Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Granada, Nicaragua.

Left El Rama at 0630 into overcast skies with occasional rain showers. By the time we got to Juigalapa at about 0830 we were both feeling ra hungry but being a Sunday everything to do with eating seemed to be closed. The only thing we could find was a Tip Top fried chicken chain rather like the Colonel's and had the worse meat we have had on the trip. Greasy chicken is not my thing at 0830. We arrived in Granada about midday and proceeded to the Oasis Hostel mainly because in the guide book it said it had a pool. Well it did but I've seen baths bigger and the room was very expensive for what it was, but we booked in all the same. These backpacker hostels all have the same set up here. Lots of dorm beds and some private rooms with a courtyard filled with hammocks, backdropped by a large colourful mural. Breakfast is provided and tours can be arranged. Banks of computer where people sit for long hours looking at facebook (the connection is always very slow) and the staff on the front desk, helpful but are not invested in what they are doing. You can hang out with other western people and never enter the world of the country you are in. We stayed a night and then found the Hostel Esfringe, set in a large colonial house opposite the vibrant market built in 1895,
run by a charming older couple with quieter facilities and $12USD cheaper a night. No pool however, but as we didn't use the one at Oasis as it was always so full, not much of a hardship. Granada has quite a small interesting area which you can look around in a long morning if you can bear the heat. The main square is surround by very nice colonial buildings,

with a central fountain and bandstand.
Dominating it's east side is the cathedral built around 1900, with its striking domes against the skyline. The interior is rather plain but creates a pleasant pastel atmosphere of arches.
Walking down the pedestrian road by the side of the cathedral leads you to the beach, a rather forlorn and run down area.
The Merced church is to the west of the square, and grants one great views from it's bell tower over the city below.
further out there is the Polvora Fort constructed in 1748 to try and keep the pirates out who kept ransacking the city, which is now a museum but was closed due to refurbishment. Walking back into town I past the Capilla Maria Auxiliadora, which wasn't mentioned in any of the guide books but had a beautifully decorated interior and some very good carvings. The culture centre is situated in a beautiful row of colonial houses and houses a floor mural that I could see with my eye but came out on the photo, nice green courtyards, Radio Volcan, and art studios. The last stop was the convent of San Francisco with is now a museum, described as being blue but seems to have had it's colour washed off. It has a lovely courtyard, a gallery of pre-columbian sculpture, a model of the city showing it's expansion over the centuries,
and a large mural depicting the history of Nicaragua and Granada. Jill unfortunately spent a day in bed feeling none too well with a sore throat and thick head but today she seems better and we are going to move on tomorrow to I don't know where yet.

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