Cape Town Tourist Attraction: MOCAA

We went to one of the most amazing museums when we were in Cape Town. The brand new Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) is a marvel in architectural repurposing and home to some incredible 21st century art.

Located in the city’s V&A Waterfront neighborhood, the new modern art museum is in a converted grain silo near the habour. The redesign of this building cost a lot of money and it was well spent. The formerly all concrete tubes now have lots of windows and it looks beautiful from the outside. At first glance, you think the best thing about MOCAA may just be the building, but it’s just as impressive inside.

Interior MOCAA
Inside MOCAA, Cape Town

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Cape Town: A Hike up Table Mountain

Cape Town is a beautiful city, located on the shore of Table Bay, and dominated by Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Since we arrived in Cape Town, we knew we wanted to climb Table Mountain. It’s a Cape Town landmark, and even has cable cars to bring the more sedentary to the peak and back.

We stayed in Cape Town for 4 days and based on weather forecasts and our schedule, the best day to hike to the top of Table Mountain was New Year’s Day. We had a couple days of cloudy skies, and since we wanted views, we waited for a clear day. And New Year’s Day delivered with the weather, so we started the New Year with an early morning walk up Table Mountain.

Table Mountain hike
Brian at the sign marking the start of our hike

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Walking Around Cape Town: Bo-Kaap Tour

When I go to a new city, I like to get acclimated to the place through a guided tour. Bike tours are scarce in Cape Town, probably because of all the hills, but there are good guided tours thanks to Cape Town Free Walking Tours.

Cape Town Free Walking Tours offers 3 walking tour options at 2 different times of day. Our first day in Cape Town, we took the tour of Bo-Kaap.

Bo-Kaap Tour
Bo-Kaap
Photo taken on the Bo-Kaap walking tour

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On Making Stupid Mistakes and Dealing With Them

That was not how I planned it! Yesterday I took the bus from Matagalpa to Esteli. The main reason I came to Esteli was to see the Somoto Canyon to the north, so I booked the tour yesterday from my hostal.

Today I had to get up early to catch a taxi to the bus station for a tour of Somoto Canyon. Instead I got money out of the ATM and left that money and my ATM card in the taxi. I realized it at the bus station but the cab was already gone. So I had to walk back to my hostel (fortunately only a 15 minute walk!) and cancel the tour and my ATM card. Do I feel like an idiot right now? YES I DO!

Negatives: Continue reading “On Making Stupid Mistakes and Dealing With Them”

Another Volcano Hike: Telica Sunset Tour

Telica Volcano
Telica from below

On Thursday night I did a twilight hike at Volcano Telica, part of the Maribios volcano chain, same as Cerro Negro.

The key reason for the “sunset” or “twilight tour” is because you have a much better chance of seeing lava. I know I already saw lava last weekend, but I am hungry for more! It’s so cool, it’s hot!

I signed up for the tour through Quetzaltrekkers, mainly because they are a non-profit organization that puts on various hikes and donates all proceeds to helping local communities. I was very happy with their work. It was a well run hike. Continue reading “Another Volcano Hike: Telica Sunset Tour”

Free León City Tour

Leon is an interesting city to walk around, but it’s always better to have a guide! I happened to find a new company that offers free walking tours every morning so did the tour on Thursday. The tour lasted 90 minutes and covered the centre of the city. I learned more about the history of the city, the country and some of the murals depicting these stories. On the tour with me were a Canadian couple and 3 Germans. Germans and Canadians are the most common tourists in Nicaragua right now.

I already mentioned the enormous amount of churches here, and the guide, Sebastian, pointed out León is known as a city of churches as there are 2 Catholic churches per neighbourhood here. I don’t know why that’s necessary but the churches are pretty to look at and have some crazy icons inside. He also informed us that the main cathedral has tunnels to 5 different churches in the city. These were created to fend off pirates!

Cathedral de León
Crypt entrance in the Cathedral of León

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Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro

Volcano Boarding Cerro NegroVolcano Boarding is one of the top things to do when visiting León, so I signed up to do it almost immediately upon arrival. Why delay?

My hostal offers a daily tour through Nicatime Nicaragua. We left the hostal at 8am on Wednesday, got to Cerro Negro Volcano by 9am, and started hiking. The uphill climb is only an hour long, but with all the sand and rocks, it’s not easy. Slippery.

Cerro Negro
Our group climbing up Cerro Negro

Cerro Negro means Black Mountain, and that describes it perfectly. This fairly young, still active volcano is a pile of black sand and rock. People have been volcano boarding there for about 17 years, according to my tour guide, Oscar (just kidding, it was Lester – or Luther, damn I am bad at this. I’ll call him Oscar). Now that is the primary reason people visit Cerro Negro, and one of the top attractions in León. Continue reading “Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro”

León

After a day and a half in León, I like it. It’s a pretty town with some beautiful churches. A lot of pretty churches. So many, that I can’t keep track of which ones I’ve visited. There’s also a lot of museums, street art, and history here. This morning I am going on a walking tour of the city, so I should learn more about all of those things! In the meantime, I have been taking photos.

León Churches I visited some of the churches, including the fairy tale pretty Iglesia el Calvario and the more traditional Iglesia El Merced.

Iglesia El Calvario
The pretty Iglesia El Calvario

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The Best Volcano Yet: Volcan Masaya!

Wowow wow wow wow.  Last night we went to Masaya Volcano. It’s best to go there at night because you can see the hot lava much better in the dark!!! HOT LAVA IN THE DARK. It was even better than it sounds, and I thought it sounded great.

So, it’s a big deal to go to the volcano at night. Everybody wants to see the hot lava. The cars line up on the side of the highway before the park opens for the night at 5:30pm (but, since it’s “Nica time”, it actually didn’t open until more like 5:45pm). People are standing on the side of the road too; some are vendors, others are just passengers who don’t want to sit in the cars.

Masaya Volcano
Some of the line up for Masaya

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A Kayak Tour of Ometepe

Ometepe Kayaking
Beginning of Kayak Tour

One day of rest was enough! Yesterday Lyna and I wanted to get out and see more of the wildlife of the Ometepes. We biked our way to the town(?) of Mérida and Caballito’s Mar Kayaks.

It was not an easy bike ride or kayak but wow was it worth it. Perfect weather – sun and some wind, and tons of wildlife! Here is a partial list of what we saw: a caiman, turtles, blue herons, monkeys, ospreys, sleeping bats, egrets, ibises, tiger herons, magpie jays, and parakeets. There were more but I can’t remember them!

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