December 28, 2011: Today, the 4th day of our Nicaragua trip, we drove from Leon to Granada. (Click photos to enlarge them.)
As we left our hotel, I took a photo of this pair of dolls, which we learned have a powerful role in Nicaraguan folklore. The tall beautiful lady is Spanish (I took a picture of another representation of her in the square on day 1), while the short guy with the big head is Nicaraguan: short of stature but big of brain. The two dance together in celebrations and parades.
This statue was also in the courtyard of our hotel. I was struck by the sharpness of the shadow, particularly the halo.
The first stop on our drive was Masaya Volcano National Park, the first national park created (1979) in Nicaragua. There are five dormant craters and one active volcano, impressively steep and deep, emitting fumes and occasional bursts of lava. The last photo is of the last stage of the dramatic stairway (170 steps) to the top of the viewpoint, marked by an unusual cross.
We spent some time in the market of the city of Masaya, which is a crafts center. We were taken by this amusing creature ...
... and by this sign overlooking our quest for a chicken of Nicaraguan heritage. (We found two good ones.)
We went next to the village of Catarina, which overlooks the large and incredibly blue Laguna de Apoya, a crater lake.
Walking down a lane in the village, I noticed this atmospheric scene of clothes drying on a line, bathed in smoky haze.
Our last stop was the village of San Juan del Oriente, known for its fine ceramics. This woman was demonstrating painting and polishing a pot. We bought three nice pieces here, at incredibly low prices.
Arriving in Granada around 5 PM, we took a stroll around the central plaza just as dusk was falling. We will tour the city in one of these horse-drawn carriages tomorrow morning.