I know I can get a bit wordy, especially when I’m excited about something, but I’m going to try to keep this relatively brief…unlike Part 1 which hardly even got into our actual honeymoon adventures!
so, here it goes! We woke up Wednesday morning and went down to have a delicious breakfast before heading out on our first adventure of the day. One of my requirements for almost everywhere we travel is that breakfast is included (Disney being the exception) – if we’re traveling internationally, I think a breakfast is a great way to get a feel for how other meals will be…and if it’s a big enough meal, it gets rid of the requirement for lunch, saving us money in the long run 😉 Plus if we go anywhere even somewhat tropical, breakfast usually includes fresh fruit and juice!
Each morning at Hotel con Corazon, we were brought freshly squeezed juice (yesssss), homemade granola, a huge bowl of fresh fruit, honey, yogurt, a banana (smaller and sweeter than the bananas we’re used to in the US) and a roll with choices of butter, peanut butter, or gooseberry jam. We were also offered eggs each morning, but everything else was plenty for us – and kept us energized until dinnertime, so we never ordered eggs.
After breakfast we prepared for the first ‘tour’ we had signed up for: a 2 hour bike ride through Granada. We figured this would be a good way to get an understanding of how the city was laid out so we would be comfortable walking around on our own throughout the rest of the week. Our guide arrived, and suggested we grab some water…I’m not sure why we didn’t, but that was absolutely the worst mistake in the world. More on that shortly. We got on our (somewhat rickety) bikes, and began our tour! We were riding in the street next to cars, delivery trucks, horse + buggies, and motorcycles…all focused on where they were going, not on their surroundings (aka us on bikes), so it was a little intimidating, especially when crossing major streets.
I love hot weather. I love the humidity. However, 90 degrees + 90% humidity + riding bikes up and down hills for 2 hours straight with the sun beating down on you + no water….we were a little miserable. Regardless of our self-inflicted misery, we saw so many amazing sights, and learned a lot about the history of Granada (though the hundreds of steps up to the bell tower of an old church was a little rough) – so we definitely didn’t regret our decision to take the tour, the views were worth it!
We had also signed up to cook dinner with a local family that night, which included a trip to the local market. We ended up taking the market trip during our bike tour instead, and while I’ve had a handful of experiences in local markets (Hong Kong, Thailand, Istanbul) – it was a huge and somewhat overwhelming eye opener to Joe. We saw stray dogs, thousands of flies, and newborn babies hanging out by the fresh meat stalls (read: still bloody, or still living), stalls to buy fruit and veggies for that night’s dinner, and huge buckets of fish, but also stalls selling toilet paper, underwear, even tupperware containers. It was definitely an eye-opener – especially thinking about the fact that this market was really their equivalent of a Target back home, and other than a couple of drugstore type places, it was where everyone did their regular shopping.
After our bike ride, we took a much needed dip in the pool, and spent the afternoon reading, swinging in hammocks, and just enjoying each other’s company before heading back out to a local’s home to make dinner.
Making dinner with Carmen (a semi-retired nurse) and her family was such an amazing experience, and definitely one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. We made salpicon (minced, seasoned beef), dragonfruit (pitaya) juice, rice, beans, and tostones. The house we were cooking in wasn’t big or fancy, and for the 2 or 3 hours we were there, we saw at least 8-10 family members coming in and out, including an adorable toddler with a huge infection on her face 🙁 While we were there, we joked with Carmen (who spoke zero English, thank goodness our guide was with us to act as translator) about bringing our future children back to visit her, she gave us a hard time about not putting enough sugar (aka none) in our dragonfruit juice, and the family applauded Joe’s success at quickly mincing the beef (usually Carmen has to take over.) We were welcomed in to their home as if we had belonged there from the start, and it left us with happy hearts for the rest of our trip.
Before we left, one of the family members brought out a binder (complete with Grand Canyon panorama) with a single piece of blank lined paper inside, asking us (with translation assistance) to start a new tradition and write in their guest book. They regularly host tourists wanting to “cook with the locals” sent from Hotel con Corazon, so I’m not sure what about our visit was special (?) enough to warrant the start of a guest book – but it was the cherry on top of our already amazing night! We plan on sending the family some sort of care package in the near future if we can figure out how – as a thank you (and because seeing the toddler “coloring” with a ballpoint pen and Holiday Inn hotel notepad made me sad.)
Argh, this is getting much longer than I had planned, so I guess I’ll stop here and write more in the near future! I’m thinking it might end up in 5 or so parts. Oops.
Our bedroom furniture was delivered today, so it’s time to start organizing all of that!
PS. new signature, yay!