We only had a morning left in Leon but had probably left the best sight until last so off we went to see the Cathedral de La Asuncion which is on the main square. It was undergoing a bit of a facelift and clean so one side was covered in scaffolding but the bits they had cleaned were a brilliant white!! The lady at Granada had told us that it was painted with egg whites but I have a feeling she meant it was painted the colour egg white. We really shouldn’t laugh at someone whose English was not their first language but we had a good chuckle no the less.
Apparently this cathedral was meant to have been built in Lima but the plans got switched and so Leon benefitted from getting a much larger cathedral than they were meant to. It’s certainly quite a huge cathedral for the size of town and apparently the biggest in Central America. Well we paid our money and climbed to the roof which was boiling hot with the sun radiating off of the white!!
It reminded us a little of some of the Gaudi shapes and buildings. It was awesome to have the place to ourselves and while Leon isn’t exactly the most beautiful of towns it was still nice to get a good view.
Leon was certainly growning on us but we had to move on to Esteli and that meant a trip on the infamous Chicken Buses.
Now in Leon there is a market and a bus station but we found out the day before that the market seems to have spilt over into the bus station so it all seems to have become one. Vibrant to say the least. Still we feel that we are getting pretty comfortable with these crazy bus systems and were soon on the bus and even managed to pick up some lunch too!!
It’s funny what a smile and a relaxed attitude can do, because we felt we were being looked after by everyone at the bus station and all the shouting we just understood to be the way they advertise where the buses were going. It was funny to watch some others attempt to do the same as us, getting all annoyed with everyone and getting very stressed. We certainly felt like old hats.
Waiting for the bus to go was like sitting in an oven but finally with sweat pouring off of everyone we left for Esteli. The conductor was very excited that he had 8 gringos on the bus, we weren’t sure whether it was a record!!
We arrived safely at Esteli and it was a nice change in temperature but we certainly noticed that it wasn’t exactly a tourist town as we’re getting stared at quite a bit but again getting pretty used to that. In fact as soon as we say hi they tend to break into a huge smile and return the greeting!!
Our lady at the hostel couldn’t have been more helpful. She helped us sort out getting to Somoto Canyon by ourselves the next day and sorted out a taxi driver to take us on a trip around the area and suggested cigar factories and restaurants for us to visit. It really made it all a bit easy, brilliant.
We finished the day off with a walk around town. Esteli is certainly just a functional town, surrounded by farmlands and there were plenty of Nicaraguan Cowboys and farmers around town. We enjoyed our little walk and were looking forward to the next couple of days. T
One of the old churches we got to walk past every time we left the hostel.
The outside of the Cathedral de La Asuncion was surrounded by lions.
Our first glimpse out onto the roof.
All brilliant whites and wonderful shapes, it makes you wonder whether this was designed to have tourists walking around on the rooftops.