(March 15 – written by Dave)
Today we played tourists in Granada, did some chores and met a dog. First the dog. To be fair, we didn’t really meet the dog, as in, we didn’t get his name. But we did meet him in that he was pretty happy taking a nap laying on my feet while we had lunch and more than pleased to share his play toy with us once lunch was finished. We met said dog at the Pan de Viva (Bread of Life), a wonderful small scale bakery here in the tourist section of Granada.
The dog was the cafe owner’s dog but really he just adopted whoever came in for a meal. In fact, once it was clear we were getting ready to leave, he moved to the table next to us and took up position under the chairs of the people getting started on their lunch. He was part pit-bull and part staffy, and just about as sweet as you could imagine. Oh yeah, the baked goods were fantastic as well. We had a great thin crust pizza for lunch and got both brekkie and lunch supplies for tomorrow. All that and we made a new dog friend.
The tourist part of the day was taken up with us visiting three more churches along the Granada walking tour route. None of them were as impressive as the cathedral we saw yesterday but each of them at least provided a cool spot to get out of the sun for length of our visits. We were met by a local guy at the Church of San Francisco – he informed us that his church was the oldest in Latin America – having been founded in 1524. Like the cathedral yesterday, clearly all of these churches have had multiple re-building periods through the years. Nothing really looks like it is 500 years old, and it would be hard to imagine wood beams lasting that long with all the humidity and tropical bugs around here.
Which brings us to Granada itself. Granada was founded in 1524 and is considered the first European city in mainland America. It was named Granada in honour of a military victory that took place in Granada, Spain – defeating the last the Morrish stronghold on continental Spain. In the early years, Granada and Leon fought over which city should be Nicaragua’s capitol. In the 1850s, both parties eventually agree to give up and plans were drawn up to form the new capitol city at Managua. I think we both liked Granada a bit more than Leon – it seems more low key, quieter and is very walkable and picturesque with lots of good places to eat and tons of accommodation options.
While we are inland, Granada is considered a port city – with the Atlantic Ocean being reached by a series of rivers. In fact, the rivers and lakes are fairly close to sea-level and were originally considered to be the most viable route for the cross Central America canal – in the days before the current Panama route was chosen.
Onto the chores. Nancy got her massage, including cupping. She won’t know if it’s truly affective until she pedals tomorrow but right now she’s sporting some lovely round red spots on her back. As she said yesterday, to each their own. I managed to get the bikes cleaned, including the chains. For the bike geeks – our Rholoff hubs make this chore much easier. I even inspected the tires to pull out those pesky little wires from the truck tires – only a couple were found.
Tomorrow we work our way south-east and closer to Costa Rica – we should cross the border on Saturday. The forecast for the next week is for highs “only” at 90F, so maybe we won’t roast as we get to the end of our riding day. We’ll probably still seek out the hotels with A/C however. We had a nice brekkie at our hotel today but we’ll be heading out too early tomorrow to partake – no issue though, we have those lovely baked goods.