GRANADA. The city of free tapas with every drink ordered and the Alhambra! I have been looking forward to the Alhambra since I booked the trip. I had been informed by my Spanish friends that the Alhambra is absolutely a MUST see. At first glance, you can see the difference between Granada and other Spanish cities I have been to such as Barcelona. I was somewhat surprised by the extent of the Arabic influence, and this was certainly present in the markets and in the older part of town.
I spent the morning exploring the city solo, and it was beautiful wondering through the streets (and surprise surprise, did get lost a few times, but hey! It made for some beautiful shots!). The white-washed city walls of the old town (the Albaicín), small narrow streets and flowers all over were like a dream. After a quick brekky, I climbed up the hills (and accidentally down, then up again) up to the viewpoint of Saint Nicholas (Mirador de San Nicolás). It was looking out over the Alhambra. I was astounded by the pure number of people at this particular platform taking photos, especially given that you feel completely isolated and lost on the walk up there!
On the way down, I had to purchase some modesty trousers/skirt for Morocco (the next stop) so stopped in at a few of the shopping spots including the local markets. After trying to run away from too many stall owners after making the mistake of saying “me gusta el color verde” – “I like the colour green”, and being shown four thousand pairs of harem pants, I FOUND GREAT COFFEE. It was a tiny coffee shop, another hole in the wall- slightly larger than the one in Barcelona- called La Finca. It was brilliant, and also managed to do some journaling for the first time in days, had a chat to the barista about the ease of getting a job in Granada, and was informed that she searched HARD for over a month for her particular job- but she is in one of the best coffee spots in Granada! She insisted that I would easily get a job in Malaga, but we shall see!
Next stop. La Alhambra. The Arabic fortress and summer palace was originally built as a small fortress in the 9th century, slowly expanding to include the Summer Palace and grounds by the 12th century. The grounds and gardens are beautiful, and so well kept. However, the difficulty in capturing this is not just the fact that photographs are never better than the real thing, but the art of taking photos without other tourists (especially an Asian tour group trying to drink from the fountain) was a skill in itself.
After the guided tour of the Alhambra, we got stuck in a thunderstorm, and unlike all the locals, we just powered on through the rain. Em and I along with a few others found a quaint spot to dry off, a delicious curry, a red wine and treated ourselves to an early night alone in the hostel room (such a rare treat!).