This week was student directed travel week. We got to do what we wanted when we wanted, where we wanted. To save money, to be used for activities, we stayed all five days in a beautiful hostel, located off the main street in Granada and cooked many of our meals ourselves. During our stay we had private, two person bedrooms, access to a full kitchen, free phone calls to the USA, internet access, and a swimming pool. Being in a walking boot because of broken toe, I did not get much time in the pool. Instead, I found ways to have fun just hanging out around the pool and taking pictures when our group was enjoying their time in it.
We had a lot of downtime in the beginning of the week. It wasn't till yesterday (April 3rd), that we really started doing things as a whole group. In the beginning of the week we explored Granada, We explored many of the local markets, the gorgeous churches, and a chocolate museum. The markets are filled with bracelets, necklaces, paintings, magnets and much more. Everything I had seen except for shirts, hats, and other things like that, was handmade in Nicaragua. The churches are filled, wall to wall, with paintings, even on the ceiling. There are many beautiful sculptures of many important biblical people. In the chocolate museum there are sculptures, paintings, coffee, chocolate, and even some amazing chocolate samples. The chocolate tasted amazing. If only it wasn't so hot here I would bring some home.
Our first big activity during student directed travel happened yesterday. As a group we all traveled to the Masaya Markets. These markets were huge. There was a touristy/craft market, where many souvenirs were bought. There was also a more local market that offered everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to pedicures, haircuts, fresh meat, rice and clothes. Personally I liked the more touristy market more because of the vast colors, sizes and amount of bracelets, cups and paintings there was.
The boat tour of the infamous Isletas (little islands) near Granada was a cool experience. We got a entire tour of the islands and animals around one side of Lake Nicaragua. There was so many cool birds, plants, and monkeys around the edge. At one point we stopped and monkey named Lucy climbed into our boat. That was my favorite experience on the boat tour. I have never been that close to a wild monkey before.
Zip lining was another highlight of our week; it was amazing. We were high amongst the trees. Flying through the air and doing different tricks will be an experience I will never forget. There were a few group members who had never been zip lining before. I went first and showed them the ropes. If felt so nice to have the wind blowing through my hair and I was the bravest one in our group daring to go upside and backwards. I think everyone had a good time because of the smiles on everyone's faces.
On our next adventure we are headed to Costa Rica to work with the sea turtles. I can´t wait.