22.03.2017 - 24.03.2017
DAY 45 WEDNESDAY 22ND MARCH
Free breakfast pancakes included in the room rate, and they were cooked by the staff so Lyn did not get to test her cooking skills again.
I was up at 7am and wanting a shower, but there was no water. I left the shower tap on and at about 7.15 the water came through. I was down eating pancakes by 7.30am, an unusual early morning for me, as I am usually the last one out of bed, but the oldies were still sleeping when I left the room. Lyn was down by 8.30 and Dolly by 9.
I had advised reception that our room leaked last night after we'd had showers and we'd had to use a towel to mop up the water. The receptionist came to us later after breakfast and advised we would receive 10% discount for last night and we are able to change to another room today as soon as it become free. Later the owner came and introduced herself and to ask exactly what the problem with a plumber. Nice customer service.
Hostel Oasis Granada is very large and has lots of relaxing areas. We 3 are by far the oldest here, but not a problem. Triple room is US$38 per night including breakfast and all day tea and coffee.
Granada is a city in western Nicaragua and the capital of the Granada Department. With an estimated population of 123,697 (2012), it is Nicaragua's sixth most populous city. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities, economically and politically. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure. Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, ostensibly the first European city in mainland America. Unlike other cities that claim the same distinction, the city of Granada was not only the settlement of the conquest, but also a city registered in official records of the Crown of Aragon, and the Kingdom of Castile in Spain. Granada is also known as La Gran Sultana, in reflection of its Moorish and Andalusian appearance, unlike its sister city of León and historical rival, which displays Castilian trends. Its very popular and well known as a Touristic Town.
Granada is a city in western Nicaragua and the capital of the Granada Department. With an estimated population of 123,697 (2012), it is Nicaragua's sixth most populous city. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities, economically and politically. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure.
Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, ostensibly the first European city in mainland America. Unlike other cities that claim the same distinction, the city of Granada was not only the settlement of the conquest, but also a city registered in official records of the Crown of Aragon, and the Kingdom of Castile in Spain.
Granada is also known as La Gran Sultana, in reflection of its Moorish and Andalusian appearance, unlike its sister city of León and historical rival, which displays Castilian trends. Its very popular and well known as a Touristic Town.
We headed towards the central park and then down some little streets that led off the park. Different bright coloured paint is used for every dwelling or business which creates streets of rainbows. Larger buildings painted in bright colours also like yellow contrast beautifully with the amazing blue blue sky.
The weather is wonderful, but it's pretty hot - in the 30's is my guess. This kind of heat makes you thirsty so it was not long before we needed to find a beer stop. We were certainly spoilt in San Carlos for prices as the beer here is almost double the price that we had paid. But it is still cheap enough, painfully though now they quote the prices before tax and before what seems to be a compulsory tip. Again, it is still cheap and the beer is served icy cold.
We stopped at a bakery to try a piece of tart and have a sandwich for lunch. C$90 = A$3.99 for a ham, cheese & tomato roll.
Continuing walking we passed Guadalupe Church and finally came down to the lakes edge, Lake Nicaragua. Hard to believe just yesterday we travelled 7 hours parallel to this lake and we are again on its shores. Looking more like a sea there are apparently 365 islands & islets close by here that we hope to see some of in a tour while we are here in Granada.
From the lake we walked back up the street to the central park. The sun was a killer and on the way we had to go inside the church for some shade and a little sit down. The only thing that got us moving again was the promise of a cold beer back up near the park. Now it may sound as if we are piss heads just moving from beer to beer, but the truth is that the cost of beer is the same as a soda and actually not much more than the cost of water so it makes sense for us to support the local brew and keep hydrated. (So did that sound convincing?) Anyway, we are on holidays, it's hot and we needed a drink. We purchased some giant cashews to have with our beer and they actually cost more @ C$50 = A$2.21 than a bottle of beer @ C$40 = A$1.77.
On our way back to the hostel we found a Pali supermarket and purchased supplies for dinner. Lyn cooked a pork and vegie surprise, very tasty. And we also purchased a small bottle of rum C$59 = A$2.61 and a bottle of coke zero C$34 = A$1.51 to mix with it for drinkies after dinner.
Tonight the hostel advertised movie night and we rocked up to the large screen telly near the kitchen to watch the movie, only to discover it was being played in Spanish with no English subtitles. We thought this was a bit odd in a hostel where most occupants were not Spanish speakers, but there you go. We opted for a few drinks and then an early night instead.
DAY 46 THURSDAY 23RD MARCH
Pancakes for breaky again today and a banana and coffee/tea.
We had a bit of a late start getting out as I am trying to organize future days travel and accommodation, so it was already after 11 before we headed outside. On the way to dropping off our washing we stopped to have a look inside the Cathedral.
Now we would usually do our own hand washing, but due to the fact that we had been in the jungle for a few days and some of our clothing got quite muddy so we are having a washing treat.
The horse and carts that line one side of the central park are there to take tourists for Jaunts around the town, you can go for 30mins or 1 hour or however long. We decided to have another little treat and go for a 30 minute ride/tour. Granada is not very big and at US$10 for 30 minutes divided by 3 it was not so bad. Our driver/guide spoke very good English and as we rode along the streets of the oldest part of Granada he gave us the spiel about the buildings, churches, statues etc that we passed. Although all this information is very interesting at the time, it really does not all sink in, as we are not memorizing along the way. We enjoyed the ride anyway.
After our jig around town, we walked through the local market as this was where we were told we would be able to buy a frilly pinnie that we have been seeing the local women wearing. We did in fact find them and happy with our purchases decided to celebrate with a beer. We chose a random bar in a building with an assortment of bars and ordered a large beer. I thought the waiter asked if we wanted 3 glasses, but in fact he asked if we wanted 3 bottles. We could have easily shared a large bottle each, but since he bought us 3 and they were already opened we had to drink them. Had a bit of fun with the waiter and our new pinnies, him taking photos for us and even giving me a tray of crisps from a walking vendor to take a photo with.
After drinking our very large beers we continued up the street to check out one of the churches we had passed in the horse and cart. On the way we had a quick tour of a hammock making factory. This particular business hires blind and deaf people, and we saw a blind man who was weaving as quickly as the sighted man next to him. They also had the worlds biggest hammock and boasted that they had even made a hammock for the pope when he visited.
A little further up the street and we were back outside the La Merced Church, still bearing the black scars of the fire ordered by William Walker (but that is another story). In this church for C$30 = A$1.33 you can climb up the bell tower, which offers magnificent views over Granada. It was like a sea of terracotta roof tiles, with churches towering up over the roof levels and with views of volcanos and the lake in the distance. Worth the small entrance fee and the 70 step climb up. Luckily the sign said not to ring the bells otherwise we would have been deafened.
The volcano in the last photo, when it blew its top created a lot of the islets that are now in the lake - see did remember something from the tour this morning. Not sure when this happened, obviously a long time ago.
Around 5.30 we headed out to collect our washing from the laundrette. On the way back it seemed like a good idea to stop for a cocktail, so we did. We ordered our old favourite pina colada, but what we received was nothing like a pina colada we have had before. It was a cocktail, it was icy cold and it was very yummy, but it was not a pina colada. When I questioned the waiter, and showed him the picture on the menu he just said 'yes different'. lol At C$60 = A$2.65 we were not going to complain too much.
It was dark when we walked back to the hostel and the streets have gone quiet again. Gone is all evidence of the madness of the daytime street stalls and traffic. Back at the hostel we finished off rum and coke from yesterday.
DAY 47 FRIDAY 24TH MARCH
Third day in a row for pancake breakfast - think I am reaching my limit. Miss Dolly has managed to catch a cold and is not firing on all cylinders today. Must be all these cold showers we are having?
This morning we did a boat tour of the small islands in Lake Nicaragua.
Boat Tour of Islets US$15 each
When the Mombacho Volcano erupted thousands of years ago, it threw huge rocks into Lake Nicaragua. As a result of this violent eruption 365 islets were formed in front of Granada. The islets differ in size between a hundred square meters and over one hundred hectares.
The wild nature, resident birds and visitors and the day-a-day routine of the local families make it an ideal place for a boat ride or kayaking around the lake.
The small islands, in Nicaragua called "Las Isletas", serve different purposes. There is a community of about 1200 people living on the islets. Most of the people living here are fishermen. Other islands accommodate hotels or luxurious houses (some of them can be rented). There are also uninhabited islets with only some palm trees growing on it.
Lake Nicaragua or Cocibolca or Granada is a freshwater lake in Nicaragua. Of tectonic origin and with an area of 8,264 km², it is the largest lake in Central America, the 19th largest lake in the world and the 9th largest in the Americas, slightly smaller than Lake Titicaca. With an elevation of 32.7 metres above sea level, the lake reaches a depth of 26 metres. It is intermittently joined by the Tipitapa River to Lake Managua.
We stopped on Isla San Pedro to look at the fort that protected Granada from the pirates crossing the lake. Good ole Captain Morgan was the pirate of the day.
Next stop near monkey island where there are 3 spider monkeys residing. A pregnant Miss Lucy Monkey (or should I say Mrs) came aboard our boat after checking out the talent on another boat first. She seemed to take a liking to me as she sat on my shoulder and gave me a throat hug. She then went over to a Spanish lady and checked her out for nits.
Our last stop was on an island where we could buy a beer, have a swim in the pool and watch the locals go about their daily chores. This island had everyday people living on it. Obviously not anywhere near same living standards as the mansions we had passed on other islands. It seemed like one extreme to the next. Today was obviously washing day as the ladies were in the lake thigh high washing clothes. But washing did not stop at clothes, the family pig was dragged begrudgingly into the lake for a scrub down, and we saw a little boy washing a chicken!
The boat sped back to the dock weaving its way through the small islands giving a another view of how the rich and famous would live if they visited their own properties. We were barrelled back into our transfer van and taken back to the hostel. Nice way to spend a morning.
The rest of the day we just hung out at the hostel, Dolly having a bit of a rest, Lyn reading and me catching up on travel work.
Come 5pm it was cocktail hour and unfortunately Dolly did not feel up to heading out with us, instead opting to rest her head cold some more. Shame for her as we found the best pina colada cocktails. They were so good, Lyn and I had 2 each! Extravagance. At C$66 = A$3 it was above budget but they were so nice we just went for it. Don't worry about Dolly missing out, we will be back here when she is feeling better.
Lyn cooked a delicious chicken & vegie dish at the hostel tonight. We had purchased some marinated chicken at the supermarket earlier and she certainly cooked it to perfection.
Time to sort and repack our bags. We are heading to Lake Apoyo for the weekend and will be leaving most of our luggage here at the hostel in Granada for when we return.