BL17 FINAL - Page 40



T R AV E L
The island of
Ometepe in Lake
Nicaragua is famous
for its 1,700 ancient
petroglyphs, carved
into basalt boulders
as far back as
1000 BC
We’ll travel by
boat to Ometepe,
the magical twin
volcano island the
Aztecs believed to be
the promised land
the capital city. Reminiscent of the
cultural differences between Mayfair
and Islington today, the city of Granada
was favoured by the conservative bonviveur moneyed classes, who enjoyed
displaying and spending their opulent
wealth, while León was dominated by
the liberal intellectual elite, who found
more inspiration from political idealism,
poetry and the arts, but also quite fully
enjoyed the good life!
For many years there was violent
conflict between the cities’ great
dynastic families and political factions.
Despite being intriguingly different, both
cities had perfectly reasonable claims to
be considered the capital of Nicaragua.
Finally in 1852 a highly impressive
compromise was agreed, and the capital
was established at Managua, which lay
equidistant between them. As I hope
you will soon discover for yourself
however, the fascinating differences,
both cultural and architectural,
between Granada and León, remain
as pronounced today as they still are
between Islington and Mayfair.
F
rom Saturday 7th to Tuesday 10th
November we will be staying at
the lovely Granada Hotel, nicely
positioned in the heart of the old town
very close to the major attractions. For
those of you who may be intimidated
by too much activity, the hotel has a
large and charming pool, and you can
dip and in and out of the itinerary as
you wish.
There will be two or three different
activities each day and we will have
four guides and four vehicles on
hand. As an extra bonus, beyond the
architectural sites, Granada is now a
gastronomic destination with over 120
restaurants specialising in sustainable,
farm-to-table Spanish/Native American
fusion cuisine. We will be dining in the
very best of them, as well as visiting a
few of the welcoming bars conveniently
40
BOISDALELIFE .COM
AUTUMN 2019
ISSUE 17
IM AG E C R ED IT
the world, according to the WEF 2018
Gender Gap Index.
There is only space for 14 guests
on the inaugural Boisdale Nicaraguan
Expedition 2020. The initial base for
manoeuvres will be one of the oldest
cities in Latin America, the ancient
capital of Granada. It already had
a thriving population when it was
founded in 1524, being registered not
as a settlement of conquest, as almost
all were, but as a city in the official
records of the Crown of Aragon and the
Kingdom of Castile in Spain.
Granada became absurdly prosperous
from gold, silver and timber exports.
Perched between the dormant
Mombacho volcano and the fresh waters
of Lake Nicaragua, it’s a colourful and
vibrant city. The architecture, rich in
colonial heritage, is redolent of Seville
with strong Moorish and Andalusian
influences. As a result, it’s often referred
to locally as ‘La Gran Sultana’.
Its near neighbour is the City of
León, which we will also be visiting.
It is Castilian Gothic in appearance,
having been relocated and rebuilt in
the 17th century after an earthquake
destroyed the old city in 1610. The
ruins from that event, excavated in 1960
and now a UNESCO World Heritage
Site, are known as León Viejo.
After Nicaraguan independence from
the United Provinces of Central America
in 1838, the cities of Granada and León
fought each other to be recognised as





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