Friday, July 15, 2016
Whilst we knew little about Granada we had obviously heard of the Alhambra and it was somewhere we definitely wanted to visit during our brief stay. We did a little research and purchased our tickets online a few weeks before we left the UK. We had read that queues form early in the day and we also wanted to take advantage of a guided tour and we were so pleased we had bought our tickets in advance as when we arrived at the Palaces just after 9am there was already a queue of at least 100 people waiting to purchase tickets.
The Alhambra sits atop a high hill with commanding views of the surrounding countryside and Granada below. From the town itself looking up at the Alhambra it looks impressive not to mention the fabulous views of the palaces from viewpoints in and around town. We also liked the view of the palaces later at night when the building were all illuminated.
Back to the tour though and suffice to say, it was a great tour and one we are so pleased to have experienced. We learned a little more about the Catholic monarchs and the history of the Muslim occupation of the palaces. The architecture, grounds, gardens and views were spectacular and well worth the extra pesos to have a guide. The tour lasted for just over two and a half hours and that was about right for us. Our photos do not really do it justice and we took almost 200!!!
Walking up to the Alhambra
Thursday, July 14, 2016
After our bus journey we unpacked at the lovely compact apartment in the centre of town and headed out for a bite to eat and a wander. We knew little about Granada but had heard only good things so we were excited to explore over the next couple of days but with no real idea of what to expect.
Our first evening was a great start with cobbled streets winding through the neighbourhood, guitar playing locals and sangria and tapas for supper and ice creams and flamenco dancers to finish the evening how could we not be impressed.
We slept well and were up and out early for breakfast and to join a guided tour of the historic centre and the Arab quarter. A scrummy pain au chocolat and freshly brewed coffee solo gave us the boost we needed and off we went!
Our guide was a knowledgable and funny guy and we thoroughly enjoyed the two hour tour which took us through the streets of the city and ended up high to a vantage point with stunning views of both the Alhambra palace and the surrounding countryside.
We learned about the history of Granada and also some tips on places to eat including local vegan restaurants!
We enjoyed the architecture, mainly colonial, many plazas, churches and also the cathedral.
We loved the sights and sounds of the Arab quarter with the bustling markets and smells of fresh tea leaves and spices.
The cobbled alley ways provided shade and relief from the hot sun and the pretty gardens in some of the houses were a real surprise find.
At the end of the tour we sought out a restaurant recommended by the guide where we enjoyed a relaxing lunch of Spanish tortilla with salad and of course the obligatory cool beers!
Panoramic views at the end of the tour. The photos do not really do it justice.
'Owing to a cancellation we found ourselves with a couple of weeks free, one of which was quickly filled with a new client living near Nerja on the Costa deal Sol. After checking out nearby places we were pleased to see that Granada was less than two hours from Nerja by bus and so we searched for decent AirBnB accommodation and started to plan a visit ahead of our house and pet sit in Nerja.
We left from Bristol airport on a breezy and chilly afternoon arriving just over two hours later to a balmy evening in Malaga. We took the train a couple of stops to our overnight hotel in Malaga (www.barcelo.com), and once there relaxed with a few beers and watched the footie!
Waiting for the train at the airport station
Next morning and after a decent nights sleep we headed out in search of somewhere for brekkie. We found a great little pavement cafe where we enjoyed some delicious coffee, freshly squeezed juice and toasted cheese sandwiches!
Suitably refreshed and replenished we made our way back to the hotel to collect our bags and headed to the bus station for the non stop service to Granada. It was a very warm morning and whilst waiting for the bus some light refreshments were needed!
The journey from Malaga centre to Granada bus station on the outskirts of town took just under two hours and the bus was very clean and comfy. We had front row seat too which was a bonus!