Another travel day. We are starting to wish for more than a couple nights in any given place – but no such luck! This morning started (for me) with a giggle as I listened to the echo of roosters crowing all the way from the valley up the hillside, to the one sitting just outside our door. It was hilarious to listen to. Ryan slept through it. Once we were both up, we dressed, packed a bit and headed up for breakfast. Breakfast was French Toast, and it was fairly tasty. Ryan enjoyed wandering a bit more, taking some last photos, while I tried to imprint my bum into the hammock a bit more. Then we checked out, and went back to our treehouse to sit for a bit before leaving.
We walked down to the highway and stood waiting for a bus toward Granada. Instead a cab stopped and offered us a ride along with the two passengers already inside (we´re getting used to squishing into cabs with at least 3 other people). We took it back to the market in Granada and walked to the bank to grab some cash for the next bit of our journey to the land of no bank machines. We stopped for a cool drink and then went in search of a cab to the ferry. Easier said than done. It took a bit to find a cab, but once we did we got to the ferry and paid for our tickets. Two first class tickets cost us $9. BC ferries could learn something.
The ferry terminal is a big warehouse building with a few benches. We sat, Ryan found a vendor selling enchiladas, so that was lunch. As it got closer to sailing time, more people filled the area. Ryan pulled out a parachute man we had brought from home (thanks dollar store!) and played with the two little boys sitting next to us. It was pretty cute. Then a couple of security guys came over and everyone filed into a quasi-line up to have their bags searched. Now in North America, searching luggage is usually for the purpose of finding bombs or guns or something else that could be harmful…not here! Here they are looking for booze. Just so happened we were carrying some. Our rum was confiscated and we were given a ticket to pick it up on the other side…we were making bets on whether a swig or two goes to the captain. Oh, they also take knives, note to self.
We boarded the ship and entrered the first class area. At first we weren´t too sure what made this first class, but then they turned on the air conditioning. Ahh! We sat and enjoyed the cool air for a while, while chatting with a couple from Australia about their travels. The ferry is very very slow, it takes 4 hours to get from Granada to Altagracia but the boat could likely do it in half that or less if they would actually try. Meanwhile, Ryan enjoyed hanging his hammock, purchased specifically for this moment, to relax on the outdoor deck and listen to the water. He napped outside, I napped inside. As we neared the island we snapped lots of photos of the volcano which was clear at the top (something that almost never happens apparently, it is usually covered by cloud) as well as the sunset. The volcano before us is Volcan Concepcion, and we were to climb it in the morning. Dun dun dun!! It was pretty intimidating from the boat, but we were glad to see it clear at the top, hoping it would be that way again tomorrow so we would have a view.
The boat docked and we got off. We had been convinced by a guy on the boat to take a free shuttle offered by Hotel Castillo and to check out the hotel to see if we would like to stay there. He had also mentioned that they would set up a guide for our volcano hike the next day, for $10 each. So we did it, us and several others. In hindsight, bad idea. We loaded into a van, Ryan and I were put in the front bench seat with the driver…a fairly terrifying experience with the condition of the road here. It´s basically a dirt road with boulders in it. Boulders. At one point the driver ordered three people to get out so he could make it up a hill. I have never been jostled so much in my life. We did make it safe and sound to the hotel – I give kudos to the drivers here, it is a tough job! The hotel was adequate, and by this time we were kind of committed to we stayed.
We were introduced to our guide, Guillermo, on the van ride in. Turns out he is an idiot. He took a group of six of us to a nearby convenience store to pick up some snack items for our 10-12 hour day of hiking. He suggested 2 large bottles of water each, and cookies. He is an idiot. We were too, as we went along with it. We picked up our water, some cookies, some bread and a few packs of chips and then went back to the hotel for dinner and sleep. Dinner at the hotel was fine, spagetti is hard to do wrong, and the company was interesting – Peter from New Zealand and Gabby from Germany. Then it was off to bed, needing a good night sleep before the steepest climb of our lives. Dun dun dun!!!