|From Santa Lucia we made our way over three days (via Danlí - yuck, and Estelí - marginally better) into the mountains of northern Nicaragua. Just north of the town of Matagalpa is the Selva Negra Coffee Plantation which doubles as a sort of weekend getaway jaunt for urban Nicas (you really have to pronounce that one carefuly!)
The scenery in the area is stunning - all green rolling hills, lush coffee fields and clear mountain streams, the hotel however looks like a german ski lodge circa 1964.
I'm not sure how we continually find ourselves in such quirky locations, but this one was right up there. The place was all faux rock, chintz cutains and artwork by the talentless German proprietor.
We spent our days following some of the trails through the surrounding hills, being chased by howler monkies(apparently my impersination was a little too close to the mark) and basically chilling out as we face the impending end of our trip.
The second day at Selva Negra coincided with my birthday. There's not a lot of party to be had in the Nicaraguan Highlands, but we aquired a decent bottle of Chillean wine and spent a pleasant evening overlooking the mountain lake until Rob hyperventelated on his Esplendido and had to retire injured.
I sincerely promise to make up for such a quiet celebration over the next few weeks.