On Wednesday we left the hotel at 8 am bound for Granada. It was a cloudy, gray day. We arrived in Granada around 11:30 am. The lines for entry were incredible and our guide tells us this is common and most on line will be unable to see everything on the grounds. If you go, do your research or join a tour or may not get to see all of the palaces of the Alhambra. The translation for Alhambra is red castle. From the exterior, you won’t be impressed by the building. It is plain and well, ugly. Once you enter, the explosion of color and detail will more than reward you for your visit.
If you go, don’t miss out on the Generalife Gardens Courtyard of the pools which is the only remaining original Arab Garden. It’s a 20 minute walk from the Alhambra, but it is along beautiful French Gardens with many great vantage points from which to take pictures of both the gardens and the Alhambra.
In Granada, we stayed at the Abba Hotel. It was an ultra modern, clean and fairly new hotel. Wifi is not generally free, but our group was provided free access. The only problem I had with the property was with the a/c that didn’t seem to work optimally.
After checking in to our hotel, we headed out to the area known for their Arab cuisine just off La Gran Via on Caldiera Vieja. With the exception of the fresh hummus, we couldn’t tell you the names of our dishes except to tell you they were delicious. Truly one of the best meals of the last two weeks. We went to the old market area the cathedral and even explored the area known for the shoe shops. I’m not much of a shopper, but we ran out of ‘free time’ and wished we had more.
So here is interesting fact, did you know the city of Granada has many pomegranate trees and the word Granada is pomegranate in Spanish. One thing you should probably see is statute of Christopher Columbus bowing to a seated Queen Isabella representing the moment the Queen financed the trip that discovered America. Also check out (from a distance) the gypsy caves that adorn the mountainsides. The caves look like homes because they have built the shape of a house to the front of the cave opening.
Speaking of gypsies… They are common on the southwest region of Spain. Our guide explained how they work. They offer you a free sprig of rosemary. When you accept it, they offer to read your palm for a predetermined amount, usually something nominal. If another one of the didn’t already pick pocket you, then the one reading your palm will place a hex on you for not providing them a larger payment. Whether or not you believe in hexes, I would stay away from the gypsies.