A Day in Leon

Our day started really early – we were traveling on the cheap, and wanted to catch an early chicken bus from Jinotega to Matagalpa so that we could have better options for transport from Matagalpa to Leon.  We were hoping to avoid going through Managua for both the distance (extra time of travel) & expense, but the options are fewer going this route.

We made it! In actual record time I would say.  Chicken Bus from Jinotega to Matagalpa and then an expresso van from Matagalpa to Leon.  We made it by lunch!

From the bus terminal we took 2 taxi’s to a hotel that had been recomended to us by our friend Mike back in San Juan del Sur.  We had know idea it was the fanciest place in all of Leon! When we learned the price we knew we’d have to go elsewhere.  When we asked the man at the desk where he would recomend to us, he looked at us weary travelers with all of our stuff and offered us a cheaper price – that included breakfast! It was still a stretch, but we siad YES! And we were so glad that we did! La Perla was an amzing hotel with so many comforts.  Owned by a man originally from Vail, CO Mike was excited to get to meet him just by chance down in the lobby.  With only 24 hours to do Leon well – La Perla gave us a great home-base.  We were able to have two rooms for about $120.00 US.

For more information on La Perla in English:

http://laperlaleon.com/

Miranda took over as our photographer for the rest of our time in Leon!

The famous Leon Museum of Legends and Traditions! What a blast this place is.  If in Leon, this is a must go to!  http://vianica.com/attraction/58/museum-of-legends-and-traditions

León is a city rich in history. The area is known for its many legends, which were – and still are – passed from generation to generation. The museum of legends and traditions has an interesting collection of objects related to about 14 myths and legends. Most of them are from León, and every single one has a different story behind it.

The museum offers a great place to learn more about the golden crocodile, the beheaded priest, or the Spanish colonel. The guides can tell you everything about the history behind the legends, as well as about another interesting parts of the museum: the history of the building itself.

The museum is located inside a building that served as a prison during the regime of the Somoza family. This prison was constructed in 1921, and therefore called ‘Cárcel la XXI’, or ‘Prison 21’. You can see some of the prison cells, as well as the protection wall that surrounds the building.

After our visit to this museum, we wandered our way back towards the cathedral.  We had met a woman collecting donations for deaf children earlier, and she invited us to come back to the cathedral for a tour including a chance to go on the roof.  We weren’t sure if it was legit, or if we wanted to go on the roof, but we headed back that way none the less.  Along the way, we came upon the Revolution Museum.  Another great stop on our journey.  Our tour guide had fought in the revolution and had many stories to share.

During the 1979 revolution, the Sandinistas took over León in violent street by street fighting. Somoza then had the city bombed, an unforgivable move considering he was bombing his own people. The National Guard took León back over, again in street by street fighting, but this time less intense since the Sandinistas melted away. Finally, the Sandinistas took León back over and held it until the Somoza government fell. You can still see bullet marks on some buildings. Also, there is a shell of a church on the road out of town that was destroyed during the bombing.

We had a full day of exploring and adventure and ended to day with a cheap pizza dinner back at the hotel.

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We all slept well and then enjoyed the hotel breakfast before catching our next chicken Bus – this one back to Chinandega.

 

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