Friday, June 13, 2014

Day of island hopping and horse and buggy touring in Granada

Having brekkie at the hotel while chatting to a couple from Utah.

Wednesday morning started of with an awesome breakfast in the pool area talking to my favourite Utah couple about politics and why they're moving to Granada. It was fun sharing our common viewpoints and learning how different things are in Nicaragua when trying to buy a house. All in Latin American time. Wayne is a contractor and his wife is a special Ed professor so they will keep themselves busy here.  
Our amazing tour guide Jose.

at 9am sharp our tour guide Jose came to pick us up for a tour of the islands of Granada. There's about 365 little islands that were formed when the volcano erupted. I think it was Mombacha Volcano.  We got on the boat and it was a stunning views of green and forest as we docked off in the swamp waters. We were going on Lake Nicaragua, which is a massive fresh water lake. (not sure if it's bigger than lake Ontario?) its second only in size to Titikaka which is an awesome name :D. 
Waiting to embark on our island tour

The tour on the boat was incredible as we stopped from island to island. The first stop was a lookout point where we saw some great views of the city and the other islands. A lot of those have really beautiful houses and owned by the very wealthy (mix of foreign owned and local businessman) you can buy an island for around 300k or rent one for $300 for the weekend. That's definitely something I would consider doing the next time I'm in Granada. I had a lot of fun eating the local mangos. The guide told us that mangos are so plentiful that people through them into the Lake to feed the fish! I picked a juicy one from the ground and ate till I was happy. 

Vash checking out pics of beautiful Granada, this was a lookout point from the fortified island 

Mangoes Mangoes everywhere, I picked up one and ate it, delicious!

Our next stop was to see some local monnkeys( including a mother  with child) inhabiting one of the islands, they all have Latin names and they came out on demand because they are used to being fed. One of the monkeys we saw had a big belly so he was getting too much loving.

Monkey welcoming us as we approach the island with our boat. 

Fat cat Monkey waiting for some food, the local restaurants feed them very well and these monkey rely on outside for food. not enough on the little island.

The last stop was on an island where 3 families live. This was a throwback to the old days, we saw pigs and horses and chickens roaming around completely oblivious to us. In the funniest scene a guy was wrestling with the pig as he attempted to bathe it. The pig was behaving like a little kid and running out of the water. A few minutes later, the guys wife did bathe her little son in the water. We lauhed as Vash captured the scene on video. Even the rural of places in Granada has a local bar and we stopped to enjoy some refreshing coke and coconut water while soaking up the view.
Vash thrilled to watch the local family bathing their pig!

A nice cold beverage for me and coconut water for Vash, even on a less developed island with pigs and chickens, there is a bar for tourists.

I'm pretending to photograph our tour guide so that I can ge the family in the background. i was quite taken with how rural they live, considering the neighboring islands are so well developed.

Later that day we stopped for a delicious meal back in our room of mexican pizza and I ate my leftover salad.  We napped and then ventured out for a horse and buggy ride through the town. It was a great experience because we got to see a lot of the local streets and admired the brightly coloured houses, each family decides what to paint their house and I'm sure there is some collaboration because the colors blend quite nicely from house to house. The bright colours inspired me to do something with my condo. It gets very hot during the day and the local people spend a lot of time by their open doors and windows just sitting and chatting. It's amazing how many houses do this and it spans across the generations, not just old people. It was lovely to see them doing this every day and you get the feeling that there's a lot stronger social ties than in north America. If I didn't have air conditioning I guess I would do that too!

soo happy to get a hose and carriage ride and not working after a long day in the sun visiting the islands.

one of the gorgeous bright coloured buildings in Granada. very pretty city

it's up to the owner to paint their own house and they usually try and contrast their neighbours.

vsah and I in front of Lake Nicarauga, it's a huge fresh water lake, 2nd only to Titikaka. we had biked around the lake the previous day and it's very pretty, lined with lots of local bars with patios and dance floors for latin music.

more examples of beuatifully painted houses in Granada. so inspiring.

We had a nice dinnner, I decided to have a fillet steak and vash had a lovely local dish that I wished I ordered instead. It's a good thing she shared cause I stopped eating my meal and had hers. Vash fed my leftover steak to the dog. [One thing I noticed about Nicaragua and costa Rica is that animals do not eat well and frequently look undernourished]. 
filet mignon, was okay, I preferred Vash's flavourful dish

chicken burito dish that was delish.

After dinner it was off to some dancing at Kellys sports bar. It caters mostly to tourists so they had a nice mix of club and Latin music. I chatted up a Brazillian girl and invited her to our table. She didn't speak any English but was able to understand Spanish so Vash and her spoke. To my surprise the Brazillian had a friend who was very cute and she and I danced and chatted during the night.  I had a great time but vash was disappointed that there was no salsa music so she had an okay time. We left at midnight and got a taxi. A very full day!

a nice cozy bar in Granada, we danced here at our last night in Granada

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