Friday, May 6, 2011

The View from La Merced

This photograph was taken from the church bell tower of La Merced, in Granada, Nicaragua. The scene faces south. The (supposedly) extinct Volcán Mombacho looms large in the background.

I had the great fortune of spending my adolescent years in this colonial city. The setting was a wondrous one in which to study Nicaraguan culture and history. I believe that my obsession with Nicaragua—as a writer, that is—is due to the enchanting spell Granada casts on every person, whether a resident or a visitor.

The sight of this volcano is one that greeted me every day I lived there. That's because seeing Mombacho is unavoidable as it is visible from every south-facing street. Its presence is imposing, majestic, and I find the name itself—Mombacho—every bit as magical as García Márquez’s Macondo.

With regard to the bell tower, I had never been to the top until a few years ago. I always had wanted to climb there, but it was prohibited in the days of my youth because of the deteriorated state of the stairs. Today, however, with Granada having become Nicaragua’s top tourist attraction repairs have been made, and anyone willing to donate $1 and exert the energy to ascend the approximately six-story challenge of steep, winding stairs will be rewarded with an unobstructed view of the city in every direction. Without a doubt, La Merced’s bell tower is the best place to gaze upon Granada.

One more note: I had always wanted to climb to the top of the bell tower because it was there that as an adolescent, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, one of Nicaragua’s most important literary figures of the 20th century, used to meet with his friends to read his poetry out loud.


At May 9, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Blogger Jacky said...

Who is the photograph ?

At May 9, 2011 at 12:11 PM, Blogger Silvio Sirias said...

Who took the photograph? (I assume). I did--it was a great experience.

At May 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM, Blogger Jacky said...

Thanks. I was in Granada in January. The view from La Merced top is superb.

At May 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM, Blogger jennifer rose said...

More Nicaragua, please!


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