Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Groovy Granada

Ok, it´s confession time. My last blog entry was almost entirly copy and pasted from my travel partner Jill´s email that she sent home. I couldn´t help it, I got lazy and she had time on the train to write up her journal on her snazzy iphone. But I digress.

From rainy and cool Seville we arrived via train to the most sunny and wonderful Granada. Our rental apartment was bordering on posh, our neighbourhood incredibly walkable, and the weather was great. What more could we ask for. We arrived in town at that horrible limbo hour of 3 pm, so by the time that we got into our aparment and got our bearing it was 4 pm, everything was closed and we were starving. No shops are open from 2 until 5'5:30 pm while the populace is snoozing off their big 2 pm lunch. We toodled around the city, gawking at the graffiti filled neighbourhood that our apartment was in, with no one around, wondering if maybe we were in a bad neighbourhood. At 5;30 though, all of the graffiti covered security doorways rolled up to reveal posh shops and the streets filled with well dressed Granadans holding onto the hands of their impeccably dressed children shopping the January Sales. The streets filled up with people within 20 minutes making the place a bussling mass. Very cool.

As we had previously experienced the dismal shut down of a city on a Sunday, we booked our tickets for the Alhambra to fill in the Sunday. That meant that we got to wander the old arabic streets of Granada. We looked through the shops, had tea and sweets at a tea-hooka shop, and meandered up the winding hills to a restaurant with a view of the alhambra. A very nice relaxing afternoon watching the sun play over the old palace. We dawdled our way back home before heading out to experience the free tapas that Granada is famous for. You buy a drink for about 1.5 euros, and you get a tasty hot snack to go with it. A great system but I have no idea how bar owners make a living with all of the free food going around. Beer must be cheeper that I thought.

Sunday we were up bright and early to trek up the Alhambra. I had been in Granada about 7 years previously and had visited the Alhambra, but forgot just how beautiful it is. An old moorish walled city containing military grounds, palaces, and gardens. We spent 5 hours wandering the grounds. After all of our pavement pounding we headed off to a night time arabic hammam. We got to hang out in warm pools and each got a 15 minute massage. Very nice and relaxing, but we left early, there is only so much time that one can spend in a pool of water before you get too wrinkly. Plus we had to get to bed early, we had grand plans for Monday.

Despite not having driven a standard for over 10 years and not having a proper map, we rented a car and Monica drove us out to the coast for the day. We were headed towards Malaga way near the coast. On the way we passed olive groves, beautiful counrtyside, small farms, one of which included an older man in a hat plowing his small field with a donkey and hand held plow. I guess the small plots still make this a viable method. Who knew.
We headed for the Caves of Nerja. The caves were found by some boys in the 1950s and are now a unesco world heritage site. Very cool. When we were finished spelunking, we headed to the town of Nerja to check out the Sea, blue water, white buildings, and more retired english people that you could shake a stick at. We got to enjoy a 20 degree sunny day, and I dipped my feet in the ocean before we headed up to the pretty white town of Friglliani. A beautiful day of walking around, soaking in the weather and for me, generally enjoying the fact that it was Monica, not I who was driving. On the way home we were stuck in a big traffic backlog. At the front of the back up were some national guards holding up traffic. They had big machine guns, but there was no car accident that we could see. Monica did spot a dead cat on the road so we began speculating whether the cat was an internationally wanted criminal recently gunned down by the guard. It was the only explination that seemed to make sence.

Today we headed out nice and early to get to Cordoba before the dreaded 3pm shut down. Alas the travel gods were not with us and our bus broke down, meaning that despite our best efforts, we still arrived at Cordoba in limbo hour. Ah well, time to get the next set of accomadation booked and laundry done. Tomorrow, we´ll see the mezquina, then we say goodby to monica who has to return to her children in Australia, and Jill and I will continue on to Cadiz.

Take Care everyone!

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