Exploring the City of Granada

Probably the best sleep we have had in a couple weeks. Dark. Quiet, other than for a few roosters next door. When we booked this place we found the reviews mentioned this place was loud and turned into a dance party as soon as the sun went down. Maybe we are just lucky the place only has a few bodies here.

Breakfast was to start at 8AM. We were up at 7 and I was in the pool by 7:05. The only company I had at that time was the thousands of dead bugs that accumulated on the surface overnight, and the pool guy insistent on vacuuming the bottom of it. My swim cut short, it was time dry out a little in time for some food. As I sit there in the sun, warming my bones, I started to notice some of the evidence of yesterdays pool patrons. Cigarette butts littered the edges of the pool and the seat that I was basking on had a semi squished lime on it. The dangers of staying at a party place I guess. A shower might be in order before food to at least get the bugs out of my hair.

Melanie was ready and we wandered in search of food. The upper deck has a great view of the Mombacho volcano, but no service…we we hung out downstairs next to the kitchen and had a couple omelettes, full pot of coffee along with a pitcher of hot milk…and a couple bowls of papaya/banana/pineapple all chopped up. No orange juice, but instead a glass of fresh squeezed lime juice, mildly sweetened. Surprisingly tasty!

Jazzed on caffeine, we went for a city stroll. I was hoping that we could beat the heat and the vendors with their wares with an early start. A clear day with no clouds for shade didnt help with the heat even at an early hour. Vendors are wise to the early tourist. Even the restaurants are trying to drag people in for breakfast. The two most used words we have used on this trip are “No” and “Gracias”. We made it through the gauntlet of sales folks to the nearest church to climb the tower and get views of the city. Unfortunately we didnt have any small bills on us and the church wasn’t able to make change…so we departed. Melanie had her heart set on climbing that tower today as her sole wish. All we needed was change.

We wandered up the street. Found a barberia that could trim this mop of hair for 100 cordoba which would give us all the change we needed. Maybe later. Across the street from the barber was the Iglesia de la Merced. A sandwich board out front said, “Best Views In the City” and guess what, they had just enough change. A beautiful old church, just far enough from the Central Park that the tourists were few and far between. It was essentially all ours. Melanie was happy!

After a good 15 minutes up above the city streets enjoying the view of rooftops and the cooler breeze passing through the belfry, we made our way down to seek out another church and an old train station. The heat was starting to really build. We made it to Iglesia de Xalteva, grabbed a couple pics and wandered into a cigar making factory for a little shade. Interesting spot. They hand roll 300 cigars a day, press and wrap them for sale. The sales guy had his pitch all ready for us… and was even looking to push some vanilla flavoured cigarillos on us non cigar smokers, because that is what people that dont smoke really enjoy according to him.

Off to the train station, but the roads aren’t that direct. Neighbourhoods change from clean and touristy to not touristy, and then just plain rough in only a few blocks. We diverted back into town and back towards our room for a break from the heat. Cafe de los Suenos was right next door and had great reviews, and even more important…fans. We enjoyed a tasty lunch and followed it up with a dip in our pool, now free of cigarette butts and floating bug carcasses.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty chill. I did pop out to the entrance of this place where there is usually a bar full of travellers to pick the brains of as to where we should be going next. Only one guy there today, and I swear we saw him at the cafe next door where we had lunch. Sure enough, that was him. I ordered a beer and within a few minutes we got talking. He is from Montreal. He opened the cafe 6 years ago after looking at options in Costa Rica and Mexico. He settled on Granada because of the colonial architecture and the large expat community. This is now his life, running a cafe, trying to keep the place afloat and draw in a few tourist dollars to pay his rent on the space. It is an interesting thought, but not likely for us right now.

Melanie found me only one beer in and we headed out to find more food. Dinner was 2 for 1 Taco Tuesday, along with 2 for 1 Sangria. We made it out of the place with full bellies and sober minds for under $20… which left lots of cash for ice cream. Now we are in for the night listening to the chatter from inebriated swimmers outside our door and tonight a mix of pop tunes from the last decade. Earplugs might be needed tonight