Granada Travel Club

 

January 20, 2016

The last trip of the travel club was to an Travel Club Island Adventure on Lake Nicaragua where we learned a lot about how Nicaragua was thousands of years ago.  We have been amiss in not including all the other trips we have taken.  There is a travel club trip each month and in the future we will be more diligent about reporting them.

September 17, 2014

OK all you Travelers at Heart and members of the Granada Travel Group… Time for Ometepe !!! We are leaving this coming Monday the 22nd early morning and returning on Wednesday the 24th early evening. We have a van that will seat 15 ..so first 15 go .. Tentative plans are to stay at the Hotel Villa Paraiso in Playa Santo Domingo. Jeannie Koons will be doing an email/post later today with all the details and pricing. For those that have an interest, please let Marti & I or Jeannie know so we can get a head count…This will be a great & fun trip!

Steve Owen

May 3, 2014

As the temperatures continued to rise in Granada, the Granada Travel Club hit the road for the highlands of northern Nicaragua. Leaving around 6:30 am on Wednesday April 23rd … a group of twelve adventurers embarked on a fun and festive trip.

 

First stop, the farmers market in Sebaco …. as promised the booths were filled with all varieties of fruits & vegetables which were both mouth watering and eye popping in their myriad colors. The only logical decision … we were going to return on our way back to Granada to pick up some produce for home.

 

On to Matagalpa … a large bustling city with lots of people, cars and noise. The area has a definite German or Alpine influence in the architecture of several street front buildings. And as with many Nicaraguan cities, the Cathedral of Matagalpa, San Pedro, begun in the late 1800’s, towers over one end of the city next to a central park. At the other end of the main commercial avenue is the Rubin Dario Park and the Iglesia de Laborio church. The Cathedral embodies impressive grandeur … and the Iglesia de Laborio is much more low key and warmly welcoming.

 

Central Park is a fun place for adults and children alike. A very colorful Gazebo is the central feature and is surrounded by lot of trees and walkways. And as with a lot of parks here in Nicaragua, Central Park includes statues of well known revolutionaries.

 

Rubin Dario Park is the base for a Ceramica Negra store and home to lots of activities including trick bicycle riders and skateboarders.

 

In between both parks is the Museo de Cafe. A free exhibit, the group enjoyed learning about the history of coffee in the area. This history includes a significant influence by German immigrants who were pioneers in Coffee production in the mid 1800’s. There is also a display listing the meaning of the names of towns, villages & cities in Nicaragua. Who knew that Jinotega means ‘Town of the Eternal Man’ or that Sebaco means ‘Serpent Woman’.

 

The group took time to have a great Chinese lunch at a well known local restaurant on the second floor of a building near the Cathedral. The views included homes perched on the hills overlooking the town and a couple brightly colored green parrots.

 

Once the hunger pangs were taken care of … it was off to the Castillo de Cacao. Entering a castle perched on the side of a hill, the group thoroughly enjoyed learning about the production of chocolate. We donned caps and masks to cover our heads and faces as we got a tour of each room in the castle. The favorite was the last room where a group of women were wrapping the final product. And even though we were full from lunch … lots of chocolate was taste tested and purchased.

 

After a very busy day, it was time to take a break … and to sit back and sip a Tona or glass of wine. We headed further up into the mountains and arrived at Selva Negra, an Eco Lodge and Coffee Plantation. The area was named Selva Negra by the settlers in the mid 1800’s because it reminded them of the Black Forests in their native country of Germany. We were delighted with our two four bedroom bungalows and after settling in, we headed to the restaurant for a delicious meal. While dining, we were delighted to meet Eddy Kuhl, the founder along with his family, of this lovely place.

 

Day two of our adventures in the highlands found everyone heading off in their own direction to explore. Some headed up into the hills on a high energy hike … others grabbed their cameras and wandered through the gardens and trails of this magical place which includes lush flowers growing on the tops of the bungalows and a garden filled with whimiscal art. Some adventurers headed off on tours of the coffee plantation and horse back rides …. while a few grabbed a book and found a quiet and serene gazebo by the lake to read and relax in cool comfort. Everyone enjoyed their chosen pastime and met back up in the late afternoon to share their adventures while enjoying a cool drink by the lake. Long pants and jackets were gleefully donned as we enjoyed a second night in the cool breezes of Selva Negra.

 

Day three began with a group breakfast and then back in the van to head towards Jinotega, the Valle of Tomatoya and San Rafael. First stop … the Central Mercado of Jinotega. This market is remarkably well organized and the areas are very well marked. Signs indicate the stalls with fruits & vegetables, meats, household goods or clothing. Great fun was had taking pictures of a vendor holding a pig head … while all of the other parts of the pig were displayed on a rack next to his kiosk. We were also very impressed with the teams of young people in yellow shirts chasing each other to see who could pick up the most trash. A very clean and easy to explore market with lots and lots of merchandise.

 

Next up … the Valle de Tomatoya … home of the Ceramica Negra Cooperative which was hard to find but definitely worth the effort. After arriving we got to see one of our fellow adventurers actually create a ceramic piece on a wheel. We learned that the ceramics have a black color, not because of the color of the clay, but because they are smoked in a wood that creates the black luster.

 

We finally made our way to San Rafael del Norte, a town that lies at an elevation of over 3,000 feet making it the highest town in the Nicaragua. After a yummy lunch at a local hotel & restaurant, we headed over the local Parish Church. The walls of this church are filled with murals depicting the tenets of the Catholic religion. Of particular interest, and well know in local lore, is the mural of the ‘Temptation of Christ’. The devil depicted in the mural bears a striking resemblance to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega at a young age.

 

As the day began to wane, we hopped back on the van for our trip home. We made a quick stop at the Museo Precolombina de Chaguitillo and found that while it was too late in the day to head into the fields to see the pre-colombian petroglyphs, we could enjoy the art of the Museo. One last stop in Sebaco to stock up on fruits and vegetables, and then we were homeward bound.

 

We all enjoyed the adventures that we accomplished and quickly realized that it will take several more trips to the Matagalpa/Jinotega area to be able to embrace all that the area has to offer. So lets start planning a trip back north next year .. same time / same place. The gorgeous weather and the beautiful surroundings await!

 

March 21, 2014

Hi Granada Travel Club

We have another trip coming up and it combines 3 activities many of us enjoy.  So, without further ado, here is the info.
Trip:  Beach, Painting and Golf

Where:  Hacienda Iguana

When:  Saturday April 5 – Tuesday April 8

More Details:

Amy has received an invitation from Hacienda Iguana to hold a special art class there, renting Casa Rio. Some of the rooms hold twin beds, queen beds and one futon. The cost for a three night event would be about $150 per person, including room, taxes, and art classes with one 16 x 20 canvas, and watercolor paper. Food and drink are extra as is golf. However, the owner of the house has golf privileges and so it should be $ 20 per person for the golf.. There is a new restaurant at the beach within a close walk, that is reported to be very good.With three days, Amy says that we can do an oil painting or else just continue with acrylic and then water color for additional classes. Amy will be bringing easels.
To Reserve:  Contact Amy at  painterly.0910@yahoo.com.  She is also at the Centre de Arte next to Ole on Wed mornings, Thursday all day, Friday all day, Sunday morning.

Sounds like another fun adventure.

Reminder:  Mojito Friday.  Usually starts around 4:30 – 5.  Call for current location as it moves from time to time.  Currently we are meeting at the Grill House on Calzada.

Jeannie Koons
112 La Otra Banda
50 Vrs.  Norte de Puente PPQ
Granada, Nicaragua   40034
Jeannie@jeannieksmith.com
78538525
Moviestar

March 8, 2014

Hi Granada Travel Club,

The Leon Trip will take place Tuesday March 11.  This is a change.  We had planned to go on Monday but some of the museums were closed on Monday so the date was changed.

You are on the list if you have received a written confirmation this morning.  Only people that responded in writing are on the list.  Those that may have mentioned that they were interested in going but did not confirm in writing are not on the list.

The plan is to leave early Tuesday March 11 and return around dark to Granada.  More details when we line up the transport.

Thanks,

Jeannie Koons

112 La Otra Banda

50 Vrs.  Norte de Puente PPQ

Granada, Nicaragua   40034

Jeannie@jeannieksmith.com

78538525 M