I have resigned to the fact that I won’t be in Spain for the next school year; I have sent out some resumes and Emails for teaching jobs back home. Since it would be a shame to miss out on the south I figured I should take this weekend to get to know a little of it. Before getting a hostel or checking on buses I signed into the ticketing website for the “Alhambra” and paid 14 Euros to reserve my entrance to Spain’s most visited monument, which limits the number of visitors to 6,000 per day.
Again with the last minute trips, I’m forced to take the bus to Granada, the once great, Moorish strong hold. If you threw a fist full of darts at a map of Madrid you would get the placement of the various bus stations; there is no real rhyme or reason for what buses leave from what stations. At the Mendez Alvaro bus station, Possibly Madrid’s biggest, I walked up to the AISA ticket window and ask for the next one to Granada. I was confused by the guys less than amused expression; he said it’s at the AISA ticket window, two to the left. Who names one company Alsa and the other Aisa and puts them side by side in the same station?
There were about 10 people in front of me some average looking people and some backpackers and at the head of the line, shouting and pointing fingers is a pair of old ladies; I can only assume that they couldn’t get the tickets they wanted because the bitterness of their Spanish made it indigestible After they were thrown out of line practically I got my one way ticket to Granada; I’m planning an ambitious 4.5 day loop from Granada to Seville to Cordoba and back to Madrid.
Like a noobie I asked some girl from the line which gate our bus leaves from, without saying much she just pointed to the bottom of the ticket where it says gates 2-10. Slightly embarrassed I headed down with some time to spare. I brought about half of of the food I had left at home so nothing spoiled; I put together two primitive turkey sandwiches, killed one and saved the other for later. On the bus before we headed out I opened my camera bag to get a banana and found yogurt everywhere. Fortunately it was in a compartment divided from the camera equipment.
The bus ride was nearly half over when I woke up at our rest stop. Why is it a universal that bus station restrooms are disgusting? Pee in the toilet and flush; it’s easy. We were given 30 minutes to grab snacks or stretch. I walked across the street to a little park and found the mast of some ship sticking out of the ground.
I made it to Granada after some spectacular views of mountains similar to those I saw on the way to Galicia. I had some directions to the hostel but no map. I tried following the directions word for word but I didn’t lead me anywhere. The sky was grey and I was ready to get checked in. there were a few guys outside a bar who I asked and while one was thinking about it the other one was google mapping the street name on his phone. The joy of hostels is they usually force you to wander some of the less traveled streets.
The Dane working the front desk was a super friendly and laid back blonde who went out of her way to make sure everything was good. I still needed a hostel in Sevilla so I asked her recommendation and she said there was one associated with the one in Granada and that I would get a discount she she looked into it while I went wandering around.
I checked out the river then headed up, into the Albayzin what I thought was the Albayzin, to the viewpoint of the Alhambra, which is said to glow red at sunset. I grabbed a bite to eat and sat with the Alhambra looming over me, waiting for the grey sky to show some blue.
I asked the older couple beside where they are from in England; they are from Austraila. We had a great conversation about their travels and son who is in Jordan working with some government security agency but the piece of the conversation that stood out most is when we were talking about units of measure and monetary units. The guy made a cool point I never considered; Americans are reluctant to convert to the metric system yet we have a metric based currency. They also told me about the immigration problem facing Australia. Many people from Afghanistan are crossing through the Pacific Islands and trying to enter Australia, but are detained at some offshore island for processing or deportation.
I was happy to have had a nice conversation with them but I was feeling down about Granada because of the weather and at the hostel my roommates chose to isolate themselves in the second room attached so I didn’t meet anyone. Disappointed, I went to bed early with hopes that weather would be nicer.