Total distance travelled: 37,669.3 kilometres (23,397.08 miles)
Here we are in, old Granada!
After our difficult time up in Leon, getting to Granada felt like a huge relief.
Here was the first place in Nicaragua with some real appeal and charm!
It’s little wonder that this place is so picturesque, as it is after all the country’s oldest colonial city, founded way back in 1524 (apparently it also boasts Central Americas oldest church).
With the disappointment of Leon now in the past, we set about finding ourselves a hostel and exploring a city that at first glance, looked quite lovely.
We’d looked a few places up and it was to one of these we were headed when we were handed a flyer en route, and that is how we found ourselves at Backyard Hostel which had average bunks, but a kitchen and pool.
With beds sorted (okay, thin mattresses & planks), we began to wander, seeking a bite for lunch. This became some real Gringo fare when we spied a place promising the best Fish n Chips in Central America!
How could we pass on that possibility? I couldn’t, but Sarah it turns out, quite easily as she opted instead for a fish burger.
The chips (french fries) were sensational, but the fish was only decent…
Granada is a gorgeous city, and not surprisingly given how many years have passed, on the surface at least showing none of the scars of the many Dutch, English & French pirate raids once inflicted on this city in its Spanish pomp.
It’s cobbled streets and tiled roofs remain in incredible condition, and its colourful facades make it a pleasure to wander.
So, that is pretty much what we did.
There were a few specific destinations we hunted down, the first of those after taking in what is the disappointing waterfront that borders Lake Nicaragua, the Iglesia de La Merced.
Facade aside, this church isn’t all that much, but they do offer for a small fee, the chance to climb their bell tower where you can then take in the city from yet another perspective.
A ten minute walk from the main plaza provided a teaser in the form of the city’s old fort, which incredibly, after a couple of years of restoration work, still remains closed.
Still, the walk wasn’t completely wasted, for along the journey we had spotted a lovely church in fairly tasteful blue and white livery.
Even more appealing was that there were no other tourists about!
Walking through the polished wooden doors, we couldn’t help but look in every direction (including up) and be wowed.
Above us sat one of the most impressive ceilings of this entire trip!
There was one additional place we’d found ourselves intrigued by (we’d passed it on the way into town by bus), but frankly we had no idea what it was.
I did later spy it marked on our Lonely Planet map as a ruin named Antiguo Hospital, but no additional information was listed.
Our walk out there provided nothing further either (subsequent Google efforts still haven’t revealed its history, other than some locals think this former Catholic hospital is haunted), other than the chance to gaze upon what was obviously a once impressive site.
Sadly exploration was limited, the lone security attendant requesting that we didn’t wander about, leaving us with little option but to simply take it in from afar.
Granada was a lovely city, not overly stimulating, but most definitely nice to look at and wander, as one whiles away the hours…
If only the beds at our hostel had actually included something more akin to mattresses and less akin to wooden slats, we’d have probably left with even fonder memories.
PS. There was one other adventure in store for us here, although it was hardly pleasant.
Sarah recieved what we suspect was a Spider bite, which was both swollen, hot to touch and felt rock hard, not to mention painful for her if she tried to walk.
Thankfully some cream from a Farmacia seemed to help it heal, but it was certainly not a fun experience!
* Two micro-buses were necessary for our journey from Leon to Granada, the first ferrying us to the capital for a cost of $51.00 Cordobas per person. From Managua to Granada (fortunately from the same bus terminal) it was another $24.00 Cordoba per person.
* Our dorm bunks in Backyard Hostel cost us $6.00 US per person, although we possibly should have paid the $7.00 US per person for bunks that didn’t have cardboard thin mattresses…