August is the month that Granada honors its patron saints and they do so with many typical – and not so typical – celebrations.
The first is the “running of the bulls” which takes place on Sunday, Aug. 8. Bulls are let loose on the street and the crowds cheer and run with them through the town, while cowboys give chase on horseback. There is a planned route but the animals often do not adhere to it so you can find them, and the cheering crowd, almost anywhere – even inside bars, where the bulls have been known to enter in past years.
The second event – one of my favorites – is Carnival. The parade is always on the Friday before the Granadahípica, which will be held Aug. 13 this year.
The Carnival travels down Calle Xalteva to Calle La Calzada, all the way to the lakefront.
The parade has everything: color, music, dance and entertainment. It starts about 7 p.m. and will be arriving on Calle La Calzada about 8:30 p.m. I would advise you to grab a table and enjoy the show!
Sunday, Aug. 15, the day of Granada’s hipica horse parade, is the day all Granadinos look forward to all year.
You will find the streets packed with people and vendors selling everything from cowboy hats to cotton candy. There is plenty of beer and food stands to keep you happy all day. The parade begins at the baseball stadium, continues down Calle Xalteva, turns at Calle La Calzada and ends at the lake.
I always like going to the baseball stadium so that I can see the horses up close and personal. The parade starts about 2 p.m. so grab a spot on Calle Xalteva and enjoy the day of Nicaraguan equestrian fun.
Surprisingly enough, Granada has had a very good summer so far. Although the rain might have frustrated many of us, it has not kept the tourists away.
The streets have been busy and there were quite a few volunteer groups in town as well. Operation Rainbow, a group of dentists from the United States, enjoyed a few days of R & R at Norome Villas and Resort after spending a week treating patients in the far reaches of Nicaragua.
The Orphan Network was also volunteering in many of the orphanages throughout the country. Casa Lupita, the volunteer animal clinic, was full of volunteers from all over the world helping to spay, neuter and take care of the many neglected animals in I am sure everyone would agree that these folks, as well as all the other volunteers, deserve a heartfelt “thank you” from all the people of Nicaragua.
If you have been around town, you will see that the restaurant Jardín de Orión has closed its doors. Also closed is the wine bar Enoteca, located on the square next to the Hotel Plaza Colón. The hotel reopened a new bar – called The Bar – in the same corner spot on July 24, and we wish them luck.
There are a couple of other new places that have opened around town. On Calle Barricada, the Backpackers’ Inn offers clean and inexpensive rooms in a great atmosphere.
They also have a great little café that serves specialty coffee drinks.
The La Islita Boutique Hotel on Calle Guzman is quiet, clean and quaint. Hotel Almirante on Calle Corrales is another nice choice. It offers a great pool area and full service restaurant.
If you have ever wanted to own a horse but do not have the space, how about leasing one? For just $50 a month, you can ride your own horse as often as you would like without the hassle of cleaning, feeding and vet bills! Or if you would be interested in renting a horse for a hipica so that you can ride and experience a true Nicaraguan event, contact Painted Pony Horse Tours at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget the continuing events in Granada such as the monthly Book Club, the weekly Colonial Home Tours, the monthly Ladies’ Luncheons and the daily art classes at the Centro de Arte. If you have any event or news you would like to add to this column, please feel free to contact me.