Granada: October 1 and 2

We spent most of the three-hour train journey from Cordoba to Granada congratulating ourselves for not renting a car! The distances are vast here in Spain and, frankly, the countryside is not terribly interesting unless you really have a thing for olive trees. There are millions of them stretching in neat rows over undulating hills. Beautiful — yes. But variety? Not so much.

We stepped off the train refreshed from our complimentary lunch, hopped into a cab and six euros later were getting installed in the Suites Gran Via 44 in Granada. The room consisted of a living room, a bathroom, and a separate bedroom–all tiny and a bit on the dark side, but beautifully appointed and furnished. Did I already mention the toilet? Yes – just looked back at the previous post and see that I had. Well, hey, it was cool!

So Granada is a thriving town that has a lot more going for it than just the Alhambra. We had tickets for the Alhambra at 5 pm the next day, so we could just hang out all day without any compunction to sightsee. We had lunch in the central square – not terribly good, but you couldn’t beat the ambiance! We then walked uphill to the Gypsy district in the 30 degree heat. It was pretty scenic and certainly soulful, but hot. I bought a cheap cotton dress to augment a wardrobe more suited to autumn days on Bowen than a hot October in the south of Spain. We both packed far too many warm clothes; not sure what we were thinking!

View out to the Hills beyond Granada

Walking up to the Gypsy district in Granada

In the cool of the evening, we strolled the moonlit streets of Granada along with legions of middle aged couples towards the square behind the cathedral where we were told we could find a good dinner. To our surprise, the square was full of a symphony orchestra and an attentive audience on rows of wooden chairs. The free concert featured Spanish light music, including a spirited and certainly appropriate version of “Granada” at the end. We found a table at a nearby restaurant that overlooked the square and ordered a good dinner from a very friendly English-speaking waiter. Actually, they are all English speaking! Our attempts to speak Spanish are kind of hopeless.

The next morning I wrestled with travel arrangements. Trying to get us from Seville to the Algarve without a car was proving to be a major headache! There is no train from Seville to Portugal — for some unknown reason Franco had the tracks leading into Portugal ripped up and they have not yet been replaced. We will need to take a bus but the only bus I could book online left at midnight and got into Tavira (just over the border in southern Portugal) at 2 am. Not good. Finally, I spoke with someone at the bus company and was told I could only buy the tickets from the bus station in Seville.

Let’s hope I can!

Lunch consisted of a surprisingly good pizza at a lovely outdoor cafe on another square not far from the cathedral. I spent a bit of time after lunch wandering the tiny, narrow streets chock a block with tacky souvenirs but couldn’t find anything I liked. I was tempted by the flamenco dress apron and may still break down but perhaps it’s too tacky even for me.

After freshening up in the hotel, we set off up the hill to the famed Alhambra.

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