23 May 2016

Like always there’s some places that instantly warms my heart and makes me feel at home, although home never was tropical and cheap as dirt. Literally the moment I crossed the border to Nicaragua and saw Ometepe Island rising out of the water in the shape of two volcanos, I felt a smile spread across my face. And when my taxi rounded the corner on to the beachfront in San Juan Del Sur and I could see the waves crashing against the shore, it was quite a magical feeling being so happy knowing that this would be my home for almost a year.

Sweaty and feeling slightly bitch slapped after a border crossing that I could’ve done blindfolded and still have felt as enlightened as I did, San Juan Del Sur lay before me as a revelation in blues and greens. It was the best imaginable start to my time in Nicaragua. Arriving on Sunday ‘fun day’ the streets where particularly lively from what low season has showed me so far. I dropped my bags off at Casa Delfín, the cheapest out of the two places I tried. “I am NOT walking for miles in this heat with a backpack strapped to me on every angle”. Said the girl who is spending 8 months hiking volcanos. Shut up and go get a Toña. So I did. San Juan is that beach hub you can’t get enough of. How can you resist when guilty pleasures are lined up everywhere you turn. Like beachfront restaurants that serve great food and ice cold beer while you sit and watch the sun melt into the ocean. Or cool cafes in bright colours where you can indulge in caramel frappuccinos and fruit smoothies that makes it hard to ever touch a water bottle again. I am a sucker for this life, I tell you. So when I’m eventually able to get off my ass it’s 80 pro cent out of guilt and 20 pro cent because I want to explore what is out there. I could’ve gone surfing or horseback riding, even fishing, but since I won’t be hiking much I went for a walk. A steep walk. Up to the Christ of Mercy Statue that stands on top of the hill north of San Juan. It is pretty cool from the beach, but even better after a 30 minutes climb through concrete jungle aka rich man villas with infinity pools. I don’t know how I will survive hiking in this weather cause my backpack will literally weigh 50 kilos from all the water I’m gonna need. After an hour and a half I had gulped 2 liters of water and although I felt full, I was still thirsty. And I didn’t even have a backpack with me. This is gonna get rough. But no point in crying yet, the walk itself went fine even though it was steep and it was absolutely worth the amazing views I got to witness when I could finally see something through the river of sweat that kept blurring my vision.

After a hike like that it was vital to not do anything for the rest of the day except, swimming, sun bathing and make up for the lost calories. Recuperation is important.

To continue reading about this moment in Helle’s Year Abroad, you can visit the original post or have a look through her travel blog.