Nicaragua: Leon

Our trip to Leon started bright and early at 6:30am.  It was about a 3 hour drive from San Juan.  We stopped on the way for a famous treat in Nicaragua—quesillos and tiste.  A quesillo is a tortilla wrapped around cream, onions and cheese.  It wasn’t the best thing I’ve tried, but not the worst either.  Joshua thoroughly enjoyed the tiste which is a corn maiz powder mixed with milk and cocoa.  It is thick, not very cold and tastes to me like a terrible protein shake, but for Joshua—heaven.

The cup is carved from an inedible fruit and is composed of two pieces, the base and the cup which has a round bottom.  As we passed the cup, the pedestal was left behind; everyone screamed with delight (except for Joshua who screamed in horror) as one poor person set the round-bottomed cup on the table and we all watched it tip!

Our first stop in Leon was the Cathedral which was supposed to be built in Lima, Peru until the plans were mistakenly sent to Leon instead.  It is one of the three places in Nicaragua with an indigenous black Jesus statue.  From the top of the Cathedral you are able to see over 12 of the volcanoes in the Nicaragua area, as well as the entire city set up.

How abierto is that shirt?!

We toured a museum of the revolution where we were guided by a man who fought with the Sandinistas.  He had no nails on his fingers and a dislocated elbow from the torture he received.  He was a great storyteller…and had the stories to tell.

Leon is colorful and packed with murals depicting the history of Nicaragua from Spanish colonialism to their own revolution.

Our final stop was at the original city center of Leon which was devastated by the volcano in the 1800’s.  We visited the ruins of the Veracruz church that was built using adobe by indigenous people in the 16th century.  It still holds weddings; last year a local Nicaraguan married an American among the rubble—the group pushed us to do our own ceremony on the spot—but we know Joshua’s grandparents would have killed us!

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