I rarely explore a city at night, because as a solitary woman traveler I don’t usually have company and I don’t feel safe doing it on my own. But this time, in Granada, I have met a few people and have had a couple of night time experiences as well as my usual daytime explorations.
I’m not at all through with checking Granada out, but at one week in I’ve got lots of stuff to share.
Granada’s colonial city center is really lovely, but smaller than I’d expected. No matter, it’s only a couple of blocks from my hostel and I’ve enjoyed a couple of trips to the Parque Central (Central Park), and wandered around a few streets.
I ultimately found the Casa de Los Leones. Originally built in 1720, it was destroyed 1856 along with the rest of Granada when a fire was set. Only the stone entry was left, but it was reconstructed in 1924 and now hosts many cultural activities and art, music and theatre courses. There were several art studios inside it’s huge interior.
There are tons of eateries of all different stripes, from the Japanese restaurant across the street from my hostel to everything under the sun on what can only be called Pub Street (but the Nicas call it La Calzada – the road). There’s the Irish pub and the gelato places and many restaurants that serve up variations of Western food. Not too much emphasis on local cuisine can be found, except in the tiny “street” shops.
The horse-drawn carriages are quaint until you notice the local phone company buys advertising space on the carriage bodies. Wherever you go within this district, you will be asked to buy hand-knitted hammocks or pay $3 for a song by the street musicians or maybe given a free flower made from a palm leaf, which turns out to be a ploy for a donation.
And you will see poverty – people sleeping on the streets – and young people who will beg for the food you are carrying. Last night a young man, whom I’d turned away for the purchase of a bracelet, asked for my leftovers, which I gave to him. My friend and I watched as he invited his friend over to hungrily share the ½ meal I had taken away from dinner.
But Granada is not unusual, it more the norm, in this respect. If you plan to travel the world, you’ll find that this is something for which you will need to be prepared. Poverty, hawking and the feelings that go with them.
Overall, I am really enjoying my time here – and I have to say I’ve truly enjoyed the nightlife. Cheap beer – $4 for a bucket of six – new friends, great conversation and lots of laughs. What could be better?
UP NEXT – Lake Nicaragua!