Half way through our trip in Spain we were starting to get the hang of the Spanish routine. Everything closes for an afternoon siesta, and dinner isn’t til at least 8.30. If you want to go out at night, well, it’ll be more like the next morning. One thing we hadn’t quite grasped was the language. Attempting to order coffee or food, we were often misunderstood. It was sometimes funny, but more often frustrating.
We arrived in Granada in the evening, and although we only went as far as a restaurant for dinner, we quickly got the impression that we were going to like the place. Our hostel room in Granada was especially cool. It was colourful, spacious, and we even had our own bathroom – a luxury I had almost forgotten existed.
The next morning, we explored the Albayzin, which is the old Moorish quarter across the river from the Alhambra (which I will get to shortly). If the timeless charm of the white buildings on either side of the narrow, cobble-stone streets didn’t manage to distract us from the uphill climbing, the magnificent views we had at the top rendered the exhaustion worthwhile.
That afternoon, we had booked tickets to visit the Alhambra, Granada’s main attraction. Set atop a hill, it was a Muslim fortress and palace complex for centuries, and is made up of different sections together with expansive gardens.
The centrepiece of the Alhambra is the Nasrid Palace, which was built for the Muslim rulers back in the 13th Century. The detail in the woodwork is simply incredible. The oldest part, though, is the Alcazba – the Alhambra’s fortress. From its watch tower there are remarkable views of the city and beyond.
Along with all that, there are old bathhouses, religious buildings, museums, and more – far too much to see and absorb in one afternoon. It’s an amazing architectural accomplishment that I can’t do justice with my words. It’s bigger and more breathtaking than you can imagine, and it was probably my favourite place we visited throughout Spain.
The following day we went on a walking tour. Although it covered a bit of the same ground we had covered on our own the previous morning, it was good to hear some of the interesting history behind the places.
That afternoon we visited Granada’s Cathedral and the Royal Chapel, where Ferdinand and Isabella are buried. They’re the Christian monarchs who conquered Granada back in 1492. That’s another great thing about travelling – you learn so much about the countries you visit. I feel like I have more potential in the Age Superquiz these days.
The Cathedral was good, although uninspiring after Seville’s. But as a whole, Granada was my favourite place in Spain, without question. It’s set magnificently between mountains, and its little streets are seeping with history and culture. While it’s old, it’s vibrant and happening. And there’s just something enchanting about the place.
The following morning we were on a train to Madrid, our final destination. Stay tuned.