A Colonial Town I Actually Like!

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One of the advantages of travelling in Central America is the relatively short distances that need to be traveled to reach the next sight. Central America is tiny compared to Asia/Aus so the journeys never end up taking much longer than 4 hours, although you may need to take 2-3 buses to get there!

This meant I didn't need to rush around this morning or leave at a ridiculously early hour. I still got up around 8am but lazed around for a couple of hours eating banana pancakes, watching BBC World and reading up on todays destination, Granada.

Eventually managed to summon the energy required to climb out of the hammock and headed to the main square to find a truck taxi to the bus stop. As I've mentioned before about travel in Central America it is simple. Arrived at the bus stop, pounced on by a minibus driver, sit around in boiling minibus for 20 minutes then finally start driving. It requires absolutely no conscious thought at all so I just sat back, stared out the window and daydreamed for the couple of hours it took to Managua.

Managua is the capital of Nicaragua and as with most capitals there isn't much of interest worth seeing. The LP states, "Managua is perhaps the least accessible of the Central American capitals, and few travellers spend much time here." We spent 5 minutes!

The second we arrived at the minibus terminal we were pounced on by 8 people trying to get us to use their minibus. They were even trying to grab our bags from the bus! We eventually followed 1 of them but the others still kept hassling us. Once on the bus I realised we were the only ones there and would probably have a long wait but we soon surprisingly departed with only a few passengers. We soon picked up more passengers along the way and by the time we were on the motorway the bus was completely packed.

One of the benefits to using a minibus to Granada is it drops you right in the centre of town rather than in the middle of nowhere. When we stepped off the bus a little girl came up to us and started pleading with us for money. What happened next was a complete accident. As I was trying to secure the waist support of my backpack my hand slipped and smacked her square in the face! Oops! We made a hasty getaway towards the hostel.

The hostel we had chosen was the "Bearded Monkey" and it looked like a good choice. It had a good social area, free Internet and beer, everything you could want in a hostel. Unfortunately there were no beds left so we would have to sleep on a mattress on the floor for a reduced rate. No biggee. One thing I really liked about this hostel was the tab system. Everything we ordered was scribbled down and we would pay when we left. Great idea but it could rack up quite quickly! Last time we had a tab was in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and for a week it only came to $50 for 2 including moped rental and copious beer!

After a fantastic plate of pasta and garlic bread, really recommend the food here!, we set off to see the sights. From what I had seen on the short walk from the bus stop it looked like a really nice town. I was right, this town was gorgeous! The brightly coloured buildings looked great, especially the cathedral, and there were far less tourists around than the other colonial towns. I really liked the place!

We wandered around checking out the other churches/cathedrals and decided to take a walk to the dock to see the lake. It passed 2pm on the way and we knew we didn't have much time until the daily downpour. Soon enough we were hiding in someones doorway sheltering from the torrential rain. We made it to the river eventually but with all the lightning around we decided it was best not to shelter under trees near a river and head back to the hostel.

When we arrived at the hostel they said our beds would be ready within an hour but they still weren't done after 3. No big deal really as I wasn't going to be sleeping at 5pm so we just sat around in the courtyard and played pool. By 9pm the bed still weren't there even after we had asked 6 times. I had given up and thought we were going to have to spend a night in one of the many hammocks. Dave hadn't given up and went storming over a started shouting until they finally got the message. I believe the term "OI, Shithouse!" was used! Oh well, it worked so at least I finally had a bed for the night.
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