Friday, January 26, 2007

Granada, Spain - vacation report:

This is a photo-revision of the Granada, Spain trip we made back in October 2006.

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I'm sure the bizarros were watching me. The first thing I spotted on my first day walking around Granada. THE BIZARRO EYE (it says in Spanish), it was a mural on a wall advertising local artisans but... Scary.

Anyway, on with the report. RyanAir. Yeah, my wife, daughter and I were transported to Granada in the south of Spain by cheapo air travel service RyanAir - and yes I'd heard the terrible stories of terrible service and terrible customer relations but, you know what, it all went as smooth as a cashmere codpiece. Got on the plane, plane went up, plane came down.

Welcome to Granada.

A most civilised city where you buy a drink and they give you free food - it's called TAPAS and tapas basically means a little sample of the sort of bar food you can pay money for to get a decent portion. But it seems to be the way down there, bar hop, get a drink, get food, pay for drink, get free food, move on. Repeat until sated.

Sunday, we spent the day in the Alhambra castle - it's more of a fortified palace, but castle will suffice as a description for the purposes of this report. We were in to visit the secret palace at 2 PM. So, clever us, we decided to get moving by about 1 PM. Then we saw the hill rising up to the castle - quite a thigh-burning trek that was. But fun. We were giggling as we ran. Oh, how we laughed.

Monday... We cruised around the University end of town, at some point we got lost up in some new town overlooking Granada. Streetmap from the Tourist Office was totally unhelpful - I guess it wasn't on the tourist trail, sorta the 'real' Spain, i.e. a bit rough and oppressive. I was surprised to see a sort of smog umbrella over the whole town from this elevation. There was this ancient protective wall - there are many ancient walls like this round the city - and it just cut across our trail for like a mile. Luckily we found a tight squeeze through and escaped to the other side, descending the twisting turning little back streets to make our way back down into the town.

Tuesday, we were gonna take a train ride to Seville but decided against it. Good idea that as FLASH FLOODS tore through Seville and the other place we were going to go (before deciding on Granada) was terrorised by much worse flash floods. All in all, we were blessed by the excellent weather at that time of the year in Granada.

We found a near-derelict monastry right up in the hills to the east. And there was a terrific view down that valley onto the town. You beginning to see a theme here? Go into hills, take pictures of Granada. We did a lot of walking and our legs felt the strain.

Bus trip up into the hills. Real nice little village called Guejar. Right up there in the clouds, overlooking the lake and the quarry. Anyway, we mountain-goated to the top of another hill (those photos are due some time this Xmas). Oh, and in the evening, we found the astonishing Alhambra Hotel up on some hill after a late-nite trek up thousands of stone stairs, pre-tapas. Terracota and turrets - very nice. And a decorative garden teaming with peacocks.

Thursday, plane home - only a couple hours late in the end, after all that. Would I visit Granada again? You bet.

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