At breakfast Norm offered to conduct todays city tour himself rather than use a local tour company, and we accepted.
Managua is a compromise capital city not unlike Canberra and Ottawa. There had been a settlement on the location previously but after a war between Granada and Leon - two cities that traditionally vied for dominance - in 1852 Managua became the capital of Nicaragua. Originally built on the shore of lake Managua the old city has been destroyed twice by earthquakes in the 20th century, in 1932 and 1972. After the 1972 destruction the old city was not rebuilt and now Managua is a series of Barrios that collectively make up the city.
Our tour started in the old part of town where we saw the old cathedral that was gutted in the 1972 quake and the Nicaragua Palace - now a museum - that was built after the 1932 quake and survived the 1972 quake. The museum was interesting even though we had some difficulty with the English of the guide who showed us the exhibits.
The high point of the city is a small volcanic cone that contains a lake of green water as well as monuments to some Nicaraguan heros. Nina and I took the opportunity to try one of the local adventures and rode a zip line - in three sections - that descended from the top of the hill 1300 meters in length to the water level of the lake. Quite a nice and not scary ride.
In keeping with the volcano theme the last stop on the days tour was the Masaya volcano National Park. This was quite interesting as we could drive right up to the crater rim of this still active volcano. The rock around the parking lot was warm to touch and a significant cloud of smoke and gas was escaping from the crater. One could taste the sulphur in the air. Interestingly there were birds to be heard apparently living in the walls of the crater just below the lip.