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May 5th, 2012 | Central America

Granada…

Although I spent most of the time cooped up in my hotel, I did spend SOME time seeing the sights of this interesting town on the shores of Lake Nicaragua…

The late afternoon sun lights up the new San Francisco Church in Granada....

It would seem that Nicaragua and Granada, are a common destination for “school” or “college” trips for American teenagers…

Whilst I was there, I saw at least four different busloads of them, either being marched from one monument or colonial building to another, or being ushered into restaurants and told, “We only have 45 minutes here people, so chow down and be ready to go by 2.00 pm”…!!

Most of the young women were rather inappropriately dressed in the tightest and skimpiest clothing, which at least had all the local men and boys grinning from ear to ear, and whipping out their cell phones to take photos of the girls…!!

Granada is recognized as the first European city to be established in the Americas, and building here began in 1524…

It was an important commercial hub for the Spaniards, because it is connected to the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean, via Lake Nicaragua, (or Lago Cocibolca as it is known locally), and the San Juan River…

The Spanish Caravels could sail to within a very short distance of the Pacific coast, from where they could launch thier conquests of South America and establish colonies there without having to sail all the way around Cape Horn…

This was another option they had besides the one they later used in Panama…

This used to be the old city administration offices, and for some reason is currently being guarded by soldiers and policemen..!!. I am not sure if they were on some kind of exercise or not, because when I stopped to take a photo, I was waved away by a soldier carrying a machine-gun...!!

A view of one of the two towers of the Cathedral of Granada...

Some of the new buildings that line the Square of Independence...

The city was often besieged by British, French and Dutch pirates, who wanted to take control of this part of Central America, and the timber, gold and silver that was shipped from it…

It is fast becoming Nicaragua’s tourism hub, and is well-known throughout the region for its colonial architecture…

Many of the old buildings are slowly being renovated and returned to their former glory…

This old church, possible the old cathedral, is waiting in line... It is still being used for services, but was closed when I went to see inside...

My "office" in Granada...

Granada is the country’s fourth most populous city, with about 125 000 residents, but still maintains its old world charm…

It is fast becoming a popular place for Europeans and Americans to retire to, and hose prices are escalating at a healthy rate…!!

For me, the place was all about the architecture, and the colourful homes that are nestled between the newly renovated, and the old and falling down…!!

The next series of photos were taken during my frequents walks to get goodies from the supermarket, or just strolling about to get the circulation back into my legs…!!

Sitting on a hard wooden chair for hours on end, was no fun, but the only place from where I could get a decent internet signal…!!

Colourful walls are almost always finished off with white architraves around the door and window frames...

Horse and cart are a common sight in the town, and deliver as many goods to the small stores as trucks and delivery vans do...

Despite it being $2.00 cheaper, I did not stay here for fear of snide remarks being posted on my comments page...!!

These colourful carriages take tourists for short trips through the old part of the city.... They use the Plaza de la Independence as a terminus...

I wanted to knock on this door and ask how they came to decide on their colour combination...!! Walking around town, you can't help but smile at some of the garish colours the houses are painted in...!!

My take-away dinner was not packed in the usual polystyrene or plastic container, but rather in a banana leaf, cut into small pieces...!! The Plantain put the finishing touches to my memories of the time I spent in Ghana, West Africa....

On my second day in Granada, I decided to go for a ride down to the Marina, a few kilometres away, and see about a boat trip around the islands out in the lake…

I wandered down the road to the local fire station, which seems to double as a parking lot, to collect the Big Fella…

Tucked behind the only operating fire truck in town... The other one just out of the picture, was without an engine at the time I was there....!!

I sincerely hoped that the bicycles were not part and parcel of the fire-fighting equipment...!!

Parked on the shores of Lake Nicaragua... Some of the fishing trawlers were offloading their catch while I watched... Most of the fish were very small, and I wondered how much longer the lake could sustain this "harvest"...!!

Down by the "Marina", about 3 km out of town, I chose a large open-air restaurant to sit at, while I watched boatloads of tourists being ferried out into the lake down a narrow channel...

This guy was using a strange "left hand forward, right hand back" way of rowing, to cross the channel... It was like using your hands to ride a bicycle...!!

Lunch was a tasty piece of meat, lathered in a very hot sauce...!! And look....!!! Vegetables....!!

I decided against a three-hour boat trip to see monkeys swinging from the trees (the main selling point it would seem…!!) and went back to ride around town…

I was still intrigued by the colour schemes....!! You gotta love it...!!

Another view of the Cathedral, and the newly renovated office buildings....

Parked right outside the door of the La Merced Church.... From the outside, it looks like it has been through a war.... And it has too...!!

But from the inside, it is a different matter...!! Beautiful in its design and decorative simplicity....

Looking towards the altar from the main gallery.... This church has that "something" about it... I sat in one of the pews near the back, and let my eyes wander over every little detail... I felt content and at peace...

The stained glass window above the altar, with the afternoon sun filtering through it...

The sign said it all... Everyone wants to see "the best view" of anything....!!

But first you have to pay a dollar and then climb two sets of spiral staircases....

And the sign was right...!! There was a pretty darn good view up there...!!

With me around, this was just asking for trouble.... I only read the original printing, figuring that was the official request...!! Many townsfolk came to church a lot earlier than usual that day...!!

The "real view" from the tower of la Merced Church... Lake Nicaragua can be seen in the background...

I hurried from the church, “tsk-tsking” about the delinquents who had rung the bell in the tower, and hoping that I would not be roped into choir boy service if they discovered the real culprit…!!

Back at my hostel, I reflected on my memories of Granada, before plotting my route through to El Salvador for the following day…

My most abiding memories of this place will always be the multi-coloured homes of the old part of town… They are what for me, made my stay here both rewarding and fun…!!

One last one, then I must go...!! They brighten up what is otherwise a rather drab part of the world...!!

©GBWT 2012

1 comment to Granada…

  • Mark Behr

    I love the colours – as gawdy as they may seem. Nothing like colour to make a drab city seem happy. Interesting post – thanks!

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