Splette's Travel Blog



Posted in: Cities

My travel mates Ernesto and Gabriel

Erno & Gabo

Living in Costa Rica on a tourist visa means having to leave the country every 90 days. This time, I chose to spend a week in Nicaragua. And I wasn’t going by myself. Two Tico friends from San José had never been to Nicaragua, so we did this trip together.

The Ticabus from San José ($38) was leaving at 3 am in the morning, so I didn’t get to sleep much. We were traveling ejecutivo (first class) which included breakfast. Or should I say ‘breakfast’? It turned out to be an apple pie from Burger King.

Morning mist in Guanecaste, Costa Rica

Morning mist in Guanecaste

As the sun came up, the bus drove through Guanecaste, a part in North West Costa Rica that I hadn’t visited so far. For the first time I saw some wind mills in Central America. Funny, because I strongly associate those with Germany as you see those in many places there. Crossing the border to Nicaragua was hassle-free. They simply collected the passports of all bus passengers and stamped them collectively. Yeah, no annoying questions about proof of onward travel (I didn’t have a return ticket).

A few hours later we arrived in Managua. Once more, I realized what a strange place this is. For various reasons, it doesn’t feel like a capital at all. We arrived at the bus station and checked in at a nearby hostel (‘San Felipe’) which was the nicest place for that price I have seen in Nicaragua, despite the fact that their WiFi ended about one meter before my bed. Well, this is the age of technology, even for travelers, and so our first trip into the city was to a mall to get a nicaragüense SIM card for our cell phones.

The old cathedral of Managua was build in 1931 and destroyed in an earthquake in 1972

‘Evil cathedral’

It’s rainy season, which doesn’t make sightseeing any more fun. Then again, there is not much to see in Managua. The #1 sight in the city is the old cathedral that was partially destroyed in an earthquake in 1972. Since then the ruin is standing at Plaza de la Revolution, looking like the home of the Adams Family. Next to evil cathedral is the National Museum where we found some shelter until the rain passed. I had a slight allergic reaction when I realized that they used the font Comic Sans to label most of their exhibits.

Comic Sans - don't ever use this font please

Comic Sans

Next, we went to the malecón. Not the safest area in the city but the bars here can be fun. A pretty party-hungry big older woman seemed to have laid an eye on me and expectantly gave me a big kiss on both cheeks when she passed by our table. Fashion style is different here, too.

But there are other funny things in Nicaragua. I haven’t seen large Che Guevara portraits in official places in any other country. And the communist past of the country is evident in many places. And by the way, just like in Costa Rica, street names only exist for the most important roads. Who needs street names and house numbers anyway…

The cupolas of the roof of Managua's new cathedral slightly remember a female body part. Hence it's nickname.

Managua’s new cathedral. Notice the roof.

In 1993 a new cathedral was built. Apparently, funding was tight (only $4.5 Mio). The bare concrete appearance of the cathedral’s inside initially sparked some controversy. Perhaps that is the reason why the locals refer to their new church as La Chichona (chiches = breasts).

The new cathedral inside has a very concrete charm

Concrete cathedral

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1 Comment

  • Comment by Zoe — September 12, 2012 @ 12:43 am

    Haha love it! Keep posting!

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