Granada.

My father and I enjoyed Granada so much we wanted to spend our last night there before heading back to the states. We bee-lined to the Big Corn Island airport upon returning from Little Corn. Luck played in our favor once again. The last seats on the puddle jumper back to Managua were ours. We laughed when our taxi driver to Granada quoted us $40. Five days previous we had paid $30 for the 60 min. ride from Granada to the airport and that’s what we settled on.

Hostel El Momento was fully booked. However, they were kind enough to suggest another hostel a few blocks away, Hostel Hamacas. We got a double private room for $25. When I saw them dragging in the twin mattresses wrapped in black plastic with duck tape I should have guessed I wouldn’t be getting a good nights rest. It was only noon by the time we finally put our backpacks down.

We walked the city with no agenda other than getting to the top of the Iglesia de La Merced for the “best view in town” and finding some postcards (the one thing I collect everywhere I go; beautiful, light weight, and affordable) We had lunch at a cute spot called The Garden Café. Wish I had taken a photo of my cob salad to share because it was unreal. After that, we continued our no-agenda walking tour through the city, taking rights and lefts whenever we chose, following the shade to escape a scorching sun. The buildings in this city are incredibly vibrant, bright yellows, greens, soft pinks, deep blues, riddled with intriguing doorways and sidewalk-scapes.
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We walked through the local market, up and down the skinny, dirty isles filled with fruits, sneakers and a hundred different edible liquids wrapped in small plastic bags with straws. Markets are always where I feel most curious, yet understanding of local culture, where exchanges are authentic and raw. I absolutely loved it!

As we continued by foot, I noticed people in the bell tower of the Iglesia de La Merced. We had passed by it earlier in the afternoon, but found it closed. To our delight they opened for sunset and for less than a buck each we took the narrow stairs to the top to admire Granada from a higher perspective. Thankfully someone warned us to cover our ears before the 6 o’clock bellman started his ritual dance, chiming furiously at the 2 bells over the city.

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Turned in early out of exhaustion, unfortunately sleep was scarce and uncomfortable. Got up at 5am. No point lying awake in bed any longer when my flight to the states departs in 12hrs. Post office and massage were on the day’s agenda. Pops and I had been searching for this blind massage place ever since we got to Granada. It was to be just how it sounds, everyone who works there is blind and supposedly give the best massages in town. But, after a goose chase around the city, being directed to three different locations, we were told it went out of business. (Yet, tourists since claim to have found it!) Ended up at Balance, a spa with beautifully tiled floors and a pool in the courtyard. My 60min hot stone/ therapeutic massage cost $30, worth the splurge. Relaxed, I continued walking the painted streets all afternoon, mesmerized…
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Parted ways with my father at the bus station. Envious that he would be spending 2 more weeks in this beautiful country, but completely grateful for the time we had. Its hard for me to think of a proper conclusion to this journey because it was so unique, tasteful, raw, beautiful, and unforgettable. Summing up the sights and the smells seems almost impossible. I fear I will never give Nicaragua it’s full justice. So I’ll leave it a bit to the imagination, and if you’re someone who enjoys kind people, warm weather, beautiful beaches, and colorful sunsets, and are traveling on a shoestring budget, this is the place for you. Enjoy.

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