Monday, March 25, 2013

Granada, Nicaragua, Outstanding!

Monday, March 18th, 2013, we left early to head to Nicaragua to have our visas stamped so that once again we would be legally in Costa Rica.  Our Residence papers have been very slow in coming and until we have them in hand, we are required to leave the country.  The trip also makes the use of our USA driver's license legal.

As our "New Old Vehicle" was without 4 x 4--much needed--we left it with Jorge our mechanic for repairs and walked to the bus stop on Highway #1.  Not sure when the bus would arrive as it was coming from San Jose, we arrived early meeting other Americans also catching the bus.

One couple we met from Alaska was staying at a place recommended by a friend.  As we had no idea where we were staying a place "recommended by a friend" sounded good to us, even though we didn't really know the friend or the couple from Alaska!  As it turned out the place, shown above with the 2 balconys, was wonderful.  We opted for the back "quiet room" with no air and, unfortunately, suffered the noise of others air conditioners.  The room was comfortable, clean and the place adorable and affordable!

Here is where we enjoyed a continental breakfast and chatted with our new found friends.  As we had to leave before breakfast was served on Wednesday, the owners packed us a bag breakfast which was greatly appreciated.  

Here is the view from the balcony.

This is the room we occupied with the wonderful window that brought us a breeze off the huge lake that is next to Granada.  The other photo is our view.

Granada, Nicaragua, is the oldest city on the Latin American Continent.  It was established in 1524 and has been beautifully preserved and renovated and the renovations continue.  It is quaint and colorful and at times reminded me of Charleston, SC.

Here is the park in the middle of the town on the way to the lake.  It is full of people, small sodas and vendors of all kinds with beautiful large trees and all kinds of flowers and birds.  There was never a time when we passed by that it wasn't busy no matter the time of day.  Beside the park await a number of horse drawn carriages, a bit like Charleston, however, the horses are small.

 In the background here you can see one of the beautifully restored and maintained hotels that are found everywhere in Granada.

One of the beautiful streets of colorful buildings.

These horse drawn wagons are everywhere on the streets of Granada and are used for just about everything.  They are all a little different and, although a staple for the people there, add such charm to Granada.A wonderful restaurants that we enjoyed.  The first night we were directed to the a pizza restaurant that was very reasonable and delicious. The second night our new friends from Alaska, Roy and Chris, recommended the Garden Cafe here in the photo.  It was inviting so we decided to give it a try and were thrilled with the ambiance and the food!  Gardens or Court Yards are quite common in Granada and this Cafe had a beautiful one.  The pictures below show the view we had at dinner.   As you will notice in the photos, no one has a yard or a front lawn.  Their front doors are right on the sidewalk and the houses touch. Their solution is to build their houses around a garden and the concept is wonderful to see.  None of the homes have windows, only bars and indoor shutters and inside gardens!  Very different, unique and way fun!  By the way, it is also very hot in Granada.  The temperatures were in the mid to high 90's and we noticed the change after living in frio Berlin!  

Notice the fountain and all the different plants.  There were little white lights, love those little white lights, and many birds coming and going!

For a dollar you can walk up a very narrow, steep, metal spiral staircase that will take you to the top of the "Bell Tower" and give you a birds eye  view of the city of Granada.  Once we caught our breath, the sight was spectacular and a bit dizzying! 

 The church stands out and the age of the buildings seems more evident in their roofs than at street level.


Somewhere in these photos is our lodging but it would be difficult to explain in print.  Happy hunting!

It took us a while, because there was so much to see along the way, but we finally made it to the beach!  The lake looks like an ocean because it is so large.   Although there were many renovations in process the litter on the beach made walking on the beach rather uninviting.  

New sidewalks and mall streets being created.

The main street of Granada where the bars, restaurants and shops are located is also the road to the beach.  These are the renovations that are being done as you get closer to the beach.  They are careful to protect their trees and these in particular are large and beautiful.  They line the streets and offer much appreciated shade.  By the way that "tiny looking thing"  (Ha Ha) is me!

Just one of the beautiful churches, inside and out!

A walkway in front of one of the buildings.

More wonderfully colorful buildings.

And among those beautiful buildings our friends Roy and Chris.  It was fun sharing some of our time with them and running into a familiar face in a place away from home.  Yes, I'm eating---ice cream!!


Carole said...

okay, I need to learn to read them in the right order. What a beautiful place Granada is! It's looks wonderful. Love the gardens.

Joyce Grazetti said...

Glad you took time away from all that work to visit another area. Sounds like you enjoyed it.

Joyce Grazetti said...
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