Four countries. Five destinations. Twenty-two collective hours on a bus. One earthquake. One hurricane. It has been one hell of a long week!
Last Sunday we left our beloved Antigua for El Tunco, El Salvador’s surfer’s paradise and haven to party-goers and hipsters alike. We spent a splendid four days sunbathing, drinking, attempting (and failing) to surf and eating our weight in papusas – El Salvador’s national dish and our favourite thing, possibly ever. We then embarked on what was meant to be a nine hour bus ride, through Honduras – which had some insane mountain ranges and a serious waste disposal problem – to Leon, Nicaragua before getting an evening bus to Managua, where a kindly Airbnb lady was awaiting us.
This sadly, did not happen. We narrowly avoided an earthquake, got stuck in a massive traffic jam for three hours (where we watched an episode of Planet Earth 2 on our laptop with 13 strangers), missed our transfer to Managua, left our poor Airbnb lady waiting and stayed in a bogey-coloured room which looked like something out of a Tim Burton film. IT WAS NOT A GOOD DAY.
Thankfully, the kindly Airbnb lady allowed us to move our booking (paid in full) back a day, and we have so far successfully navigated the fourth most murderous city in the world, which is nice. Tomorrow we leave for Granada, which everyone has described as “clean, beautiful and a lot like Antigua”, which sounds rather perfect to us.
As we are now over half way (!) through our trip, we have observed the following:
1) This week has been too manic. Next trip we’re sticking to less destinations and a minimum of four nights per place. We are also musing about renting an apartment for a few weeks, maybe in Chile or Argentina.
2) No more skimping on accommodation. It is so tempting to do everything on an insanely tight budget, but honestly, we’re too old and we worked way too hard to sweat away in a cramped, noisy dorm. Shoestring travel is brilliant, but preferably with A/C and a private room, thank you very much.
3) We refuse to wing it. The last few weeks of rejigging our carefully laid plans has taken time and stress which were not remotely necessary, and booking in advance – particularly in high season – has meant we have ended up with better, more affordable accommodation time and time again. We fully admire the many people who don’t plan in advance and the flexibility is brilliant, but we’d much rather stay in a decent Airbnb and spend our time on more important things than planning. Drinking, for instance.
4) Papusas are the best thing ever. Did we mention that? We want to throw a papusa party when we’re home, purely for the splendid alliteration.