January 27, 2015
Today was one of leisure. After our breakfast of eggs, fruit, and gallo pinto, we headed out to the local market, just a few blocks off the plaza. At first glance it didn’t look that big, but soon we found ourselves following the locals through a maze. Booths lined the streets and indoor buildings and included a variety of products…Colgate, Speed Stick, dresses, backpacks, buckets of rice, vegetables, crabs on a string, and piles of raw chicken. All I could think of were people in the Amazing Race having to locate a particular booth. It was fun to see the life of the locals.
From the market we strolled along the streets checking out old buildings, cathedrals, and street painting. We briefly stopped at the Museo de Convento de San Francisco that didn’t seem that exciting from the facade. There was a cool mural on an inside wall as well as a rose garden in the court yard, but it didn’t entice of enough to pay only $1 to continue inside. Perhaps I should have completed some research about Granada before I arrived. According to http://www.nicaragua.com, The Convento de San Francisco was erected in 1525 and burned by pirates in 1665 and 1685. William Walker, the American filibuster burned it yet again. Being rebuilt multiple times, the only part of the building that remained original were the outer walls, the vestibule and part of the tower. I suppose we shouldn’t have judged a book by its cover as it is famous for it catacombs that house remains of 75,000 people and it’s library is full of books and paintings depicting Granada’s violent past. Perhaps I will have to return to Granada again one day, as it is a neat city.
We did, however, take the time to enter the gorgeous Cathedral of Granada. The bright yellow, neoclassical church stands on the eastern side of the Granada’s plaza, live with music, festivals, and merchants. It was originally built in 1583, destroyed in the 19th century, and rebuilt again in the early 20th century…a common theme with many structures in the city. The interior of the church features three naves and four chapels. One area looked as though it could fit in an amusement park as it was decorated with fake rock!
Since today was our free day, the group pursued a variety of other interests. The two New Yorkers who missed the first day due to flight delays took the hike they missed. Others kayaked and went to Catarina where we plan to visit tomorrow, while another group went to a butterfly pavilion and the chocolate museum for a chocolate facial and massage.
I chose to spend the second half of the day lounging by the pool, strolling around and trying out Restaurante El Garaje for lunch. The restaurant, listed as #1 on Trip Advisor, is located in a Canadian couples’ home. The owners were super nice and provided excellent service. Personally, I think I ordered the wrong thing, essentially a pulled pork BBQ sandwich. I can be a little picky with BBQ sauce, and I imagined the sauce would be drizzled on top of the pork, not mixed in like a Sloppy Joe. Of course, soon after I ordered I felt like I was having buyers remorse as I watched them bring enormous salads to surrounding tables. Given they was the produce with bottled water, I think salads would be the way to go!
For my final meal in Granada, I went back to El Zaguan with my roommate, Connie. I don’t generally repeat going to the same restaurant, but I have to say their Churrasco was fantastic! ETB
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