16th March (Ocotal – Esteli) (90km)
The vibe has changed in Nicaragua and things are a lot more relaxed than in southern Honduras where the interactions with the road-side lads [under-employed, under-educated, under-mannered and under-IQed] were starting to get a tad tedious. The roadside stalls now seem to focus on rocking chairs and hammocks which is indicative of the seemingly more relaxed attitude of the local Nicaraguan folk.
17th March (Esteli) (0km)
The Luna Café is replete with lovely coffee, beer, chocolate, overpriced food and enthusiastic gringo volunteers and backpackers all toting their little kit bags of inspirational anecdotes of empowerment and participation. Bless their cotton socks for working so assiduously to stack their CVs with credit for pending college applications. I resist temptation to be visibly ill. A café here actually has an ‘Italian’ lasagna which is well worth eating so am hanging around for the day to eat these at regular intervals. Sucking back real coffee and doing what all the other gringos in this town appear to be doing – looking at their laptops and checking facebook.
18th March (Esteli – Tipitapa) (130km)
Big ride down to the lowland lakes. Into the afternoon the wind from the east picks up making the going pretty tough. Legs are well and truly toasted by Tipitapa, a rough and ready little market town short of Granada, full of taxis and buses blasting their horns for sport.
19th March (Tipitapa – Granada) (42km)
20th March (Granada) ‘Bird Shits on Head’
Back in the land of the USA Retirees sitting around in cafes waffling on about what didn’t happen yesterday and seemingly waiting to die. O’Shea’s Irish Pub in Granada is a godsend with great battered fish & chips and Guinness. I have news which I was reluctant to share on this blog, knowing the sensitivities of my readership. However, in line with the policy of giving all aspects of this trip, I will share. A bird shat on my head today. Yes there I was sitting in the park having a nice juice just minding my own business, when a great dollop of bird turd lobbed onto my freshly shaved head (number two-ed twice!). I understand that in some cultures this is considered good luck. Sadly I do not belong to any of these cultures. First a frickin’ steam roller runs me over then a bird craps on my head. I am indeed a man more sinned against than sinning.
21st March (Granada – St Jorge) (70km)
22nd March (St Jorge – Border - Liberia) (117km)