Antigua, Guatemala vs. Granada, Nicaragua

“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”
― Roman Payne, Cities & Countries 

Both Antigua, Guatemala and Granada, Nicaragua are charming old colonial cities that for many years were the political, religious, and economic hearts of Central America. How do these colonial cities compare? You may be surprised to discover that there are more similarities than differences.

There are a handful of both dormant and active volcanoes close to Antigua. You can see several of them from any vantage point in Antigua. The most popular volcano destination is Vulcán Pacaya. It is always in a near state of eruption with plumes of volcanic gases, steam, and occasional flashes of glowing red lava.

There are also several dormant and active volcanoes one can see around Granada, too. Mombacho Volcano is one of the most popular dormant volcanoes due to its location only 10 km from Granada, its diverse cloud forest, and its four craters. On a clear day, you can see our magnificent active volcano on Ometepe Island, Vulcán Concepcion. Masaya National Park is a short drive from Granada. Easily accessible, one can peer into the steaming crater of this active volcano where political dissidents and prisoners were once thrown.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: My Magnificent Muse

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Muse.

My magnificent muse is Concepcion Volcano. Most of the time she sleeps majestically in my backyard and is a constant source of my artistic inspiration. See for yourself! Webcam for Concepcion Volcano.

No matter what is in front of her, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by her beauty and speculate about her origins and power.
IMG_4053IMG_288021saying goodbye copyIMG_4799

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Off-Season in Nicaragua

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Off-Season.

“en la lluvia, cuando le recuerdo.”
― Sitta Karina

I love the rainy season in Nicaragua. It is the off-season for tourists, a time of tranquility, reflection, growth, and gorgeous sunsets as well as unusual cloud formations.

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The Start of Something Big

IMG_5343My former fifth grade student is visiting Nicaragua for the first time. On her 19th birthday, we took her to Charco Verde to see the monkeys. Returning home in the taxi, we had a flat tire. I couldn’t help but laugh at the taxi driver’s t-shirt. The Start of Something Big
His t-shirt says it all about living in Nicaragua.

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The Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon and Survival Run

It’s that time of the year again. The Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon and Survival Run starts this week. Ron and I are volunteering at the aid stations like we do every year.

Enjoy this little preview of last year’s Survival Run.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Shadowed.

I am constantly amazed at the variety of shadows cast over Volcano Concepcion. The first one is a full moon casting shadows over the lake. I love moon shadows!

The second photo is of cloud shadows on Vulcan Concepcion.

moon over ometepeIMG_6019

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone, But Not Forgotten

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Gone, But Not Forgotten.

Sometimes, I forget that there is an active volcano in our backyard. Today, Concepcion is covered with clouds…gone, but not forgotten.

IMG_5512A spectacular sunset over Lake Cocibolca…gone, but not forgotten.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular

The Weekly Photo challenge is Angular. Angular can mean acting or moving awkwardly.
It certainly applies to our active volcano, Concepcion, when she was inundated with 15 inches of rain overnight on October 8, 2014. In her wake, she left villages destroyed and huge angular cuts in her once smooth body.


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Goodie Bags for Los Ramos

It’s not often that one gets to see immediate results of their donations or knows that all of the money received goes directly to those who need it the most. For $800 we bought over 1,000 pounds of food for 125 families. That averages out to be $6 for each goodie bag.  Thanks, Kris, for figuring that one out for me. :-) No overhead costs, no administrative costs…all the money goes directly to these lovely families of Los Ramos.

On Saturday, Ron and I walked…and sometimes climbed, scooted, and tramped over boulders to get into Los Ramos to help distribute the food bags to each family. See my earlier post.

When we arrived, Ever’s family was busy scooping rice, pouring cooking oil into small plastic bags, and packing the bags for 125 families living in Los Ramos. Landslides destroyed their community.

"Say Pizza," I say as I snap a photo. "Pizza? Where's the pizza?" they all laugh.

“Say Pizza,” I say as I snap a photo. “Pizza? Where’s the pizza?” they all laugh.

Ever's uncle has the slippery job of scooping the cooking oil and pouring it into plastic bags.

Ever’s uncle has the slippery job of scooping the cooking oil and pouring it into plastic bags.

Ever's mother organizes all the bags, and says "Hello world. Thank you for everything."

Ever’s mother organizes all the bags, and says “Hello world. Thank you for everything.”

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Travel Theme: Broken Lives

“This planet is a broken bone that didn’t set right, a hundred pieces of crystal glued together. We’ve been shattered and reconstructed.” ~ Tahereh Mafi

Broken lives…125 families forced to reconstruct their lives from the devastating rock and mudslides on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. Yesterday, Ron and I tramped over boulders and through mud to reach the Los Ramos community to deliver supplies to the families. Take a walk with us so you can see for yourselves Mother Nature’s powerful and destructive forces.

Supplies were delivered at the top of the hill. “So far, this doesn’t look too bad,” I said encouragingly to Ron.

Keep reading. You can’t believe the destruction ahead.