Thursday, April 12, 2018

Granada's Palette of Colors

Exploring Nicaragua

I confess I didn't like Granada at first.  It seemed way too touristy, but once I started to explore beyond the Parque Central, the charm of this old colonial town made me fall in love.  In toto.

I met several expats from the United States, Canada and Europe who all moved here within the last ten years. They live next door to native Nicaraguans.  They speak Spanish.  Many have jobs.  They gushed about the people, the climate, the affordability, the art, the food and the colorful homes.  I followed their recommendations for restaurants and things to do.  This little town is home to an international community.  As a tourist, I didn't feel like an outsider.  I felt like one part of an harmonious melange.

Since the city is located on the banks of Lake Nicaragua, it is about ten degrees cooler here than in Leon--a welcoming respite from the heat that was beginning to take a toll on our energy.  As we were to discover later in the week, many of the homes have thick adobe walls with shaded interior courtyards and cool water pools.  For us, however, our garden oasis at the Casa San Francisco Hotel became our refuge during the hours of noon to four.  After a full morning of activity, we would walk back to this quiet street, duck into the Bocadillos Restaurant for cold beer and tapas and then hit the hay.

Granada is Nicaragua's oldest Spanish city.  It was founded in 1524 by Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba.  Its colorful colonial architecture is beautiful, but the fact that this city is located at the foot of Volcan Mombacho on the shore of a giant lake, makes it one of the most picturesque places in Central America.

This is a walking city.  Walk to the cathedral and bustling plaza, but then get out into the more quiet neighborhoods.  Walk down to the lake shore and its family-friendly parks.  Duck into those tiny six-table cafes, the museums, chocolate shops and art galleries.  Trust me, your shutter finger will be aching by the end of the day, there's so much to see!

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