Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strolling Granada

Granada is snuggled in the crook of Lake Nicaragua and the majestic Mombacho volcano. The days are hot, but tempered by the ever present breeze churning off the lake. And clouds always hover on the top of Mombacho no matter how clear and sunny it is.

The town is easily walkable, but walking comes with a dash of caution. First, there are the "sidewalks". The sidewalks come in 3 styles, balance beam, obstacle course, and death drop. The balance beam sidewalks are narrow and require everyone to march along single file like a 2nd grade class. The obstacle course comes from any sized sidewalk being littered with potholes, rubble, stray dogs, or trash. And the death drop is when the sidewalk suddenly changes levels and you're forced to walk up some steps and suddenly you are 6 feet up and there's a sheer drop to the street below. Any of these sidewalks can be combined, so you might have a balance beam death drop. Or you could encounter an obstacle course balance beam. The there's the fact that many of the sidewalks are clad in a patchwork of tiles. Yes, oh so lovely, but also sadistically slippery when wet.

All of this means that often the safest place to walk is in the street.

(phone photo)

Crossing the street takes skill. It kind of made me wish I played more video games in my life, then I might have the dexterity to dodge oncoming traffic and livestock. Amanda coined the strategy quickly, never cross at a corner because then you need to dodge traffic from four different directions. It's always better to cross in the middle of the road so you only need to look 2 ways and then run for your life. The kids got really good at dashing across the street and then jumping straight up 6 feet onto the slippery tiled sidewalk. See, it's PE class! At least the drivers in Nicaragua are courteous, they always give a gratuitous honk on their horn before they run you down. On the whole, it's not as bad as it sounds because there just aren't that many cars in town. Most people walk, or bike, or go by horse. Lots and lots of horses.

Usually the first stop in Granada for visitors is the Merced Church Tower. Pay your $1 and climb the spiral staircase up and up to the bell tower for a fabulous view of the town.

(phone photo of Naia and I and a fellow tourist taken by Amanda)

Ironically Zach who is normally not a fan of heights, really loved the bell tower and Naia who is usually fearless was not happy at all with the heights. Never a dull moment. Zach took some nice photos from up top. I love how where I was always shooting up and out, he took a different point of view and looked down.

Aside from the unpredictable sidewalks and colorful doorways there are the churches. So many churches, and each one more beautiful than the next. I never got the chance to learn much about them, my excuse being that traveling alone with kids doesn't allow one to really delved deep into matters historical and intellectual. But it sure was pretty.

My only regret about Granada is that I didn't spend twice as much time there strolling around, getting lost, finding new color clad streets to wander down.  Even with the death drop slippery patchwork balance beam sidewalks, it's someplace I could spend hours and hours strolling around.

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