An American Abroad

Nicaragua 2008: Arrival in Granada

I traveled to Nicaragua in 2008 with my son, Spencer. It was my ur-trip, the experience that formed the template of much travel to come:

  • A faintly exotic destination that had experienced civil war in living memory
  • A mixture of luxury digs and down-and-dirty hostels
  • A stay in a town noted for its architecture, followed by a trip into the countryside

I’ve since taken this kind of trip over and over since then. But back in 2008, it was all new to me. I’d never traveled in the developing world before. I had a little Nikon point-and-shoot (my first digital camera) the I scarcely knew how to use. I had a plan I’d cobbled together from travel magazines, back when such publications were printed on dead tree media. I remember that I was so anxious and excited that I hardly slept the night before we left.

Since that trip seven years ago, Spencer and I have taken two other journeys together, one through Vietnam and the other through Morocco. As he moved into adulthood and independence, I wondered how we would relate to each other. Travel, I’ve discovered, bonds us as adults, further deepening my appreciation of fatherhood. I’ve learned to rely on him, something that was a little difficult for me, since I can’t quite shake the old parental habit of thinking of him as a mere kid sometimes.

Back in 2008, flew to Managua, waded through the dozens of touts at the airport, and selected one who drove us in a van to Granada. It was about an hour away. We checked into the Hotel Colonial, a small but beautiful hotel built around a courtyard with an inviting pool and large-leafed tropical plants.

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We were here:

After resting up, we set out to explore Granada.

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