Every time I travel, I tend to fall in love with a particular city. And I’m not going to lie – it’s usually because of a boy. A wonderfully, handsome boy that I fall in love with for the 10 hours – 36 hours we are together. And then, when we each go off in our own direction, the spell breaks, and I look back on our time together as wonderful and magical and fleeting. The best kind of love affairs.
This time, I fell in love with and in Leon, Nicaragua. I had convinced James and Jorgba to join me. We took a collectivo, essentially a van-bus (for a whole 1.50$), to Leon and headed to the Bigfoot Hostel.
We really had one goal. To board down Volcano Negro. Jorgba was only joining us for a day, he had to return to Managua to hop on a bus with his broken bike and make his way to Panama where he would catch a flight to Colombia to meet up with his love.
I think Jorgba deserves his own paragraph. A Turkish guy biking his way through Central America. He was a musician by trade. He had grown up in Germany. He had left Turkey and made his way to Medellin, Colombia. He had found home. And the love of a woman. He told the story many times to many people after my insistent urging. He had reached out to her via Couch Surfing and asked to stay at her place. Feeling uncomfortable with having a male in her apartment, she offered to meet him for coffee. He said he felt no immediate attraction towards her. He said he had dated supermodels and this girl was no where close to that. But he said the more he spent time with her, the more he fell in love with her soul. Her voice was melodic to him. He knew that she was the one. It was as simple as that. He took up biking up Central America with a plan to return to Colombia, pick up her and her bike and cycle towards Ecuador where he was going to ask him to marry her. Swoon. I cried every time. I’m still crying.
That night, we hopped into a military truck and headed towards the beach: Las Penitas. Bigfoot had another hostel there and we were going to a beach party. With so many people squished into the military truck, I ended up sitting in front of a gorgeous Swiss guy with my legs in between his. We started chatting. And yes, my opening line was, sorry that I’m already in between your legs. We got to the party and separated. I drank with my old friends and a bunch of new friends. He eventually came to join us. We moved our party to the beach. It was such a beautiful evening. The ocean was calm, the waves rolling in towards us, before silently leaving, the moon was full and white, and the stars; the stars were just so incredible. At one point, my friends left us alone at the beach where we talked and kissed until 4:00.After realizing we missed the shuttle, we called a taxi and made our way back to our hostel, where, we kissed and walked around the city with James until 7 in the morning. Yes, we saw sun rise. It was gorgeous, peeking out behind the old buildings and the cathedral of Leon. We never exchanged contact information and I went to sleep completely infatuated with this 31 year old Swiss mechanical engineer who spoke five languages and knew how to surf.
The next day, Jorgba, James and I walked around Leon looking for hangover food. I wish I had been more coherent that morning and taken the name down of the restaurant, or even the street name, because it was delicious. There was a buffet and I just pointed at things. It was loaded onto a huge plate and for 4 or 5 dollars, I had the best meal. That is the greatest hangover food you could ever have.
After our little walk about, we ended up at this step next to the hostel that we had spent the previous day sitting at. And this is my favorite travel memory from Nicaragua. We spent the day, sitting on this step and talking. About everything and anything. And we just talked and talked and the boys smoked and we drank. It was Jorgba’s last day with us and it was hard. We kept drawing out the moment so he wouldn’t leave. Our little group was losing a member. We joked with others at the hostel that we were looking for a third to fulfill our group. And when it came time to lose Jorgba, I think we had tears. We exchanged emails and promises to visit in Colombia. And then Jorgba was gone. James and I return to our room – because of our threesome status, we had been given a cute little loft of death – and climbed the ladder to our little floor. It was extraordinarily sad.
James and I went to the beach and walked around and talked. We came back and ended up walking through a festival honoring the three wise men. It was incredible. We found some dinner and went to sleep early, as we were going to be the volcano boarding the next day.
I did really fall in love with Léon. I met some of my favorite people here – and people I would see later in San Juan. I loved just walking around the city and hanging out. We talked with so many locals about their salaries and their way of life here in Nicaragua. There’s just no way I can put it into words, I don’t know how. I didn’t even take pictures of the city. I was just so enamored by the views, the people, the food and just being there. Does that make sense? Plus, I know I will be back. There are certain cities I feel that pull from – those invisible strings that connect me with them; Budapest, Trento, Monteverde, Picton, Prague – and now Léon.
We woke up early and signed up for volcano boarding! We got our tank tops, changed into them and hopped into the military-styled truck. Here we go!
**Practical info: I stayed at the Bigfoot Hostel. I think it was $8.00 a night for a bed in a room with A/C. Becuase there were three of us, we got this cool loft thing with a ladder and three beds – dangerous when drunk, but pretty cool.