06 Jan

Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro, Nicaragua

Would you strap a plywood board to your ass and hurtle down an active volcano at breakneck speed?

When I found out that volcano boarding was a ‘thing’ here in Nicaragua I just knew that my adrenalin addicted self was going to HAVE to do it!

Cerro Negro is just one volcano in a whole string of them here in Central America. It’s not hard to imagine the ‘Ring of Fire’ being active in this region as you can see the volcano cones lined up across the otherwise flat landscape. Cerro Negro hasn’t erupted since 1999 but that doesn’t mean it’s dormant and signs such as these warning of eruption risk quickly bring the danger home.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

The bus dropped us off near the top and left us to hike the last 45 minutes to the top. That’s Cerro Negro (Black Hill) in the background. It is such a young volcano that is has nary a life form clinging to it.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

We hiked with our boards up through the rocky beginning.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

Until it flattened out a bit into a well worn path.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

Steadily up and up, battling the increasing wind that threatened to make a kite of my board and take me with it!

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

The last frontier; up on the ledge with the crater on one side and a quick ride to the bottom on the other.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

The crater isn’t currently active. Little more than a couple of steam vents and some sulphur stained rocks. Still impressive, though, don’t get me wrong.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

My first look at the run we’re to go down. It was a wee bit steeper than it looked from the bottom – in fact I couldn’t see the bottom of the run from the top. A few butterflies took up residence in my gut.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

Suited up and ready to go. Safety first, right? Zoot suit, elbow and knee pads, and goggles; that should take care of any impending doom.

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

Here I come…

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

Honestly, I wish I had gone faster but it goes by so quickly that by the time I had it figured out, it was over. A tip for those who are thinking of going…pull up on the rope, use your feet just to guide you, and let it go…you’ll be at the bottom before you know it!

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

What a hoot! I wore this smile for days afterward!

Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro

One more tip. Use the sled, not the sandboarding option. Those who opted to stand and go down ended up slow and frustrated; it’s not at all like snowboarding and didn’t look like fun at all!

01 Jan

Settling In To Granada, Nicaragua

We’ve been here in Granada, Nicaragua for 6 weeks now. I know, time flies.

It is turning out to be just what I needed.

We’ve settled into a beautiful, colonial house directly across from one of the oldest churches in town. I love sitting and listening to the Spanish hymns as they float down into the courtyard. Soon we will move into a smaller apartment in a real neighborhood (we’re currently in more of an expat neighborhood); I’m looking forward to listening for the roaming vendors, seeing how daily life plays out, and finding a local place to grab a bite.

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada is a beautiful, well kept city. There are a few really beautiful churches; the main one dominates the central square while others are dotted around.

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

Along with some buildings that may not be as well preserved, but are still beautiful in their own way.

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

The city holds onto history in many ways. The streets are narrow and are lined with doorways that, sometimes, open to reveal the beauty hidden inside. Transportation is often by horse and buggy, or bicycle (although there are plenty of modern cars around too!). Vendors roam the streets calling out their wares, and going to the morning market is a daily task.

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

We’ve settled into a nice routine; work, yoga, Spanish class, making meals, and relaxing on the porch in the evening. We have friends! It’s a lot like living at home but in a place where I don’t always know what’s going on. It’s just what I needed; a chance to settle and reflect, plan for the future, and build for the coming year.

We’re looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings for us. Happy New Year to all of you; may 2015 be good to each of you.

Granada, Nicaragua