First walk of Nicaragua
Granada Travel Blog› entry 10 of 52 › view all entries
After the little police incident the rest of the trip to Granada was fairly easy; we passed Masaya and entered quickly to small and colourful city of Granada. We entered the city and our first goal was to check-in at our hotel, the El Club, as quickly as possible. The plan was to leave our stuff in the hotel and have the first real look and feel of a Nicaraguan city.
We drove in through the main city and ended at the old merchant marked in the centre of the city, which I afterwards found out gave me a wrong impression on the city. The merchant area is quite messy and with an enormous amount of people in very few square meters.
We ran in to the usual problem of lack of signs in Granada as in Managua and the best reference was to ask for direction of the Parque Centrale, which most people knew the direction to.
We found the El Club and were pleasantly surprised; the rooms were naturally not as good as at the Best Western we stayed at the day before but the price was also only 15$ per night per room. The rooms were really nice with air condition, huge beds and warm water in the bathroom.
The whole hotel was really nice with a bar as the entry point; it served also as a nightclub from Thursday to Saturday, so it is not as recommendable if you are looking for a quiet place these days. We stayed from Tuesday to Thursday morning and the place was quiet as a graveyard, not that there were any other resemblance.
We dropped our gear and left the car in the street just in from the hotel, which turned out to be a place where we could park any day and I left it there the coming days, without any problems.
The Parque Central turned out to be a very nice place to walk and watch the city life of Granada. Loads of locals had their daily walk there and there were also some market activities. Young kissing people who looked like they were in love occupied many of the benches. There were also loads of elderly persons discussing with each others sitting on the benches like they probably had done for years. On some benches people were even sleeping but I mostly saw that in the evenings.
Surrounding the park were numerous of magnificent old buildings and not at least the bright yellow Cathedral of Granada and a pink building just opposite of the it.
We chose to follow the walking street leading down to the lake passing by numerous cafes and restaurants in magnificent colours. We were both impressed by these bright positive colours and the fact that implicit had a positive impact on our mood. My eyes and the camera came on overtime already from the start. There was even a small gallery with an exhibition of local artists, who painted in the traditional naive painting style. The atelier that they had in the backyard was truly heaven with a green garden including a water fountain and a beautiful volcano behind the city.
On the way we passed by the office of Tierra Tours one of the tour operators that hosted many of the different trips you could make from Granada.
We continued our walk towards the water and passed yet a church that far from looked as impressive as the cathedral, but still enough attractive in the patina white look that the years had left the church in. We passed a ball park and a school area with wonderful and huge trees that had impressive roots totally deforming the pavements.
Down at the water there were a statue of one of the heroes of Nicaragua and a large park that needed some looking after but had the perfect with towards some of the islands of the area and volcanoes in the distance.
The road back were much more the real thing that I had expected to see in Nicaragua knowing that Granada probably would be one of the two wealthiest cities in the country, the other being Leon on the other side of Managua and the city we would end our trip in Nicaragua 10 days later.
It was fascinating to see how the people were using the street as their living room during the day and we already got the look and feel with lose animals walking the streets from dogs to horses.
The market was like being in an unorganized version of the bazaar in Istanbul with all its craziness and action going on. It was a true paradise if you were a collector of strange things but it also gave a first impression of the richness of fruit and vegetables that we could anticipate in both variety and quality. There were colours, scents and smells everywhere. We walked the marked for some time and I had already used the battery of my camera so we had to head for the hotel getting my back up for the rest of the walk that afternoon.
From the hotel we walked uphill and away from the water toward some more churches that all seemed to have mass and also attracted loads of people.
We turned around at the old fortress, which was situated almost at the entry point in one end of the city. The fortress was today a museum and its mango trees also supplied some of the poor children living around it. They came by every morning after the nights rain to pick up the fallen mangoes the gate-keeper told us. We had to write in the book and I could see that we had been the 10th and 11th visitor that day and whereof half had been Nicaraguans.
We headed back towards the hotel to get a beer and a shower before meeting up at 8 pm for a look see of where to have our dinner the first night of visiting Granada.
We meet and had an “apero” in the bar before we armed with the Lonely Planet in order to find one of their recommended restaurants for the first night. We had observed that we were the only two guests in our hotel and we had hardly seen any tourists in the streets during our walk and when we started to visit some of the recommended restaurants we found them closed. We had come out of season that was for sure.
We finally ended up in what was supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the city situated close to the Parque Central and it turned out to be truly great but we were almost alone in the huge house. The house was also the place that the filibuster Walker had chosen to stay in when he was conquering Granada; William Walker was the opportunist American who wanted to establish the 51st State of America in Central America.