Off to Granada

Trip Start Feb 01, 2012
Trip End Feb 21, 2012

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Today we had breakfast in our hotel, but our breakfast was only one piece of toast (as Lou had warned us, but others had two), juice and coffee or tea.  I ate some of my supermarket pastries and skipped the toast.  Then Clare and I went to the beach.  At first it was really cloudy and the water was cold.  The tide was low but started coming in.  After a long walk on the beach to the other end close to the Christ statue- (only the statue was on the top of the cliff), we sat on the sand.  I sat first and found out that the sand was wet and soaked through my blanket and skirt.  We moved farther up and sat down intending to read.  We ended up talking and then a border collie came over with a weed of some sort and wanted us to throw it out for him to play.  Clare did this quite a few times until the weed disintegrated into a small piece and the dog couldn't find it anymore.  I found a bigger stick and we did that until it was time for us to pack our bags in order to check out.

After the bags were dropped off, we went over to El Timon for lunch.  Today I had shrimp a la plancha.  It was as good as the lobster yesterday.  I think I need to put on some mosquito repellent now.  I got bitten.  I am sitting in the hotel lobby to get wi-fi and there are four rocking chairs in a row.  I was the last to take a chair, but now only one young woman and I are left and she is leaving soon.

We had time for a short walk after eating and then back to the hotel to start our drive to Granada.  We were driving on the Pan- American Highway and Lou mentioned that it was not all that crowded.  We passed plantain plantations, some orange trees.  Oh, first we stopped to dip our toes in Lake Nicaragua.  At this point in Nicaragua, there is only a stretch of 18 km of land that needs to be traversed between the Caribbean and the Pacific.  From the Caribbean, there is a river that goes to Lake Nicaragua and then the short distance to San Juan de Sur.  Cornelius Vanderbilt used to take this route to get to San Francisco.  He wanted to build a canal here but the British and Americans wanted a railroad so they lobbied for the canal to be built in Panama.  I will have to check this - it sounds odd.

So after we took our photos of the two volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua, we drove north to Granada.  Scenery was not that much different but maybe more mountainous because we could also see another large volcano with its top in the clouds.  This is Mombacho Volcano, the one we would take the cloud forest walk in, but Lou does not recommend that trip.

We arrived in Granada, checked into the Hotel Alhambra that is built on the old Spanish design with a huge inner courtyard, fountains trickling behind me, a large veranda with tables from the bar/restaurant.  Our room has three beds and a big bathroom.  It is nice but dark and the window looks on to a wall.  Not so nice.  But the location is fantastic - right across from the main square in the center of the city.  Lou says it is locally owned and that we could come back to our rooms and find the maids sitting on our beds watching their favorite soap operas on the TV and eating our chocolates.  Never did see them there though.

We met at 5 pm for a quick tour of the old city.  Lou pointed out several churches and the cathedral.  The church of San Francisco is the only one dating from the 1500's when Granada was first settled.  It looked yellow with some blue paint on the right side.  She said that it looks blue in the morning but cream-colored in the afternoon.  She also pointed out the restaurants, bars, and museums, including the chocolate museum where we could have breakfast tomorrow.  She also pointed out a place for karaoke.  After the tour, we took nice warm showers and got ready for dinner.

Several of us were going to the Mediterraneo Restaurant but it turned out not to be open so we ended up at the Roadside or something like that.  It was nice - we ate outside.  The service was pretty fast if a  bit erratic.  Roger and Charlie chased away the street performers.  There are these characters - a big tall woman and a short man with a big head - and kids dress up in these costumes and dance to drum banging.  There were also some young acrobats but they were sent away as well as the two men singing with guitar and maracas.  After dinner some people went out for another drink but I wanted to come back and get on the computer and work on this blog.  I doubt if I will get to photos, but maybe if I do, it will be upstairs instead of down here where the mosquitoes are nasty.

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