Thursday, November 20, 2008

Granada



So we've made it to Nicaragua. We were sad to leave Panama after having so much fun in Boquete, but were ready to move on. So, we hit the road last Thursday, breaking the journey in David (enough time to catch the new Bond film) and arriving back in San Jose for the third time on Friday. We rested there on Saturday and were luckily able to catch an early 6.00am bus on Sunday for Granada, Nicaragua (the Chinese president visited Costa Rica on Sunday, and some roads were blocked off for a procession). 8 hours later we were in Granada.



In contrast with everywhere we've been so far, Granada has retained its beautiful colonial architecture. In actual fact, almost all of it has been rebuilt after the city was burned down by William Walker in the nineteenth century, but they kept true to the original style.




The best way to enjoy Granada is simply to wander around the city, soaking in the architecture and the friendly atmosphere. Until now, we haven't really been able to enjoy a city like this, so it's a welcome change. All too often, we have to be very careful when in big cities (see post "Police & Thieves"); it's much safer and friendlier here.

Talking of which, here's a boy from whom we bought a rather charming ceramic chicken (it's prettier than I just made it sound - you can see from his display of wares in the photo). We think his name is Ale (short for Alejandro?), but can't be sure. His conversation was pitched exactly at our level of Spanish competence, so we had quite a long chat. He warned us of a man with a big nose - "like yours" - who speaks English; apparently he's a ladrón (theif). Now no-one in Granada with a larger than average nose and some English can hope to speak to us without us running away!




We took a day trip to Masaya, a nearby town that hosts the biggest and best artesanía markets in Nicaragua. We thought about buying some ceramic pots and sending them back, but the DHL lady said it would cost US$80 per pot! Perhaps not. On the way back we stopped off in Catarina, a pueblo blanco (white village) which mysteriously lacked any sign of white buildings whatsoever. It does, however, have a breathtaking viewpoint at the top of the village overlooking the Laguna de Apoyo, a lake formed in the collapsed crater of a volcano. I couldn't get it into the photo, but you can see all the way across the plain to Granada, with a huge volcano looming over.




From the top of the belltower of one of the churches, there is a fantastic view of Granada and its cathedral. In the distance, you can see Lake Nicaragua, a vast inland sea home to a unique ecosystem that includes freshwater sharks.



There is a thriving local arts & crafts scene. We visited an arts centre (where you can see some artists in the photo below making linocuts) and picked up a silk-screen print (now in the post - fingers crossed!).






It's great!

Rob

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you had a safe journey to nicaragua. Granada sounds great and Lake Nicaragua looks fantastic; I didn't even know that freshwater sharks existed!
Watch out for men with big noses!
Lots of love
Diane

kavvy17 said...

i suppose you had to leave at some point,looks like you have come arcross a nice place though, do you think the boy was talking about gordon brown???? has he visited recently??
markx

Anonymous said...

Hola Rachel y Rob.
Saludos.
Se fueron y no nos vimos más. Estamos bien a pesar de todo lo que hemos pasado en estos días. Ha llovido mucho y hay daños millonarios en el pueblo, pero hay que seguir. Son muy bonitas las fotos del lago de Nicaragua. Espero lo disfrutien y se cuiden.
Los quiere
Nivia

nivia bell said...

Hola Rachel y Rob.
Saludos.
Se fueron y no nos vimos más. Estamos bien a pesar de todo lo que hemos pasado en estos días. Ha llovido mucho y hay daños millonarios en el pueblo, pero hay que seguir. Son muy bonitas las fotos del lago de Nicaragua. Espero lo disfrutien y se cuiden.
Los quiere
Nivia

Anonymous said...

Hola Rachel y Rob.
Saludos.
Se fueron y no nos vimos más. Estamos bien a pesar de todo lo que hemos pasado en estos días. Ha llovido mucho y hay daños millonarios en el pueblo, pero hay que seguir. Son muy bonitas las fotos del lago de Nicaragua. Espero lo disfrutien y se cuiden.
Los quiere
Nivia

Rob Parle & Rachel Smith said...

Hola Nivia,
Gracias por las noticias. Estuvimos muy triste cuando salimos Boquete, pero nos gusta Nicaragua tambien. Saludos a la familia Bell-Miranda y esperamos que todos estan bien.
Rachel y Rob x