Day Twelve: Morning Horse and Carriage Ride Around Old Town and Afternoon Boat Ride to Las Isletas in Lake Nicaragua.

 

Chris, Nina and Kathy prepare for a horse and carriage ride throughout the streets of old town Granada.

Nina got to sit in the front with Manuel for the first part of the trip and take photos. She enjoyed taking photos from the perspective of the horses.

Manuel had no idea why this street is filled with blue streamer banners.

Manuel took us to an abandoned hospital.... creepy!

The entrance to the hospital is protected by security guards.

Something about old hospitals is seriously spooky... You can almost hear screams of pain!

Even though this was a standard hospital it “felt” like a mental institution!

The hospital only closed its doors nine years ago, but it looks as if its been abandoned for centuries.

The locals did a great job of picking over the hospital for anything of value, as well as, plain old building materials.

It was surreal to see this abandoned, spooky hospital with a beautiful, bright yellow, bush full of life in its courtyard.

Seriously, you could film horror movies in this dark corridor!!

Manuel actually remembers coming to this hospital as a child, when it was filled with victims of Nicaragua's many years of war, including Sandinista fighters.

In nine short years, trees have already begun to grow through what used to be the ceiling.

Manuel poses for a photo amongst the rubble.

These sunny corridors are only “slightly” less creepy, than the “horror movie set”...

 

Another shot from the horse's perspective with a nice view of the Mombacho volcano.

Kathy stands at the entrance to an old fort.

The fort looked like it was straight out of old world Spain.

Wow, built in 1748, that's hard to imagine....

The old artillery shelter.

Manuel shows us an old cannonball.

It's needless to say that these barrels of gunpowder were guarded by security guards at the door!

 

For a building associated with war, it was quite lovely.

We were able to crawl up some very rickety stairs in this tower to check out the view.

What a nice view, even the churches in Granada are colorful.

Just beautiful....

 

Our carriage was pulled by Mombacho and Intomalé.

The horses trot past the entrance to Doña Elba's Cigars, where workers were painting in order to prepare the store for its first anniversary celebration.

The horses take us through central Granada, then on to Lake Nicaragua.

We were very surprised to see the Belgians walking along the central park. After the amount they drank last night, we figured they would sleep all day! Tom has a wonderfully ingenious way of traveling with his tall companions. He has a small bike that goes with him everywhere.

Nina loved taking photos of church steeples and domes peaking out over buildings throughout Granada.

 

 

An up close shot of the central cathedral.

Nina really loves this photo of the horses heading down one of our favorite streets in Granada past colorful houses and rows of street lights.

A beautiful old church with a colorful, modern statue of the Virgin Mary.

What a beautiful old church...

The bright yellow cathedral simply towers over all of Granada.

Our first view of Lake Nicaragua.

 

The entrance to the Lake Nicaragua park and boat docks.

On the way to the boat docks...

We spent two hours floating around Lake Nicaragua and visiting various islands in one of these covered boats.

Some locals heading home via boat.

These row boats have seen better days!

Nina also enjoyed taking photos from the boat's perspective.

Some cool tree photos...

 

The boat heads down very narrow paths through the foliage.

 

Not sure if this is an egret, a heron or something else?

A local fisherman hides in the bushes.

We stopped at an old war-time fort, built in 1784, called El Castillo. It was used to protect the city of Granada.

The entrance to the fort.

A solitary tree flanked by a sturdy stone wall.

Chris looks out across Lake Nicaragua.

The fort is being renovated.

 

A lovely view of Granada from Las Isletas.

Apparently, there are 365 islands in Lake Nicaragua, one for each day of the year!

Many of the islands had a single house. Can you imagine owning an island?

The island houses were built using a very wide variety of architectural styles.

What an amazing life.... living on your own island!

A beautiful lone egret.

A cluster of tree nests for black birds with really bright yellow tail feathers.

Now, that's a nice vacation home!

A rather interesting Asian style home.

 

Wow, now that's a nice set up!

 

Chris and Nina enjoying the ride.

Nina poses with a very interesting tropical flower. It looked like a plain, light green, tube until our guide shook it and it burst open with bright red tassels.

We were happy to pay a little extra to go to Monkey Island.

Apparently, these white faced and spider monkeys used to be personal pets, until the owner got tired of them and dumped them on this island. Being tame and unfamiliar with hunting, people decided to start visiting the island to feed the monkeys.

The monkeys were very, very friendly and jumped right onto a neighboring tourist boat.

The monkeys were very determined and eager to find food!

This little guy ran back and forth across the top of the roof.

This guy is getting ready to make the grab...

This one is a limber little fellow!

 

Seriously, could monkeys be more cute!?

What a spooky old boat...

 

The boat stopped at a lakeside café but none of us were very hungry.

 

These green parrots were simply chilling on a rail.

 

Now, that's something you don't see everyday. A dog sleeping next to a pile of coconuts.

Nina loves taking photos of dilapidated and sinking boats. Charming....

 

 

This huge and colorful house looked like it should be at the carnival. It had a Maryland flag hanging out front.

Nina also enjoyed taking photos of low hanging trees, dipping into the water.

 

 

 

 

Lake Nicaragua has a lot of beautiful water lillies.

 

 

The Central American people are highly religious and mostly Catholic and it shows.

A rather precarious telephone pole in the middle of the lake!

Beautiful views of Volcan Mombacho.

 

 

The fisherman was still hard at work during our return trip.

What a beautiful journey...

What great foliage!

Interesting water birds.

After our boat ride to Las Isletas, we spent the rest of the afternoon doing some “light” shopping in Parque Central and Nina got a massage from Seeing Hands Blind Massage, it was amazing. It was only $5 for a ½ hour chair massage!

Kathy checks out some woven place mats and napkins.

Now, that's just plain overwhelming!

While walking around Granada we came across another quesillios cart.

While walking to dinner, we came across a soccer match in the dark in front of an old church.

 

 

That night, we met up with our Belgian friends again. We owed them a round of drinks! Our little shadow Manuel showed up too and tried to sell us more gum. We've come to the conclusion, that there are a lot of people named Manuel in Central America and kids will try to sell you anything! When Kathy wouldn't buy any gum, Manuel asked if he could have her crackers.

Nina was very happy to finally hear some marimba music in Central America!

You can hear it too!

Nina and Chris enjoyed making friends with all the local dogs and had quiet a following!

 

That night, the Belgians and us went dancing at El Club. Chris and Nina practiced some salsa and Nina enjoyed harassing Bruno about his “player” dance moves. The Belgians enjoyed getting free tequila shots from scantily clad dancers, every time the DJ played the song “Tequila.” Just minutes after we left the club and started walking to the hotel, all the lights throughout Granada went out. Apparently, this happens frequently. We could heard police walking through the streets blowing whistles and had to get ready for bed via candle light.

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