Granada, Nicaragua is a walking town for many of those who live here. Granted there are plenty of bicycles (usually carrying several passengers of all ages, with not a helmet anywhere in sight). There are motorcycles and scooters, and cars, of course. There are also plenty of taxis for bringing one’s groceries home, riding to work, or getting safely from A to B later at night, and buses, especially for between Granada and surrounding towns and villages and to the capital, Managua, and neighboring countries Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras. But sooner or later you find yourself walking—a lot! It’s certainly a fine way to see the sights and get a flavor of everyday life in Granada, and it is also a daily adventure in navigating the alarmingly uneven streets that accompany centuries-old colonial dwellings.
As a reasonable mobile (though not yet awesomely fit) senior I have experienced these streets in several parts of town and believe me, if you want to stay predominantly upright it is an absolute necessity to keep your eyes on the ground, no matter how attractive the surrounding scenery and activities! In the green, or rainy, season the hazards double as many sidewalks are made of lovely tile which becomes wickedly slick for all but the grippiest soles (and I’ve yet to find those!), making it even harder to stay upright.
There are steps up and steps down, frequently very steep steps, open drains with missing covers or grates, and patches of just gravel or weeds. On some streets every house has its own “sidewalk” for its residents to sit outside in the evening and visit with the neighbors while watching the world go by.
Unfortunately, the elevation of these personal sidewalks can vary in height by several feet with sets of steps going down in various directions at the whim of the home owner or builder. On the other hand, elevated sidewalks make good sitting places for those wishing to catch their breath after hiking up a hill in the sun, or carrying heavy loads (and for me, a purse containing wallet, make-up bag, phone and dictionary can constitute a heavy load in the heat!)
When walking, however, often it is safer to use the road, despite bicycles, horses-and-carts, street dogs, and the various types of motorized vehicles that zoom hell-for-leather down the narrow and crowded streets.
Once you get used to the idea, though, you begin to take these sidewalks for granted and simply make frequent stops to appreciate the architecture, the shops, the people and the charm of this ancient and intriguing city.