Mount Mombacho from our front gate
We are usually so preoccupied with safe travel through the city that we don’t spent much time looking up at beautiful Mount Mombacho, the extinct volcano that towers over Granada. When it literally blew its top 20,000 years ago, it created 365 tiny islands in Lake Nicaragua. Some are just large enough for one house or hotel, while others are even smaller and serve as shelter for beautiful colorful birds. The 500 year old city of Granada and the natural beauty around it make this a tourist destination, as we learned when Frank’s sisters came to visit us one day. They had booked a Central American cruise with a side trip to Granada before we had our mission assignment! We joined them for a boat tour out on the lake, our first time to act like tourists here.
Our next tourist excursion was with Brandon and Christine Black from Naperville. They are spending four months in Managua doing a manufacturing internship with a meat processing factory. They took a bus down to Granada one day, and we met them at Central Park and drove to a nearby volcanic crater for lunch in a restaurant overlooking one of the beautiful “lagunas” that fill the country sides here.
From the Restaurant Overlooking Laguna Masaya
Last week, without any visitors in tow, we actually took a morning and drove to Volcan Masaya, an active volcano we see smoking every time we pass by on the highway to Managua. Apparently at night you can see the glow of lava down below, but in the daylight we walked around the crater’s rim and could see only thick white billows of sulfurous gasses. The visitors’ center had a bug collection that included 8 inch walking sticks and 6 inch cockroaches—fortunately pinned under glass.
Smoke from Volcan Masaya
Our recent excursions inspire us to plan a few more before we leave Granada in January. We need to drive up to Mombacho’s cloud forest and visit the waterfalls and active volcanoes of Ometepe. Visitors welcome! We are reminded that we are living in a tropical paradise, though some parts have been seriously spoiled by war and poverty.
Foreign tourists and missionaries are a great boon to the economy here, and Granada is working to install sewer system under the streets in anticipation of its 500 th anniversary coming up in a few years. The process isn’t pretty, as our car can attest. We drive through deeply rutted unpaved roads or over paving stones collapsing into the newly dug tunnels under the road. It’s hard on the car, but we paid only $8 this week for a “body shop” to reattach our front bumper. I use the term body shop loosely; there was no sign, waiting room, or even building—just a space between two buildings, where a few men were working on cars, using the resources of an open shed with hand tools, paint, and other supplies. The car dealer in Managua had told us we needed a new bumper, but it looks just fine as reattached by a local expert.