One of my annual, late-year blog traditions finds me posting a bit of fond nostalgia about holiday season travel memories from years past. I am snowed in from work as I write this, but my absence merely kicks off a mid-December “stay-cation” that is long overdue; I shopped for holiday airfares to both New York City and Chicago, and while I ultimately had just enough frequent flier miles for a free round-trip ticket, I passed at the last minute, knowing that I would still spend mad money not only seeing the sights but also buying food and drink for whichever friend/friends would end up putting me up for a few days. Okay, had I been able to score “Hamilton” tickets ahead of time I may have pounced – resulting credit card debt be damned – but as things stand currently, return trips to both the Big Apple and the Second City will have to wait.
As for the annual holiday travel posts, I neglected to make such a post in November or December of last year, which seems odd considering I rang in New Year’s Day of that very year in warm, wonderful Nicaragua! It was my first trip to Latin America since moving back to the States from Mexico with my tail between my legs. Likewise, it was my first trip to Nicaragua, and my first time meeting longtime online friend José, whose family hosted me at their seasonal home in Nicaragua’s former capital, León.
León, Nicaragua (2016-17)
Continue reading “Holiday Travels – Part Nine”
As a Northern Hemisphere denizen, I cannot help but mention the weather in any wintertime photo locale post in which the location is in a warmer clime. After all, with bomb cyclones and polar vortexes having placed much of the U.S. and Canada in a deep freeze for the first week of the new year (even Florida had snow for the first time in 30 years!), it only makes sense to write about some place warmer.
For this month’s entry, that place is Granada, Nicaragua. This jewel of Spanish colonial architecture in Central America, Nica’s one time capital and the country’s most conservative city is one of the most vibrant towns on the planet. I can hardly believe that it was exactly one year since my visit.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – January 2018”
Some evenings, when sleep is slow to come, I watch the show “Naked and Afraid.” If you aren’t familiar with the show’s premise, it pairs up an adventurous man and woman who have never met before and drops them off into the hostile wilderness for 21 days. They are removed of clothes and personal belongings and left to fend for themselves. There is, of course, an element of phoniness to the whole thing, as medics and camera crewmen are never more than a few steps away. Still, the editing, which focuses largely on the snakes (vegetarians, avert your eyes) they often eat and on the ruggedness of the terrain, makes for a thrilling hour of reality television.
A recent episode found the protagonists in a rural swath of Nicaraguan jungle. Humidity was in the high double digits and there was an even larger presence of venomous snakes than normal, but of course our heroes survived their ordeal, dirtier and skinnier but otherwise little worse for wear. The episode reminded me of my recent trip to Nicaragua, a country about which I have not written nearly enough aside from a single photo gallery in late January. In particular, watching the participants navigate steep slopes and contend with ankle-twisting tree root “stairs” recalled the vigorous 12 hours during which time I successfully climbed Concepción, at 5,282 feet/1,610 meters the country’s second-highest volcano.
Continue reading “Climbing Concepción Volcano”
León is the longtime liberal stronghold of Nicaragua, and the nation’s second-largest city. Founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, León, 11 miles from the Pacific Ocean, has for centuries battled with older Granada, on the western shores of Lake Nicaragua, for ruling supremacy. They took turns assuming the role of capital of Nicaragua for centuries, until neutral Managua, somewhere in between the two cities, took over the role permanently.
But the León of today is different than the Leon of the 16th century. Modern León, in fact, sits 20 miles east of León Viejo (Old León), destroyed by an earthquake less than 100 years after its founding, and subsequently buried under layers of volcanic ash by nearby Momotombo, the still-active volcano that sits across another lake, Lago de Managua, from the ruins.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – January 2017”
It has been four years since I made a year-in-review post such as the one you’ve just started reading. But 2016 has been an interesting year. I was promoted twice, took a few day trips, and bought a car. On the other hand, my mom passed away, as did countless artists and celebrities, all of them before their time. Additionally, my general stress level seemed to increase tenfold. There have been times, during these last two months in particular, when it seemed as if 2016 would never end.
2016 highlights and lowlights
What a year it’s been!
Continue reading “2016: A Year to (Not) Remember”