So its been a while and I apologize. I always tell myself that as soon as I get home from a trip, I'll start writing a post and by Monday night I'll have it finished. Well...it's been 2 weeks since that first Monday and here we are.
For those of you who don't know, Granada is the capital of the province Granada in Andalucía. The worst part about the whole trip was getting there (and coming back). I do not like buses. Even when I take the bus into Madrid, a 25 minute ride, I hate it. I get claustrophobic and I don't do well sitting in one spot for several hours at a time. The trip to Granada took about 5 and a half hours, which really isn't bad considering we stopped for 45 minutes in the middle of nowhere to eat but still. I was not happy. And for some reason the buses here don't have bathrooms, so that sucked. The other thing I didn't enjoy too much was leaving Villaviciosa at 7am. I'm glad I got to sleep a bit on the bus but I was really happy to arrive at our four-star hotel, the Hotel Carmen, around 1pm.
|Hotel Carmen! Cuatro estrellas :)|
|The view of the Sierra Nevada from the roof of the hotel|
|Me with La Alhambra in the background|
Once we got back to the hotel, the people in charge of the trip told us that later that night we would have the option to see a flamenco show or espectáculo! It cost €17 euros and included a drink. I was super excited to go since Ive never seen a flamenco show and it was such a good deal! After doing some shopping and getting a delicious tapas dinner in Granada's shopping district, we headed back to the hotel to catch the bus for the show. The neighborhood we went to is called Sacromonte, or Las Cuevas. In Spanish, cueva means cave. And this part of town was full of them. The houses are actually catacombs, aka a big whole in the side of the mountain that someone could live in. The Romans started doing it and then was quickly taken over the gypsies and other poor groups of people who couldn't afford to live in a 'normal' house. I don't know but I think it'd be pretty cool to live in a cave. Just saying haha. So anyway, the restaurant with the performance was in a cueva and was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. It was kind of choreographed but each dancer, the two guitar players and the singers were all incredibly talented. It was such an awesome experience.
After the show, we went right back to our hotel to rest up for the next day. All Sunday was spent at La Alhambra y El Generalife! El Generalife is the old summer palace of the Nazarí dynasty. But along with being a palace, it was the farm of La Alhambra where they grew everything they needed.
Something that I learned on the tour is that a lot of people don't actually know what La Alhmabra is. Palace? Fortress? Farm? None of the above. Well, technically all of the above. La Alhambra was actually it's own little city that served the royals and nobles of Granada. It has El Generalife, the Alcazaba fortress, el Palacio de Carlos V and the Nazarí palaces. We spent several hours walking around the whole compound with our awesome guide Tariq.
My favorite part of La Alhambra was the Nazarí palaces. I just love how every single room was decorated with beautiful tiles and designs in the stone walls. It really is impresionante. The one thing that kind of sucked was that El Patio de los Leones (3rd picture below) was being renovated. And I guess I should be thankful because up until a month or so ago, the fountain wasn't even there. So it was still really awesome to see but I clearly need to come back and see it when the renovation is done. One of the coolest rooms of the Nazarí palaces was the Salon de los Embajadores (4th picture). At the time, it was the biggest throne room in Europe. All the
decorations were really cool and it even had part of the original floor from the 14th
So Granada was awesome. I was always interested in the Moorish part of Spanish history but after seeing two of the main cities of Al-Andalus, I'm really starting to love it. And now that I think about it, this was my first real weekend trip in Spain :) Day trips are great but you get to see so much more over two days and the best thing is that you can take your time doing it. Even though I was only able to spend a day in Cordoba, I think I might still like it better... We also didn't have to spend 5 and a half hours in a bus going to Cordoba, so that probably helps my decision making haha.