From Costa rica, the next stop on the central American odyssey was Nicaragua, and the first stop was the beautiful and historic town of Granada. Granada was previously settled by the indigenous people of the area, but the 1500s the conquistadors had arrived and Granada was founded in 1524 - making it the oldest Spanish town in central America. It has survived many invasions (mainly from Caribbean pirates - a real menace in 16th century Nicaragua) and is now a lovely lakeside town with stunning views of the nearby volcanoes.
After looking around the town a bit, I went to see the Museo San Francisco, which covered a lot of Nicaraguan history. It also had an exhibition of 'naive' or folk art. Many of the scenes were peaceful, scenes of farmland, orchards, and lush flowering forests that seem to take over human settlements, but others were about wartime - revolutions, battles.
Nicaragua has had some tumultuous times which included a regime that I was told was quite draconian (even traditional weaving was banned!?). A successful revolution followed this, followed by contra wars, and so on. Luckily now peace and democracy reign across Nicaragua (and weaving is now a totally legitimate activity).
I bought some Nicaraguan weaving while I was there. Nicaragua has a very artistic streak - they also revere poetry, and host an international poetry festival every year.