After 4 days on a 1.5km sqd island we got...well...bored...suprise suprise! And we started thinking that we should probably hit the road and explore more of Nica as there is plenty of land to see. So we travelled back to Managua and then made our way to Granada...the oldest colonial city in the America's! We really enjoyed Granada and ended up spending 3 days there during our trip to take it all in. As in all spanish influenced cities the centre of all the action was at the 'Parque Centro' which is always situated directly in front of the main cathedral (which, we learned always faces the west- important fact when you are lost in a foreign city). Granada's central park was really the most happening and beautiful that we came across in Nica. Lined with colonial buildings, churches, hotels, restaurants and horse and carriages the park attracted locals and tourists during the day and really got going after dark. Musicians, vendors and food stalls appeared after the sun dropped and we got our fill of entertainment by sitting and taking it all in on a bench in the park. Highlights:
- Oasis Hostel/Hotel was fantastic with a classic indoor courtyard filled with lush tropical plants, banana trees and flowers...hammocks to laze in, free internet, free 10 minute phone call home, free coffee and tea all day, pool, and a breakfast restaurant with all meals less than $2.50...private room with bath only $25!
- Mystery doors...classic central american/spanish designed buildings that reveal absolutely nothing of their interiors by looking at their doors and black iron gates...hidden within could be a hairdresser, cafe, fish monger or even a luxury apartment with a carport and pool inside!
- Central Park...classic, entertaining and full of life.
- Outdoor Markets...our hotel was right in the thick of the marcedo so we were thrown into the insanity of it all every time we went outside. LOUD music from every corner...packed road - 1 lane but somehow there are 3 rows of traffic...bikes, cars, buses, motorbikes, and people weave in the Nica flow...sidewalks are non-existent with vendors wares spilling out over them-oranges, christmas toys, blackmarket cds/dvds, glasses, watches, shoes, lunch, dinner, snacks and what else do you need? it is all there! I am hoping to post a video clip of the action once we put it together cause pictures just don't do it justice.
- Pali-we discovered the local supermarcedo and exploring the shelves here was an adventure in itself...beer and rum is the cheapest here! $8 for a litre of rum!
- Outdoor restaurants- very cool strip of outdoor cafe/bars/restaurants that serve delicious food from all over the globe. Downside...the most begging I have every experienced. Children as young as 5 in tattered dirty clothing come right up to your table and beg for you food or for some money. No one stops them or tells them to leave and you see people giving them handouts which keeps them coming back for more...sad but reality where tourist $$ are starting to flow...