Last year I visited Granada on a solo trip. It started slow and the rain made for soggy-shoed exploration but at our hostel, Granada Backpackers Inn, I ended up meeting Bojana , A girl from Croatia, who I later visited in her home city. We agreed to meet again same time next year but i ended up returning a little early, without her.
Two of my American friends, Robert and Lindsay, who got married in Spain last summer, won two nights paid in Granadas hillside neighborhood, the Albayzin and 4 tickets to visit the Alhambra, two of which Megan and I took advantage of.
After a cushy 3 hour ride in ALSA’s Supra class from Sevilla to Granada Megan and I checked into the same hostel where I stayed last year at about midnight. The kitchen was soon to close so while she handled check-in I cooked up some food among a rowdy mixed crowd of travelers and recently arrived ERASMUS [think European version of study abroad] students. After eating and putting our things away Megan had the idea to go up into the Albayzin and check out the view overlooking the city. After I shot a few pictures we hopped into a tiny cave bar, a bar carved into the side of the mountain. We got a drink and listened to some guys playing flamenco music. A trio of american girls walked in and one became the center of attention dancing in the middle of the crowded room.
The following day, groggy, after only a handful of hours of sleep, we went to the cathedral looking for the Saturday market, which it turns out doesn’t exist. a flock of Gypsie women pounced on us as we came up the stairs in front of the Renissance Structure, a very noticeably different architectural style from that of the one in Segovia, Sevilla, Toledo, Avila and many others I have seen. There were radial arches, Corinthian columns and a general relaxation of all of the fine, often overdone details, when compared with the Gothic Cathedrals.
Megan led me through a labyrinth of Arab, Suq-inspired, narrow, souvenir shop-lined alley ways. I’m not too into souvenir buying, besides maybe a book on the city I am visiting, which I didn’t even get this time, which is good because after just checking the bookshelf I realize I already have one from last time. I mainly get them for my future, potential, Spanish students to look through, if and or when I come back to teaching in the public school system. I did however buy a bag of Lemon grass Roiboos Tea.
We headed up Calle Reyes Catholicos, which borders the stream or river and leads up to the Albayzin to the left and The Alhambra, Spains most visited monument, to the right. The atmosphere in Granada is like no other Spanish city I have visited, the Per Capita Hippy Population is high so you’re sure to see jugglers, musicians street artist, Beggers; travelers of all types. One of which was sitting beside us on our last day eating some lunch. Megan and I bought some chocolates that we didn’t like so I offered them to him. “Of course i’ll take them!” in a grateful tone he shot back, looking for a place to stash the handful of coffee chocolate covered nuts.
We turned back to the hostel and waited to hear from Robert and Lindsay who had recently arrived in Granada after 12 hours of bus travel from the north of Spain. We met them shortly after at a bar near plaza San Nicolas, which is the lower view point over the city. From there it became a tapas crawl, from one end of the city to the other, Ending with a cup of loose leaf tea, strained through a paper towel.
Sunday we checked out and went to meet Robert and Lindsay for the visit of the Alhambra. We wove back up Reyes Catholicos again, this time crossing the river. On the way up we witnessed two guys on a scooter crash as they made a left hand turn. Both guys seemed a bit shaken up but at least they were wearing helmets. There was frost on the lid of a dumpster at 11 in the morning at the spot where we were meeting up affirming just how chilly it was.
Soon after entering we got split up from Robert and Lindsay as they were filming some footage for a video they were making for a contest they are entering to win 50,000 dollars and a trip around the world for a year. I continued on with Megan shooting some photos though I had seen the palace before the amount of detail put into almost every square inch of the place is just mind boggling. Washington Irving, Diplomat and Author, spent time living in La Alhambra palace while he wrote Tales of La Alhambra.
Megan took over my camera for a while which was fun even for me as I got to look at a scene she wanted to photograph and I would try to guess the camera settings she should put it on. She has a pretty good eye for photography but is still learning the technical aspect of working the camera
I was hoping to catch the bus back to Sevilla at 330 so I could be back in time to go to Bachata class. Catching that bus was really pushing it for time so when we missed it I was sad but knew that there was another in an hour. we figured we would grab some food since we now had some extra time. When we got to the bus station a huge Lenticular cloud formation caught Megan’s eye. She and I spent a few minutes taking pictures in awe then entered to get our return tickets for the 530 bus. In line, the huge clock on the wall said 545. We spent the two and a half hours waiting around the station for our bus home.