الثلاثاء، 29 يناير، 2013

Nicaragua Day 6

On our sixth day in Nicaragua we headed out of gorgeous, majestic, and historic León. We headed down to the bus station, grabbed a quick mini-bus to Granada (they are super common-another great thing about Nicaragua), and rolled right into the central park of the city. The differences between León and Granada were immediately apparent, even if we hadn't know that Granada and León had always been rival cities in the conservative versus liberal power struggles of 19th and early 20th century Nicaragua. Granada's cathedral was cleaner and more colorful than that of León, (its restoration was complete). It's roads were wider and less busy, it's gardens a bit more manicured, and its offerings of tourist restaurants and shops more plentiful and concentrated. From what I gathered, the revolution/ensuing wars hit León a lot harder than Granada, so some of its historic homes had been destroyed or damaged. Additionally, León was very much a university town, and Granada more of a merchant town-thus less revolutionary murals and more storefronts. Despite being more touristy*, I liked Granada a lot, especially its main drag, with the cathedral, municipal building and on old municipal building-all with imposing Spanish architecture. The central park was bustling with tourists, touts, children begging, and old men sleeping or chatting. 
*Note: being an avid tourist, I don't have a single problem with it-but it will inevitably change a town, especially when it becomes the dominant economic activity of the town-often, super touristy towns end up having pretty similar restaurants and bars and shops-and thus aren't as interesting as a town that hasn't changed itself to suit my desires. Of course, there are conveniences in tourist towns that I can't deny to enjoy and take advantage of. 
(all these pictures are taken from different points on the edge of the central park)
There wasn't much more in store for us on this day, we got ourselves checked into our hostel, explaining that we weren't quite sure how many nights we'd be staying-as we weren't sure what the Peace Corps' decision would be about our ability to travel to Isla Ometepe-the island consisting of two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. We walked around town a bit, checked out a few restaurants and settled on the patio at a mostly empty Mexican style restaurant (Granada is touristy enough that you can get all sorts of "worldly" restaurants). We had a good meal, and as we had a feeling that we might not be making it to Ometepe, we let our budgets loosen a bit and ordered a bottle of Flor de Caña rum, one of Nicaragua's most famous products. We topped the night off giving homage to two of Nicaragua's finest products, as we purchased another bottle of Flor de Caña took it back to the hostel, mixed it with some ice, and sipped it as we smoked one or two of the cigars we had purchased up in Estelí. 


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