I have several things to write about, but a couple of them are going to have to wait until I get home, because the photos I want to use really are crying out for particular edits in Photoshop, and I don’t want to just post the jpgs. I leave Nicaragua tomorrow morning, alas, but at least that means I can get to the computer next week at some point and edit a few of the … well, lots and lots of photos I’m bringing back with me.

Naturally, I’ll post some of them right here!

So I am in León, which is one of the main colonial cities of Nicaragua, north of Lake Managua (Lago Xolotlán, to use the aboriginal name for the place, which is commonly used here). Except for an hour or two passing through on the way to the beach, I had never been here before, and little did I know how much I was missing out! León is great.

The great Nicaraguan writer, Rubén Darío, is buried in the Basilica de l’Asunción in León, which is the city’s main cathedral. The cathedral has several lions around and inside it, of which this one, in perpetual mourning, guards the poet’s final resting place.

In Nicaragua, there are two large cities I consider tourist spots : Grenada and León (nope, Estelí isn’t in the list. But you should go there). Grenada is polluted by tourism, though. The whole place feels like one big tourist trap. Also, a lot of foreigners have moved there and some of them have made asses of themselves, which doesn’t help a bit.  Don’t get me wrong: Grenada is beautiful and worth a visit, and from there you can see many of the things every tourist in Nicaragua must try to see – the Laguna de Apoyo, the Mombacho cloud forest, Las Isletas de Grenada, Catarina and the Pueblos Blancos, and … well, you get the idea. But Granada itself? I am sure there are many people who would disagree, but I would stay for a day or two at most.

Four of these guys hold up the Cathedral bells. I took advantage of the roof tour to take more shots like this than shots of the view.

León, on the other hand…! Aside from the almost unbearable heat (it’s a two or three shower a day climate and I’m not a big fan of hot weather), this is a vibrant, lovely city with cultural sites worth visiting (a very good gallery of Latin American art, for example, which also had a couple of Picasso and Miró etchings I had never seen before), good restaurants (I recommend Bar Baro, not all that far from the cathedral and the gallery), and at least one great hostel (La Tortuga Booluda, where I stayed, but I understand a lot of them are excellent). The fact that it is a colonial city founded in 1524, that it served a couple of times as Nicaragua’s Capital City, and that much of the original architecture survives… well, none of this hurts one bit.

So all that to say that I have been having a stellar time here, and I hope to come back ASAP, but this time for more than just two nights. Maybe next summer.

Another cat picture.
Many of the houses in León are painted in these kinds of bright colours.
Iglesia Pilar de Zaragosa, which is not far from the hostel where I am staying. Pigeons have taken up residence in the bell tower.
It’s hard to get a straight-on shot of the Cathedral these days, as they are renovating the park in front of it and there is a high metal wall blocking access to it from the street. I got this shot by standing on a hunk of concrete and carefully lifting my camera over the top of the fence… all the while trying not to cut my arms on the edge of the corrugated zinc.