Doomsday – or not?

Date: 20/12
City: Leon, Nicaragua
Kilometres ridden: 194
Cumulative kilometre: 28825

In the middle of the night, around 3:30AM, there were fireworks and church bells ringing. We imagined that this was the way to inform the troops that the enemy was approaching and the fireworks were used to brighten the sky – doomsday was close after all. But..not in this case, it was just to signal that Christmas was close. It was the fourth day before Christmas celebration. I believe the line of thought of the church must be: if you’re awake, you can go to church, so the pastor made sure that everybody was awake (3 rounds of firework and church bell torture in 10 to 15 minute intervals). Anyway after the bell/firework torture was finished, we could finally sleep, the rest of the nigh was a bit more quiet.
In the morning we went back to the nice restaurant with peter, the one where we had dinner yesterday. There we had a great breakfast. It looked like this shop was popular with the people living here. Peter decided to travel to a lake, settle there for a couple of days and plan the rest of his Central America trip. We decided to have a look at Leon, a nice city with plenty of active Volcanos around.
Thinking about it, was it a good choice to travel to active Volcanos on DOOMS day?
Time will tell... So Peter left first, we said goodbye and off he went. We left a bit later and rode to Leon where we found a hostel with pool, WiFi in the rooms, hammocks and coffee the whole day… Β aka Paradise.
Since it was hot, we had to try the pool immediately; I couldn’t decide what to do first, so I drank the coffee in the pool πŸ˜€

We had a short look around the town, and guess what, there were plenty of churches. This time I could limit the visit to just one church, phew.

Hmm, let’s see what’s happening tomorrow (Doomsday).

Date: 21/12
City: Leon, Nicaragua
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 28825

I wrote a post in the morning and took a couple of pictures of how everybody was nervously waiting for the end of the world.

We thought that it would be the perfect time to slide down an active volcano – the Cerro Negro.
When we booked the trip for the afternoon we got told that we would ride as pillions on another motorcycle… Hrmmm why not? It’s doomsday after allΒ πŸ™‚
At two o’clock we jumped on the bikes with our drivers, after Bonny – my driver – assured us that he and his friend rode off-road races in Panama City and that we would be safe. So the journey started, first over roads with plenty of pebbles and then it got worse – the next 45 minutes we were riding/sliding through sand, dodging cows, horses and four wheel drives on a sandy road… Β Well, path.
Below is a picture of both riders and one bike, have a look at his protective gear (white top)
I guess it has a magic spell that protects the rider when he falls of the bike. πŸ˜›

At one place my driver got a bit close to a sandy dune, hit the boards at the back and both of them broke. Bonny told us that there are other boards at the office, so we continued. Below is the broken board, it wasn’t me J

He managed the bike really well, but still a sliding back wheel puts a knot into my stomach, I’m a bad pillion. After the longest 45min in the last couple of years, we arrived at the office, where we changed our gear to sport shoes and shorts. Then we started to walk up the Volcano, Sigrid was carrying the bag and the board, I couldn’t, as I had to take pictures πŸ˜€

Unfortunately, Sigrid figured it out quickly and asked for the camera, now I was carrying the board and the helmet :/

Towards the top it god really windy, but the view was magnificent. From the top we could see the two other active volcanos around here; one was consistently billowing white smoke, Doomsday?

When we looked down we could see the path we came up and the lava that had streamed out of the vulcano during the last eruption (1999).

At the top, our guide removed a bit of topsoil and the earth below was so hot that we couldn’t touch it… Amazing!
We took some pictures before we put our protective gear on.

When we walked to the launch place, we stumbled across a small critter who tried to hide from the wind, our guide said it is a porcupine.

Here we are ready for the slide down.

Off we go.

We arrived safe and sound – without any problems.

Now the next scary bit started – the ride back as a pillion through the sandy paths. Both our drivers did a great job to bring us back without any incidents. What a day, it looks like we’ve survived doomsday! Yippee!! πŸ™‚

Date: 22/12
City: Leon, Nicaragua
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 28825

Hurray, now we are sure. We survived the 21th of December, the interpretation of that one Mayan about the Maya calendar was wrong!Β  πŸ™‚
Happy new start of the 14th BaktΓΊn! Today was a maintenance day so nothing exciting happened except that Sigrid went to the hairdresser and I polished our boots. πŸ™‚
What a nice quiet day – don’t know if this is worth mentioning in our blog πŸ˜›

At night we saw some kids going from house to house and showing a parody of some Spanish conquistadors. This is commonly done from November to the end of December. The large puppet represents a Spanish lady and the small guy is the person making fun of her.

Later on there was a group of parents and kids going from house to house and singing, which gave us a bit of a Christmas feeling.

Tomorrow we leave Leon and ride to our Christmas retreat, the coffee plantation 160km from here.

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