Semana Santa - Granada and Leon

Published: April 6th 2016
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To quote the recently deceased Dutch football hero Johan Cruijff: 'elk nadeel heb z'n voordeel' (every disadvantage has its advantage). I'm not sure if not knowing that you lose all sense of time if you are traveling for such a long time should be considered an advantage or a disadvantage, but it wasn't until half way through the week that we realized it was Semana Santa. On Ometepe it wasn't that obvious, but the week before Easter is a really big thing for most catholics, especially in Latin America. Luckily we realized in time that on Good Friday it would be impossible to get any transportation off the island and further to Granada, so we decided to leave on Thursday and make sure we got to Granada before getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Granada is a nice old colonial town that used to take turns with Leon in being the capital of Nicaragua until everyone got fed up with the constant battle and they founded Managua, which is about halfway between the two cities. Our hotel had a great courtyard with a pool and hammocks, so we have to admit that we didn't do much during our stay in Granada, except for relaxing, walking around town and going out for food. It probably didn't help that it was around 40 degrees celsius every day, but I also think we needed to have a little rest before starting the final phase of our trip. We did watch a few processions in the streets and briefly by Skype joined our friends in Holland for a belated christmas dinner, but all plans for trips outside town were abandoned.

After relaxing through Semana Santa in Granada we went to Leon for a few days. It is hard to compare the two, as they are really different. Where Granada has a more relaxed atmosphere and it better preserved, Leon feels more authentic with a lot of students and not as many tourists. And Leon definitely wins in the number of historic Spanish churches, with more churches per capita than anywhere else in the world.

We are fully aware that Nicaragua has a lot more to offer than the few places we visited, but we did get a first impression of the country and as time is running short we had to move on to Guatemala for our last part of the trip. To quote Johan Cruijff once more: 'Als je ergens niet bent, ben je of te vroeg, of te laat'.

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