Thursday, January 24, 2013

Granada & Las Isletas

We took off from Apoyo Lodge  on a Tuesday morning to head into Granada to explore the city center and to take a boat tour through Las Isletas.   This day will forever be remembered as the day our three year old talked non stop from sun up to sun down.  She was so excited and fascinated by everything we did and saw.  She asked us a bazillion questions piled on top of questions, begged me to make the voice of her doll, different from my own,  and even when she was entertaining herself she was lost in her imagination talking away to her babies and singing little songs.  At certain points in the day we asked her to just please try and be quiet for five minutes so we could gather our own thoughts which would just make her laugh at us ..... have you ever asked a three year old to be quiet?  You have.  So you know how successful that was.... 

Our super enthusiastic Finley Mae
Our walk through the main drag of Granada showed off the colonial architecture which is well maintained for the tourists.  There were lots of little outdoor cafes and a good number of tourists hanging out drinking quart sized bottles of Tona. I haven't seen quarts of beer since I lived in Ottawa and we guzzled quarts at The Lafayette!  What I would give to sit and order one of those beers. Instead I'm the gluten intolerant nerd who has to sip on Flor de Cana.  Not so bad a trade.   Donaldo, our driver/ tour guide told us this street was called Calle de Gringo by the Nicaraguans.  We laughed because looking around it was true!

New paint for an old building... cafe in distance.
The Main Square in Granada was so beautiful.
Beside an iron gate or a big heavy wooden door were the family name and or addresses of the home painted on tile.  This one photographed below caught my eye.  I would like to get one for our house whenever we land on it's cleverly chosen name...

Sometimes the big wooden doors leading from the side walks into the residences were open and then we could peek into the courtyards.  The courtyards are filled with tropical plants, fruit trees, big heavy wooden rocking chairs, hammocks and art work.  All the house hold rooms are completely open leading off the center gardens.

Interior of one of the upscale residences in Granada.

Donaldo took us to look at several churches but we stopped and went into this one.  The Guadalupe Church was built in the mid 1600 's was really neat but the main attraction was not to be seen from the ground.

Fin, Big Daddy P and Donlado entering the Guadalupe Church
We paid a small entrance fee and then climbed up and up the scary spiral stairs into the bell tower.

Taaaa Daaaa!  Look at that view.
The view was spectacular! You can see the inner courtyards from here.
Guadalupe Church view from the front bell tower.

Big Daddy P was under the impression Finley could ring the bell...

Fin trying to ring the bell

Then when Big Daddy P and Fin got the bell ringing Donaldo jumped up and asked them to... STOP!  Oops, it was pretty fun and totally worth the photos! 

Steve putting a stop to the bell ringing. 
Donaldo is laughing at us after the bell ringing incident.
I'm posting this day upside down just because that's how I imported the photos ... we actually started our day with the boat ride of Las Isletas. We didn't want to be on the water in the high heat of the day.

We hired a boat and took a water tour of some of the over 300 islands on Lake Nicaragua.  We were told by friends who have been on these tours that we would see an island of monkeys, so we packed some very ripe squishy bananas in my bag to feed the monkeys and that we would see a fortress built to protect Granada from cool!  We saw neither of these things on our tour.  We did, however, see lots of birds and some fishermen catching a fish that looked an awful lot like tilapia.

Everyone rows wooden boats to get around ... even small children going to school!
From the water we had a pretty amazing view of Mumbacho volcano ... not so impressive in my photo!

We started our boat ride off with Fin getting stung by a bee, or something, just as the captain had pulled us under a low over hang of trees.   The captain pulled what looked like a seed pod out of the tree.  The seed pod looked like a skinny banana.  While Steve was tending to Fin trying to calm her down and dry her tears the captain of the boat was insisting I take the seed pod and pull the top off.  I was half paying attention to the captain because I was so caught up in my kid crying her head off - he clearly was not reading my social cues to wait until my child was settled. 

I pulled the top off the seed pod and out came the most amazing flower we've ever seen!  It looked like strings of  fiber optics and I laughed in spite of myself.  The captain was beaming.  Finley leaped across the seats to hold the flower and her bee sting was quickly forgotten!  My bad, I do know that when you are on a boat the captain knows best. 

Finley and the fiber optic looking flower.

So I like to take photographs and I really was selective about sharing - they can tell the story better than I so these Nicaragua posts will be filled with them.  All photos are taken on my iPhone 4S and edited with camera+.

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