Sunday, 9 March 2008

Spain I - Granada - Dos cervezas por favor

Although we had wanted to go to Granada for some time, the thought of going just for a weekend was always a short lived one and tended to be scrapped when we checked how much the flights were going to be. Then one weekend in October or so last year we had some flights to Paris that we decided we didn't want to use anymore and, for a small fee, the kind folks at easyJet would allow you to transfer them.

We had an evening playing budget flight roulette (a game involving the scroll function of the website and a large map of Europe) before deciding that we should really just go to somewhere we really wanted to. A long weekend in Granada to break the winter seemed like a great idea.

Granada has a long and interesting history and it was the moorish palace of the Alhambra that was the real draw card that made us want to visit in the first place. Closely followed by sangria and tapas.

We arrived on the Friday and having done some research on the best way to see the sights set about trying to find somewhere to buy our Bono Turstico (tourist card); a somewhat fraught experience as there were not sold by the information office or by any shops with the badge, but once that adventure was over and we found the tiny booth that sold them (and the young lady in the booth worked out how to turn her computer on to sell the tickets...)we were off.

The card had a lot of sights on it we'd not even considered visiting, but first it was time to eat enjoy the sun for a bit.

In theory I'm the one with the spanish language skills, but it's fair to say that it was only one paper at uni, and that is now a fair while ago. But I did remember one phrase that pretty much kept us going all weekend - dos cervezas por favor.

Granada has a fantastic tapas culture. You order your tiny beer and out comes a beer and a pretty decent snack. So good are these tapas that on the Saturday evening (having had a hard day on the open top bus tour and exploring monasteries) our plan of going out for a drink and then finding dinner turned into a great tapas crawl. We ate like kings and never spent more than a few euros.

We intentionally saved the Alhambra for the last full day (Sunday) which meant that Friday and Saturday were lazy days in the sun walking (and opentop busing) from one part of town to the next. One of the best spots was however the AlbaicĂ­n, the ancient Arab quarter. We have over the past few years done our fair share of travels in the Arab world (although not enough of course!) and it was great to explore the little streets and see how the architecture was so similar. And of course have a tagine.

On Sunday we had the whole day to explore the Alhambra. It seems that there was some lost in translation with the young girl in the ticket booth as there were several steps omitted from her explanation as to how to use the card, however it wasn't too big a drama and we made it in.

We did the gardens first. It truly showed how in water was a way to demonstrate your wealth as each garden had water flowing and fountains and pools and goldfish. Absolutely delightful.

Then was the actual palace. I had seen loads of photos and documentaries on the architecture of the place but it still impressed me - the symmetry, the detail and all the history. I've tried to pick a few photos but none really does any justice.

The final real discovery perhaps suits the bio of this blog. That's right coffee. And my discovery of the Cafe-bon-bon - Espresso and condensed milk. Mmmm.

PS Am having trouble uploading photos... will try again later.

More Photos:

In no particular order, and just a sample of the ones taken in Granada...

A door in the old town

Detail in the Alhambra

Detail in the Alhambra

Detail in the Alhambra


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