Monday, March 7, 2011

Granada



So a while (quite a while) ago I wrote about Córdoba and the Mezquita and ended the post saying that Sarah, Rebekah and I were playing in a playground while the bus back left and that the story would be continued. I am here to keep my promise.


Our weekend adventures continued when we took a bus from Córdoba to beautiful Granada. After enjoying the typically beautiful autobus ride across yet another part of Spain we arrived and walked and walked to our hostel. One thing to know is that bus stations are usually far away from everything (kinda like airports of whatever city usually aren’t even in that city) and sometimes your map just isn’t big enough to fit the bus station on but you will get to your destination eventually if you just follow the majority of people and aren’t afraid to go up and ask directions. Granada is quite a hilly town so the walk to the hostel was wonderfully uphill, and despite the overstuffed backpack and general tiredness I enjoyed the jaunt.


We were able to check in since thankfully we had enough cash and one of us brought our passport (apparently passport copies or drivers licenses weren’t good enough) and we had phones to light up the tiny faded numbers on the room doors to tell which one was ours. Hostal Dona Posada is inexpensive so it served its purpose and not much more. It was all three of our first hostel experiences but it was nice to have a private room.


We ate our high class supper of white bread and salami and some fruit, trying to ration everything for the next day’s meals too. After playing some cards we went to bed early because the next day...


...we got up early to see the Alhambra! The Alhambra (like many other things) is famous, though you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s basically the old moorish fortress with a few palaces, tons of gardens, walls and towers and other random buildings and it’s basically pretty cool and gorgeous. We spent a good 3 hours exploring it. We got there early enough that, even though it was cold, we could enjoy the quiet of the gardens before hoards of other tourists came. I think my favorite part of the Alhambra was just seeing all the different designs and patterns used in Islamic architecture.


After that we went back across the street from the entrance to our hostel again to nap a bit and get ready to go out and enjoy the rest of the day! We got lunch at a kebab place. It was so delicious to be eating foreign food! My señora serves us quite a variety of foods and their not typical American foods but one thing I enjoy about food in America is that you eat food from all over the place all the time. Since returning from Granada I learned that in Granada it’s “known” that all you have to do is buy a drink and they give you tapas etc. for free! It’s tempting to go back, go into a pueblo that’s actually in the Sierra Nevadas, do some hiking, and get free stuff from the tapas bars because who doesn’t like some good free good food?


After lunch we went to La Cartuja, a monastery. It was absolutely beautiful. The reflectory * full of paintings and a chapel with two side chapels, each with a beautiful dome and super ornate decorations. And, of course a pretty cloister. We spent the rest of the day walking around and went up to the moorish area of town. Everything was all hilly with narrow streets between white-washed houses. We found a spot to watch the sun set where we could look out at the Alhambra on the hill opposite of us with the Sierra Nevadas and other hills in the background. After the sun set we stopped by a grocery store and then went back to our hostel to eat, shower, and watch A Bug’s Life while munching on candy hearts.


^La Cartuja monastery and tortuguita

^us on one of the towers of the Alhambra with the moorish section of town behind us

^us in the moorish section of town with the Alhambra behind us

^mountains!!!


The next morning for breakfast we ate some funky pastry things that ended up being pretty good. Then we packed up our backpacks and headed down to the center to go to mass at the cathedral. When we got there the sign said a different time than we were told so to pass the time we went to a nearby free art museum and looked at all the cool photographs and paintings while listening to the sound of a street performer’s violin drift into the building. When we thought it was actually time for mass we got there again only to find out that maybe it was at the time we first thought. We ended up sitting in on the last part of a mass in a smaller section of the cathedral and then just observing from the back mass in the huge gorgeous part of the cathedral. From there we made our way back out to the bus station where we bought our tickets and ate our lunch of bread and peanut butter (Graciously donated by Rebekah. Peanut butter (as well as tuna) makes a great traveling food in Spain because you can always buy a cheap loaf of bread somewhere, the only thing is is that you can’t always buy a jar of peanut butter and you can never buy a cheap jar.) Rebekah and Sarah were ready to head back to Sevilla but I was not ready to say goodbye to Granada and since I was there I decided to stay until a later bus and see a bit more, but still get back in time for supper at home. I explored the streets around the bus station (not nearly as cute as the moorish section of town but its good to see more than one side of a city) and found my way to the plaza de toros (bullfighting ring). The plaza de toros was cool looking from the outside, definitely different than Sevilla’s. Speaking of plaza de toros while I was setting up my blog I tried to upload my own pictures of Spain from when I visited Rebecca during her semester here but I couldn’t get it to work. When I looked through the backgrounds to choose from there was this one that looked very similar to one that I had picked out already! Hooray! Anyways, then I walked around more and found some great parks and a boulevard with a park in the middle that offered an awesome view of the snow covered mountains! I spent most of the rest of my time before heading back to the bus station just sitting and drawing the scenery and watching people walk around. I was rather entertained by the statue not far from where I was sitting that so many people stopped and took pictures of. It was nice to have some time to explore and sit at my own pace, something I took for granted in London, but even better was that I got to know Rebekah and Sarah better and share time with them. I hope I get lots more chances to go places with such great people! The ride back to Sevilla was enjoyable as I got to see an great sunset and hear a lady talk about her wedding plans on the phone in Spanish. Granada was definitely one of my favorites!


3 comments:

  1. Thanks for your posts and pictures, Alissa!

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  2. Love the turtle in the picture with the monastery :)

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  3. You're welcome! I'll try to keep'm comin'.
    Tortuguita likes to see the sights with me and I like to see the sights with Tortuguita!

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