From the Notebook: Granada

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The following is an excerpt from an essay on Granada, Nicaragua.

Granada is a perfect city. The old houses are locked together, forming candy stripes of pastel paint. The streets are narrow and crooked, opening into public plazas. Enormous wooden doors hang open, revealing leafy courtyards and abuelas in rocking chairs. Skinny teenagers pedal down the street on bicycles, their chains squealing, just as horse-drawn carriages fly in the opposite direction. The old city is only a few kilometers long; we walked from one end to the other within a half-hour. Visitors describe Granada as “colonial,” but the stone walkways and towering churches smack of fairytale Europe—the Italy of Pinocchio, the Spain of Don Quixote. Such majesty should only exist in the woodcuts of romantic novels.

Even our hotel was perfect, with its wooded atria and tiny pool, the simple rooms and plaster walls crawling with geckos. On the avenues, the restaurants had perfect arrangements of tables, perfect platters of ropa vieja and fried plantains, perfect little napkins wrapped around Coca-Cola necks. When we ordered “un litro” of Toña beer, it tasted perfect on our lips, the lightest and airiest of cervezas.

 

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