Nicaragua Trip: Day 2.2

I was 100% right.  My first full day in Nicaragua was a very, very good day.  I ate breakfast at the hostel’s wee restaurant then went for a brief searching walk.  I hadn’t thought to bring a towel with me and the tiny thing the hostel gave me may have dried my hands, but not much else.  Then, while I was getting dressed after yoga, my deodorant met with a rather unfortunate accident: right into the toilet.  Eww.  On top of that, the $20 sunscreen I bought in Costa Rica was the biggest aerosol bottle known to man, and would not fit in my backpack without giving up clean underwear.  Needless-to-say, this Lucy had some shoppin’ to do before I could go anywhere.  Luckily, the hostel was situated close to the heart of town and it didn’t take long before my search was successful.

La Laguna de ApoyoMy plan for the day was to take the hostel-offered day trip to la Laguna de Apoyo, which left at 10.  It was so very, very worth the $6 van ride!   The place the tour went to was the  sister hostel of Oasis.  We got to spend the day using their facilities at the lake for free, and it was awesome.  Aside from the few workers there, our van load of folks were the only people there.  Thefirst thing I did was grab a kayak.  I’ve missed paddling since I’ve been down here, and was excited to get to go out.  I had the wonderful, chatty company of a couple of the new friends I made on the short bus ride- all from New York.  One of the girls paddled out to catch up with me and we talked and talked and talked…  It was wonderful to have someone with similar perspectives to do something fun with.

A bowl of blue sky tops the bowl of the laguna.

La Laguna de Apoyo is a massive, deep, blue lake set down in the bowl of a volcanic caldera, surrounded by the rounded peaks of the volcano’s rim.  It is not heavily populated, and therefore is incredibly clean, clear, and quiet.  As I paddled along the lake I marveled at the few houses and things dotting the shore.  They ranged from large, luxurious homes to small, thatched-roof cabanas, and included both a few other hostels/hotels and a wide, terraced public park area.  The lake itself is deceptively sized.  Because of how high up the rim climbs, the lake looks smaller than it really is.  Just paddling 1/2 way across the narrower end took the better part of an hour.  Crossing the whole lake would be, I think, beyond my capacity.  The blue, blue water, constantly stirred up into choppy waves, is not fresh.  It’s high mineral content leaves it with a slightly saline taste, and the lack of outlet leaves it warmer than one might expect.  Swimming in it was like diving into a warm bath filled with colorful fish (if you floated still enough and looked down into the water).  Perfect.

Life-vests look dorky.

After a couple of hours of paddling, I  pulled up chairs in the shade at the hostel and read a while, chatting with the other folks around me.  Good food from the little restaurant.  Great breeze.  A little swimming in the lake.  A little walking around the area.  And a few new friends.  Amazing.

Back at Oasis, in the late afternoon our group split up for showers, hammocks, and other pursuits. I headed off for a stroll, really looking to buy a new sundress.  I didn’t find anything, but I enjoyed the walk.  I was slowly familiarizing myself with the neighborhood around the hostel.  I did find the open-air market (which I didn’t photograph much of ) and bought bananas, fresh queso, and a perfect, ripe pineapple.  I’ll eat those for breakfast soon, since the hostel has an open kitchen.

After a shower and a nice, long skype chat with a friend back home, I wandered out to the common area in search of someone to have dinner with.  And, could you believe, I found my new friends, and one other girl- this one from Sweden- on their way to find food.  I was quick to join them, believe me!  I don’t mind eating alone, but it’s so much more fun to do so with company.

We walked through the central square and down one of the streets beyond it to a wonderful little restaurant with a menu full of yummy pastas.  Yay!  We talked for hours, sitting and drinking coffee, laughing, and just enjoying being young and free and out in the wide, wide world.

New friends and kayaks on the lake: It's a good day.

It was disappointing to learn that my new acquaintances were all leaving early the next morning for different areas of the country.  It’s the way of new travel friends, though, and  I’m sure I will find other folks to meet up with, talk to, get to know.  Hostels tend to be like that.  It’s the nature of the kind of people who stay in them- we travel cheap, often solo, and do it for the adventure of seeing the world and tasting the food, we’re social and friendly and open to meeting new people who are like us.  And so we do.