Lauren and I landed in Nicaragua, after having a bit of a to-do with various cab drivers over whether there was a shuttle from Managua airport direct to Granada or not (there isn’t; however Lonely Planet clearly stated that there was – the fiends). Anyway, we ended up getting a taxi from Managua to Granada for the hefty cost of $20, but who were we to complain?! We were driving through beautiful Nicaragua towards a town which boasted old style Colonial architecture, swoon. The oldest church in Central America, swoon. On top of all of that, it’s situated right on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, swoon.
Lauren, being easily the best travel companion had organised us to stay in this beautiful hostel, named Hostal El Momento, the hostel was lovely, the main doors opened into a beautiful open courtyard where tropical plants and flowers grew wild, there were many hammocks dotted around so travellers could rest and while away the hot afternoon in the shade away from the burning Nicaraguan sun. Really, this place was stunning. Our room was unbelievable; it was massive, with four beds, a TV and a fan. But we weren’t there to chill out, we only had 24 hours in Granada and we wanted to explore.
We didn’t waste any time leaving the hostel and descending onto the cobbled streets of Granada, walking in the shadows of beautiful, rainbow coloured colonial buildings heading towards various beautiful churches and bell towers. We stood in awe taking in all of the beautiful sites, really, Granada is absolutely stunning. We were thoroughly immersed in the culture when hunger attacked. Lauren and I went meandering off down to the “Safe Tourist Strip” to find a restaurant; we ended up stumbling upon a beautiful restaurant with a stunning courtyard in the middle. “Result!” we thought, a place to chill out away from the noise of the St Patrick’s day band and the children bashing sticks on steel drums, can I remind you that we were exhausted after travelling there from the UK for two days so we were feeling slightly sensitive to loud noise. We sat down in this amazing, tropical courtyard, as we were new to the town, we were slightly unsure of what to have, we wanted to eat as authentically Nicaraguan as possible. However, even on that first day Gallo pinto didn’t sound so appetising (if you don’t know what it is, it’s a dry rice and bean dish). We looked over to the next table for inspiration where we saw an older couple laughing and talking whilst they were enjoying Tapas and shot after shot of rum, it looked delicious; we didn’t hesitate in asking them what they were having and then ordering exactly the same thing as them. The waiter came over with a bottle of rum in hand (Flor de Cana) and two shot glasses, the waiter set them down and along with the old couple stared at Lauren and I as we had our first shot, and damn! It was good, really, really good. The Tapas, they were also good, but honestly, when you have gorgeous Nicaraguan rum, even Gallo Pinto would taste like heaven.
We ended up speaking to this lovely couple for quite a while, the lady told us that she worked in a School for Deaf children, the husband, unfortunately, I can’t remember what he done. But they were so friendly, and good humoured despite the fact that Lauren and I could only muster a few words in Spanish. We spent an hour or so laughing with them before we left, in that time they had polished off one bottle of rum and had started on the other, enjoying a perfect Sunday afternoon in each other’s company.
Whenever we spoke about Granada on that trip we always told the story about the wonderful older couple that we met in a courtyard in the middle of the town; their kindness of spirit and beautiful nature welcomed us to Central America; where the people are as beautiful as the landscapes.
Next Stop; Rum bar with a mystical story and onto Ometepe