A very popular and social city

Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Jul 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Bearded Monkey

Flag of Nicaragua  , Granada,
Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 95 April 9th continued - The bus to Grenada only takes about 90 minutes to reach the edge of the city. The bus stops in a crowded bus station below the frantic Marcado Municipal (market). To gain a flavour for the city and being the cheap man I am, I ignore frequent calls for a taxi and haul my stuff through the market. Of course I'm a nuisance as I walk through tight streets, pass various pots of delicious smelling food steaming away on man made stoves and make my way to a hostel called the Bearded Monkey.

The hostel was unsure if they could let me stay the night seeing as the check out time for guests currently staying was at 12 noon, and I arrived at 930am. Seeing as it was so early, they looked after my bags while I went to find my breakfast. I grab the usual Gallo Pinto with eggs, juice and coffee. Maybe the dog that bit me in Montezuma did have rabies as my thirst is strong, but this city is incredibly hot. There is zero cloud cover and the only protection is the side of the street in the shade.

After breakfast I decide on a wander around the smaller streets that surround my hostel. Being very hot, I take my time and try consume as much water as I can. I compare Nicaragua in the north to Australia, in that I am finding it tough to stay hydrated.

I'm fortunate that the hostel is designed around a courtyard and spend some chilling there with free wifi until a space for the ginger gringo is ready. They place me in a 10 bed dorm and as I prepare some of my laundry for the Bearded Monkey to hand wash for me, I chat to two Norwegian girls. One has her leg in plaster, so the obvious question was answered. She was dancing on top of a bar in Guatemala City and fell off. She's hoping the leg will be free of the cast before she is in Peru for the Inca trail, but I doubt she'll be able to hike the four days and will need to take the train.

As I'm talking to the girls, I feel tired of hearing my own story. I must have told the same stories to 5 or 6 different people in the last 2/3 days and my lips are moving without even thinking about what I am saying. It's difficult to explain but I feel tired from meeting people and making a huge effort for a few hours or even less so I feel like a day of relaxing and not being a sociable monster. It doesn't mean anything is wrong, but I don't always need the social company of a fellow traveller, I also enjoy the freedom of travelling solo and enjoying my own thoughts than feeling you have to make conversation.

Laundry handed in and I set off back to the market. The hustle and bustle is exciting and by carrying less weight on my back, I can enjoy the experience so much more.


Pushing my way through the market, it's Saturday and the place is extremely busy. Young children are begging for money, people are offering to shine my sandals, people are transporting goods via horse and cart, the atmosphere is pleasant and the smell of food in the air is intoxicating!

After exploring the market I find my way to the Central Parque. The streets that line the way to the park include small houses of various colours, deep blues, pinks, greens, it leads me to believe there is character is this small city. I hit the park and witness horse driven carriages (similar to say NYC), vendors in the park selling juices and crackling pork and vendors selling all sorts of souvenirs. This is a popular tourist city, there are traveller and tourists everywhere, and sad to say there is also an Irish bar, the first one I've seen in Central America.

I am thirsty so find a spot around the park to plonk myself down and order a large orange juice and enjoy the ambiance of the moment. I'm distracted by a nearby horse taking a very large leak, we're talking minutes here!!

The city of Grenada is located next to the Nicaragua Lake and there is a small ferry port and beach to explore. On the way I pass the Cathedral and a run down church. Between the two is roughly 20 bars and cafes.

The walk to the lake is very very hot, as I walk down I wave to the Norwegian girls pass in a horse drawn carriage, since one of them broke their leg, they have had to adapt to travelling and exploring in a different manner.

The beach is peaceful, another spot for young couples, I grab a drink from a local vendor find a spot int he shade and enjoy a good hour of relaxing and people watching.

Some people I met recently spent a week or so in Grenada, I can see why they did so with so many places to eat and drink and enough activities or day trips to keep a week very busy. Matt from Australia spent a week learning Spanish. For me, when the town or city is packed with tourists/travellers, the uniqueness of the city has gone.

I return to the hostel very tired. The early starts on Isla de Ometepe and very uncomfortable beds have really taken it out of me. I relax in my bed and chuckle to myself as I can see all my laundry drying in the sunshine in the courtyard, good job I left my mankini at home!!

I dine out in the evening at a place that serves local food. I order some stripped beef with rice and beans, a beer and natural limonade. Next to me is a big ugly USA guy, he sits by himself and within a few minutes is joined by three local girls. I can only assume they were interested in him for a business transaction. The cafe staff tried to swat them away like flies but they bought drinks. It was amusing to watch but also very uncomfortable, luckily for me I wasn't as big as the USA guy so I was left alone. The food was very tasty.

Back at the hostel, I chat briefly to the Norwegian girls, told them about my day, mentioned about hitting Managua the following day and apologised for being boring but I then went to bed. Exhausted didn't quite define how I felt. But I was able to fall asleep at 9pm and managed to sleep through till 8am the next day, despite the noise from the courtyard. I didn't have a locker for my stuff, so slept cuddling my small rucksack.

Miles walked 3.2
Temperature 32C 90F

Day 96 April 10th - I eat breakfast at the place where I had my juice the previous day. I did order an iced coffee, but it came out hot. Nevermind, I'll save the iced drinks for my USA adventure. I wandered around the market again, tried to get some exercise while carrying a large bottle of water. I was unsure whether to hit Managua for a day and leave or go for a night. So many people have said negative things about the place, but being true to myself, I like to make up my own opinion. I have to ask for my laundry to be removed from the washing lines. Most of the clothes came out fine, some looked even cleaner but the socks looked worse!!

I walked west to find an old bus shelter where a very old and slow bus would take me to Managua for less than a US dollar!
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