We are now in Granada, Nicaragua, staying a few kilometres out of town in an open-air casita.
Besides our casita, on the property are a tiny studio suite, the main house where our host family of five live, and a pool for all to share. We are surrounded by vegetation including coconut palms and giant royal palms.
We had really wanted to stay in town, but couldn’t find a suitable accommodation. And our host, Gregg, promised to drive us into town whenever we wanted to go. So far, that has worked out well, with a morning announcement of planned trips to town (pop. 120,000) or to the nearest large town, Managua (pop. 2,200,000), about 40 minutes away (and a trip they do at least twice a day as Managua is where all three kids go to school now).
Our first view of Parque Central is framed by a solid row of horse-drawn carriages in the foreground, and reigned over by the sunny yellow Catedral de Granada across the park.
Colorful buildings with tiled roofs surround the park, each section painted and ornamented to separate one business or residence from the other. When doors are ajar, you can spy breezy, open courtyards, filled with palms and flowers and sometimes water fountains or ponds.
We still need to go into town early one morning or evening for a photo walk with our good cameras. Phone snaps will have to do for now.
There are two major grocery stores, La Colonia and La Unión, not too far from us, and they seem to be quite well stocked. A third large grocery store (and what was the only store at one time), Pali, is in town near the market.
There is one major market area, partly in an old shell of a building and partly a warren of kiosks spilling down streets and alleys that is very easy to get lost in. Here, you can find fresh produce, dry goods, plastics, flip flops, and even poultry (though I’m a bit too squeamish to purchase unrefrigerated chicken parts on a 30ºC afternoon). Photos to come!
We’ve also driven by a smaller market in a park a little outside of the downtown area, but have only walked by as it was being taken down for the day.
There are lots of restaurants, mostly on La Calzada, one of the roads leading to El Parque Central and the iconic catedral (Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción).
Many of the restaurants offer happy hours with drinks priced in pairs. At the Grill House (whose happy hour lasts all evening), we bought margaritas and mojitos at 2/60 NIO (~$2 USD). At La Taberna, we enjoyed drinks and appies (enough for dinner) with a final bill, including tip, of 320 NIO (<$11 USD).
A local international school held their annual fundraiser at a fusion restaurant, El Tercero Ojo. It offered food tastings from nearby restaurants (a great way to check them out!). For an entry price of $10 USD each, we received 12 tickets to use for our choice of 19 offerings. We were so stuffed with very good food that Ken had to taste the craft beer offering about 5 or 6 times.
Ken finally got tired of sporting his post-business-world surfer-dude locks, and followed our host’s directions to a salon in town. He came back sporting a pretty decent hair cut after parting with 50 NIO ($1.70 USD).