Monday, April 17, 2017

10,000 miles away - Granada, Nicaragua

We woke up early to make our way to Granada, more specifically, the protected area of Volcan Mombacho. If Volcan Masaya is a simmering dark crater looking to absorb all life around it, Volcan Mombacho is the exact opposite with its very own microclimate that nurtures a cloud forest (a slightly lighter shrunken version of a rain forest). It's an extinct volcano and as the surface grew cooler, the extremely fertile volcanic soil allowed for plants and trees to grow, which in turn grew dense enough to create their own world. In spite of that, there are still some tunnels in the ground through which hot gases escape, amidst all the greenery.

It was surreal when we hiked our way up to one such tunnel, so shrouded by greenery that we could see it but we could still see the fumes. It was somewhat chilly and also extremely windy as we go higher up. There are brilliant view points covering the city of Granada, Lake Nicaragua and the islets. The volcano also has a zip lining experience which we couldn't do due to time constraints.

So once we got off the volcano, we headed to the city of Granada. Granada is the first colonial city of the continent and you can see the Spanish effect when you climb up the tower of the chapel from where you have the beautiful view of the settlement against Volcan Mombacho in the background.

We then went to the little harbour to find a boatman who would take us on a short tour of the isletas. The isletas are basically little pieces of land the surfaced on the Lake Nicaragua close to each other and some of which are inhabited. Some of the slightly larger ones have small huts and houses, one of which belonged to our boatman where he dropped off a gas cylinder. Some of the other isletas are tiny enough to hold just one mansion such that the whole of it becomes private property. And some are so tiny that they are basically dense mangroves. May be Sunderbans feels like this. 

After that, we just walked to the touristy pedestrian-only high street of Granada that was littered with foreign cuisine restaurants and alfresco dining where we caught up with Ivo's friend who helped us hunt down the art schools replica of the Iron Throne from A Song of Ice and Fire.

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