Granada, Nicaragua. Oldest Spanish-city in Central America

Granada Street Sweeper

With nearly three weeks of solitary riding and experiencing Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua I had no idea that I’d reunite with friends I met when in Chihuahua at the Creel Horizons Unlimited meeting two months ago.

Pulling into a local hotel in Granada — the second city (some will say first) founded by Fernandez Francisco de Cordoba — I spot a couple KLR’s parked in front. Within a few moments I’m greeting by Suzanne — a leggy blonde from outside Toronto. She tells me she is riding with her father to South America.

Granada Cathedral Biker

“We’re going to dinner with a few other riders we met yesterday,” she tells me. Within minutes Dan comes strolling up the street with his wife Bonnie and fellow rider Rex. I met Dan with his friend John (a Sting look-alike) in Creel and then again in Zacatecas, Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende. Bidding farewell over a month ago they were headed to Mexico City where Dan was to pick up his wife, Bonnie. And since then they’ve been riding through Mexico and Central America. John split to head back to pick up his girlfriend who was scheduled to fly to Mazatlan. Geez. There’s something to having a girl flown in. I should think of such things…

Over dinner we share stories of our travels and then walk the vast colonial section of Granada and through the scenic Parque Central. There’s a huge Christmas celebration and much of the younger crowd are congregated to the east part of the cathedral engaging in what’s the Latin America’s version of running of the bulls.

A harness is strapped to the back of the brave and dozens of fireworks are tied to the harness. The fireworks are lit and the “bull” runs through the crowd while the fireworks explode. A dangerous prospect for sure. But roaming the crowd are several volunteers from the Nicaraguan Red Cross.

Doggy Do Granada

As noted earlier some claim Granada to be the oldest Spanish-built city in all of Central America. The town amassed wealth and a reputation as it was a major transit point for shipments of gold and other minerals mined throughout the Spanish Colonial empire. Forever a stronghold of Nicaraguan conservatism, the city was attacked after the Spanish left by a force of Liberals from León lead by American William Walker. But Walker’s rule ended and his revenge was to burn Granada to the ground. Fortunately some of the city remained intact, but remnants of Walker’s action can be seen throughout the center of the city.

Photos: (1) A street sweeper cleans up after a “running with the bulls” fireworks celebration from the evening before; (2) Biker cruises past the cathedral that still shows charred black remnants from William Walkers’ vengeful burning of the city in the mid 1800’s; (3) Dogs do it everywhere. Why not in the middle of the street of this beautiful city. But this isn’t Paris! Where’s the street sweeper now?

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