Monday, September 22, 2014

Nicaragua - Part 3 - Granada, the Islets of Granada, Monkey Island

After our touristy day at Mombatcho, Catarina, the Masaya Market and the Masaya Volcano,we were dropped off in Granada and stayed at the Hostel Oasis for two nights.
The room itself was nothing fancy, but the rest of the hostel, I thought, was pretty impressive - it has two "courtyards" in the center of the building (one with a little garden and lounging area, and one with a pool) plenty of seats (rocking chairs, hammocks, padded benches, tables and chairs) at least 10 computers with access to free wifi and Skype) a communal kitchen with free coffee and pancakes every morning, big murals on the walls, and a strict 11pm "quiet time" ordinance.

        The gardeny courtyard area

   The pool courtyard and dining area 

             The computer station 

       Bad picture of a great mural 

              Me and my evil twin 

I feel like we got to see a lot of the city even though we didn't do any structured, guided tours there. We wandered around looking for Kathy's Waffle House, which we were told is the best place to go for breakfast in Granada (we agree) and then we got slightly lost while trying to find our way back to the hostel. Even in the somewhat sketchy looking areas that we walked through, where men were hissing at us and telling me they love me and want to marry me, I still felt entirely safe.
Here are some pictures of the city - I'm sorry that I can't tell you more about the buildings... maybe next time I will take some kind of historical tour, since there's so much history here!

    A loooooong line of school children 

Sometimes I get fancy and photoshop pictures

It was Independence Day weekend while we were there - lots of flags everywhere 

Someone down there really likes The Beatles - this is the Imagine bar

              I think this is a museum...

A very important looking church - but I was more interested in the well dressed horse and carriage in front...

                A funeral buggy. 

Speaking of horse and carriages, that's one thing I just didn't like.... All over the country you see people still using a horse and carriage or a horse and trailer to get around. I guess I don't have a problem with that, as long as the horse looks healthy and well cared for (most of them didn't) but I absolutely hate the use of the horse and carriage for a tourist schtick- 

There are so many of them - they're out in the sun all day, I didn't see anyone going around to them with a bucket of water or anything, these particular horses are way too small for the load they're pulling, and I firmly believe that horses belong on farms, not on city streets. 
The concrete is bad for their hooves and the traffic is dangerous. 
End rant. 

Now I'm going to finally tell you about, and show you pictures from, the Islets of Granada.
Here's a picture from my last post to remind you what they look like from the side of the Mombatcho Volcano

             Little... Tiny.... Islands

Ok, so, these little tiny islands - I'm sorry, "islets," were created thousands of years ago (I read somewhere 20,000 years ago!!) when Mombatcho erupted and spewed huge rocks all the way down to the lake. There are 365 of them, all with dense vegetation and many are now privately owned and occupied.
The tour wasn't entirely fascinating, but we did get to go see the Fort of San Pablo on one of them, which was built in the 18th century to protect the city of Granada from Pirates. The view from up there was nice - that lake just seems to go on forever, and the volcano looks so... peaceful..

     Lake view from the top of the fort

          Volcano view, same spot

Some of the houses on the islets are really pretty, and I looked into it, a few of them can be rented out. What you would do if your vacation rental doesn't come with its own boat, I'm not too sure...

    This one comes with guard doggies

One of the islands, I don't know if it's officially or unofficially called "Monkey Island," is inhabited by... Monkeys! It's believed that they were once pets, abandoned by their owners (jerks) and now they just hang out here (where else would they go, really?) and eat whatever fruits, nuts, eggs and shellfish they can find - as well as whatever the tourists bring for them.

Do you see it? She has a BABY MONKEY!!!! So stinkin cute. 

We made one last stop on our islet tour - drinks!

Nothing but a restaurant, bar, and pool... The perfect little island, in my opinion

Well it looks like I'll be able to squeeze out one more blog about this trip - Nicaragua - Part 4 - San Juan del Sur and our last nights in Managua will be up in the next day or so.
Right now, I have to go to the pool. 

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