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Thread: Ocotal

  1. #1

    Default Ocotal

    A long long time ago, I came down to Nicaragua with a friend named Tim and his cousin Shawn. This was back in 2001 (I'm pretty sure). While we were on this trip, we visited places where I had been (Ciudad Sandino, Masaya, Granada, El Rosario (Carazo), and Managua). We visited some places that neither of us had been (Ometepe and Montelimar). And, we visited the places where Tim had been (Esteli and Matagalpa). While we were in Esteli, we visited a man (Rusty) that Tim had met while he was there--an expat from the States.

    Rusty had a half-ton pickup truck and an adventurous spirit. He took all of us along with him to some small mining and coffee town somewhere in the north of Nicaragua. I didn't (for the longest time) remember the name of the town. I asked Tim recently, and he tells me that I thinks the name of the town is Murra. He remembered this, because Rusty picked up a rash the night we spent in that town that he had a hard time getting rid of, and he called the rash "The Murra" because of where he got it.

    I had never spent much time in the north (before or since). I've spent a night or two in Matagalpa (one of those night in La Selva Negra) and in a small place north of Jinotepe called Las Latas, but that's about it. Before deciding to live at Finca Linda Flor, I had never spent any significant time in the north. Once I was back there, my curiosity and nostalgia about the time that I went to that small mining and coffee town (maybe Murra) returned. I decided that I wanted to see if I could figure out where it was and how to get there and (if possible) visit it again.

    On September 2nd this year (2017), I took a bus from the farm to Condega and then from Condega (through Palacaguina) to Ocotal. As I looked out the windows on my way to Ocotol and as we arrived at the bus terminal I experienced deja-vu. I now new that I had been to Ocotol once before--when we stopped for gas on the way to the small town with Tim, Shawn, and Rusty. So, while I was in Ocotal, I checked the bus terminal to see all of the destinations and I starting fantasizing about visiting all of those destinations.

    However, I asked about how long it takes to get to each of those places, and I realized that it would be impossible to make it from Finca Linda Flor to Condega to Ocotal to another destination (and maybe another one after that) and then all of the way back again in the same day. The buses take too long, and the bus schedules aren't reliable enough. I'd have to travel to a completely remote unknown location and hope that maybe there's someplace for me to spend the night. This is by no means a sure thing in the tourist challenged north of Nicaragua.

    So, at least for that day (the 2nd), I decided to walk around Ocotal.

    I started out exploring the area around the bus terminal. I had never been to Ocotal before (except for a moment over 20 years ago at a gas station), I didn't know that the bus terminal is a long ways away from the city of Ocotal (for some unknown reason).

    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ocotal

    I walked down to a gas station along the highway (that looked vaguely familiar), and I asked the attendant. She told me that I just had to keep following the highway to get to Ocotal. When I reached a traffic light, I turned right and headed into the city. The road took me past a statue on a hill and then directly to the central park and catholic church (with beautiful grounds):

    After that, I walked to an edge of Ocotal (where I found a massive drop off into a gorge). I followed this gorge along the far edge of Ocotal back towards to bus terminal.

    Soy el chele mono.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ocotal

    I came upon a baseball field and a dead end on the edge of Ocotal. I tried to keep going, but I was forced back up and to the right (towards the highway). I kept battling the edge of the city--so much so that I eventually ended up at another dead end down in a ditch surrounded by extremely poor homes (shacks). I had to work my way back towards the center of Ocotal for several blocks before I could cut over to find the highway.

    The road that I found that connected me back to the highway did so farther down from the terminal then where I started. I got to take pictures of the Sandino statue there, but then I had to backtrack to get to the terminal and return to Finca Linda Flor by way of Condega.

    Ocotal was doing a Chinandega festival the day that I visited around the center park offering food and goods made in the province of Chinandega. I saw a bunch of people walking around the park with shirts labeled with their town names. Some women asked me to take a photo of them around the Catholic church there.

    Ocotal is much bigger than Somoto or Condega. I could easily return to Ocotal and walk all day (again) and not see the same parts of the city. I haven't made it back to Ocotal, but I'll keep that in mind for some point in the future...
    Soy el chele mono.

  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    near Esteli
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    Default Re: Ocotal

    A former mayor was an amateur botanist who spearheaded making the park purdy.
    When you get tired of walking, go stay at hotel pantano in Jalapa and watch the sheep graze.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"

    ...with a 6 foot stick and mask and gloves....

  5. #5
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Philly - León
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    Default Re: Ocotal

    Quote Originally Posted by drlemcor View Post
    ... the bus terminal is a long ways away from the city of Ocotal (for some unknown reason).
    EITHER . . . this is a case of advanced urban planning by the city council . . .
    OR . . . collusion with Ocotal union of taxi drivers to enhance their daily business.

    Quote Originally Posted by drlemcor View Post
    A long long time ago, I came down to Nicaragua . . . back in 2001 (I'm pretty sure).
    I had never been to Ocotal before (except for a moment over 20 years ago at a gas station
    I'm curious: when did you first visit Nicaragua, at what age? And how is it you decided to make it the focus of your walking adventures?
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ocotal

    BEAUTIFUL gardens around the church: flowers, trees, and flowering trees. I also like the colors and texture of the roofs against the backdrop of the green trees.

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