We started the day in La Garnacha, the furthest attraction along the road from the hospital turn off in Esteli. La Garnacha is a farming village selling organic products, such as cheese, coffee, vegetables, as well as some stone and wooden handicrafts. There's some nice vistas just a short walk from the village too. After that, we headed along the road to El Mirador. The farmer let us cross his land (for free), so we could climb the hill behind. Ask for Mirador Segoviano to avoid any confusion. There's a 15 minute trail to the top, resulting in a beautiful view over the surrounding countryside. The view is similar to the less arduous and very short walks near La Garnacha though.
Further along the road, we found Galeria del Arte El Jalacate. The sign is really faded, but you should be able to make out 'El Jacate' at the gated entrance. Just park near the top, then walk down the stone road. You'll get to a house. Ask for Alberto Gutierrez, a quirky 75 year old man who has sculptured and carved images into a 40 metre cliff face. It's not Mount Rushmore, but Alberto is lovely and is more than willing to explain the meanings behind his work. Lucky for us, there was someone there who spoke Spanish who translated everything. It's an interesting visit and also a freebie.
The closest attraction to Esteli and next on along the road, is Salto Estanzuela. It's a pretty waterfall, with a swimming pole below. We attempted to get in, but the water was absolutely freezing. Plus, by this point Gwyn and I had run out of water and then I fell over down the crumbling road you have to walk along to reach the waterfall. Due to his lack of sympathy and support, I threw my bra at his head. He retaliated by throwing it in a tree. It took him ages to get it out. He's learnt his lesson...apparently.
After, we drove to Leon, with a slight hiccup with Dougal cutting out on the highway, fluid leaking from the clutch. Gwyn managed to fix it and we arrived in time for the Saturday night action in Leon. It was packed with food stalls and handicrafts around Parque Central. The town was frantic, and even driving around it was a pain in itself. We parked outside Big Foot hostel and booked onto a tour for the morning.
I got Gwyn some surprise cupcakes and I sang 'happy birthday' to him, with the help of Stevie Wonder on the ipod. Hope he wished for happy travels as he blew his candles...