Saturday, July 20, 2013

Granada: Counting Down The Hits

I think this is the end of week one in Granada, Nicaragua.

Granada is a beautiful and charming city.  Its colonial architecture, great selection of restaurants, numerous Spanish schools, and phenomenal coffee ... leave nobody wondering why Granada is firmly ensconced on the Gringo Trail.

As much as I enjoyed my stay in La Mariposa (eco-hotel/Spanish school), this is the kind of place that makes my travel much easier: interesting places to walk, life (in the form of a 90,000 person city, with most people just living normal, daily lives), and endless great places to snack, sit, grab coffee, or just watch the world go by.

I spent a fair amount of time with Karen, a fellow La Mariposa student, and my friends Bill & Tiffany (also from La Mariposa).  Tiffany's been coming down here for about nine years.  Together, they bought a house in the absolute best part of the city.  It's rented for now, but their plan is to retire to Granada, eventually.  They're good people, and good sources of info for both Granada, specifically, and Nicaragua, generally.

Tiffany teaches Occupational Therapy in the Pacific Northwest.  Bill taught English, primarily in Saudi Arabia, for the last few (or more) years.

Tiffany has been arranging trips for her students to come to Nicaragua, and work in the charity-funded senior homes (hogares).  On this trip, she was scouting potential new locations, including a Spanish immersion program (La Mariposa) for part of the next students' stay.

Very cool.

On Sunday night, the three of us are going to Granada's "best" restaurant, La Ciudad Lounge.  Entrees are up to about US$28 -- a LOT of money by local standards -- but I'm told it's sublime.

And I'm leaving the country in nine days, so ... having been pretty frugal the entire four months ... I can pry my wallet open a time or two :-)

A couple days ago -- having walked the length and breadth of town more than once -- I simply headed out into cattle ranching country, on foot, not seeing another soul for a couple of hours.  A gentle up-slope eventually gave me a beautiful view of both the lake, to the East, and the volcano, to the South.  Good landmarks, both, and allowed me to make a big loop back to town on marginally passable muddy roads.

On the way back, I went through what must be among Granada's poorest areas, a painful reminder that not everybody makes a "good living" from the vagaries of tourism.

But the people were friendly, and/or surprised to see me wandering through their part of town :-)

Without further ado ... the latest batch of pics, and annotations where I can.

Bill & Tiffany's house.  I think it widens after you walk in.  I sure hope so :-)

The oldest church in Granada ... or ... something ??

What my hotel owner lovingly calls "Gringo Gulch --" the principal tourist street-- hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and bars !

The gazebo on Parque Central.

A few pics of what's called the "Old Hospital."  I don't see anything wrong, here, that a coat of paint (okay: maybe primer, too) wouldn't fix.  Lots of waste in health care -- in Nicaragua, too !

The municipal market.  You either love these or you hate them.  I love them.  I'm an odd duck.

A soldier, carrying a fully-automatic weapon, and taking a wizz in the bushes :-)

A bad pic of Tiffany with her (Granada-based) Spanish teacher.  I also got a GOOD (flash) picture, but ... rather than copy it off my SD card, the school cut it.  Look for it, soon, on their website :-)

After this morning's walk, I made it back to my humble abode just in time to duck the rain -- pretty much a daily affair, pretty much lasting an hour or so, and usually accompanied by great lightning.

Of course, it can also take out power, or -- more regularly -- cable and the internet (my salvation, during my hotel hours !).  Ah, well.  Such is travel.

And such is life ... on the Gringo Trail ... on the long and serpentine journeys of .... The Gulag.

1 comment:

  1. Ah those colonialists. They left behind some beautiful bldgs., but some really poor people.
    Enjoy every day there!