiful colonial city, although not quite as touristy as Granada. Leon is a University town and has a very vibrant feel to it. We wanted to stop at the veggie market to have a look, and pick up some fruit & veg. It was a cacophony of sounds, smells, and sights and we left very happy with our fresh purchases.
The last leg of our journey is the beach at Las Penitas. Gerald keeps joking that he has his bag packed and plans to set up his hammock and sleep on our patio, which gets all sorts of comments from Fero, and then here comes the giggles. It has been a very quick and pleasant drive!
Gerald knows of a great little restaurant on the beach in Poneloya which is just around the corner from Las Penitas. We drive up to Chepes Restaurant (nickname for Jose) and wonder what is in store for us. The building is very open and basic, with dirt floors and well worn furniture, compliments of the sea's salt water breezes. First we order the size of fish we want and then sit upstairs overlooking the most incredible sea view. Ahhhhh this is what we came for!
Again, our meals were huge but sooooo delicious! Satiated we get back into the car and within a few minutes we arrived at the hotel El Cardhu Del Mar. It is a small beach boutique hotel with only 4 rooms, a lovely pool and small bar. Gerald, like all tour guides, wanted to see the property and exclaimed "wow, this is nice", I would like to stay here with you. Fero jumps in quickly and says "I am going to get the local security guy to escort you to the edge of town", which of course bring more hilarious giggles from all of us. He sees our patio and says, "heh, I can put my hammock here". Good thing he didn't see the little sitting area with a sofa inside our room!
Regretfully we said our goodbyes, with an hasta luego, until next time.
We settle into our beautiful room and head to the beach and relax for the balance of the afternoon. Being a small intimate hotel we meet the other two couples staying here, one from Munich and the other from Chicago, both very nice. The owners of this great little place are originally from Ontario and have made a nice little life for themselves!
We christened our new adventure with a bottle of wine and then off to sleep.