We arrived in Leon on Friday, Jan 10th. The first afternoon we walked to the main square stopping off at Carnivore for lunch...basically huge tacos. From here we went on to the Central Plaza.
It is a huge square in front of the cathedral with lots of vendors selling touristy kitsch, a sidewalk restaurant Seseta. It has white buildings surrounding it..some are like corner stores, a Revolution Museum, bars that sell hot dogs as well as beer.
We took a street from one corner walked 2 blocks and over one to a private art museum with a collection of paintings....from Central American to European art. Most are originals. Some are by students of Cezanne. There are many sculptures included. One I liked was of branches suspended artistically on apatio around an atrium. The collection is housed in 2 buildings. It was well worth the stop.
It was well past 4p when we arrived back at the Central Plaza and climbed the many steps to the roof-top of the cathedral. The first thing that struck us was the very Moorish design with domes whitewashed and gleaming in the sun. We had hoped to see the sun set from here but saw only the views out over the city. We were chased off the roof as it closed at 5p at 5.10p. The sun sets at 5.30-5.45p. It irked that a tour group was allowed to stay...because they had paid, but so had we!
We went lookingg for the Supermercado to buy water, found it and then looked for a Cuban restaurant we had heard was good. It was okay, had a very small menu.
Back at the hotel we had a swim and settled.
Yesterday was filled with angst as Gord again attempted to book bus tickets from San Salvador to Guatemala City. He has to wait.
We then attempted to go to Flor de Cane...a rum distillery. We were told to be ready at 2p. A knock came at 1.30p and an annoyed driver waited. We were late! He only spoke Spanish. We drove to Chichichang but missed the tour by 15 min. We booked for this a.m. and were driven back. Yes..his mistake and we had to pay full price! He had told the hotel 2p. At 7.55a we were at the door and Joe Edwin arrived....same car...at 7.59a. We stopped for diesel and went on. The road is under construction and has delays. Our 1/2 hour trip took less time today...3/4 of an hour.
Upon arrival, after buying our tickets, we discovered a pool of dark fluid by the right fron tire. We walked through and left the driver to deal with the problem.
Most of the tour spoke Spanish so the guide would translate for us after his Spanish explanations. It was interesting to see that single use white oak bourbon barrels from the USA are used for 35 years here. They are taken apart, reinforced with stripped plantain leaves...to stop leaks...and put back together. Another interesting thing was that the rum is distilled 5 times. It is taken from the barrels and combined with rum from the same batch. The main ingredient is molasses from sugarcane. It is a completely environmental process using sugarcane boyth for the fire and the ingredients. It is pure with no additives or preservatives. Aged 18 yr. Rum has no sugar left in it....we performed the test of putting a dime size amount in hand and rubbing them together...no stickiness...no sugar...50 cals. The sugar is distilled out.
Of course there were samples....7, 18 dark rums and a 4 year coconut white rum yum.
After the tour we found Joe waiting for us with a taxi. A Costa Rican travel agent had offered to drive us home but no. We were taken into town Chichichanga, where we found the car blocked in the street, a wheel off and a mechanic hard at work. We were pointed to a chair...for me. Gord sat on a low wall. For 1/2 hour the mechanic worked. His younger cohort explained in English that a seal had worn out allowing automatic transmission oil to spill. We were lucky to have arrived.
It was soon fixed, Joe paid and we were on our way back 26 kms to Leon. Once back he demanded full payment and accused Gord of giving him a ripped bill yesterday. None of our bills are ripped. And he told him so. And showed him the other bills he had.
We went for lunch at a Chinese restaurant....huge bowls of veggie sopa....and tasty. We got more water at the supermarket and went back to rest in rhe cool ac room.
Now Gord is at the pool discussing life on the road.
We have found we much prefer Granada. It has better restaurants....more restaurants. It to me seems safer although we have had no problems.
Tomorrow we will drive to Managua during the pm and take a 2a bus on the 14th to San Salvador.