Where did I go: Granda, Spain
When did I go: March 2016
Wednesday 9th March
1045: Travelling from Seville to Granada today. We got to Seville station to catch the 11:45 train to Granada, and discovered that due to infrastructure works, the latter part of the journey (from Antequera to Granada) will be by coach.
1400: Train arrived at Antequera Santa Ana station, from where we were put on coaches. I really can’t fault the service here. The guard on the train reminded us to get off at Santa Ana when he checked the ticket, and when the train stopped at Santa Ana he came around again to make sure everyone got off the train. There was a fleet of coaches waiting for us at the station and it was a seamless transition from train to coach.
1515: Arrived at the train station at Granda – at the same time as we would have arrived by train. Taxi to the hotel. We are staying at the Gar Anat Boutique hotel.
1545: Late lunch of tapas in Granada centre. More expensive than Seville – however, the portions were bigger too. Ended up over ordering, but never mind. A little bit about the origins of tapas (as told to me by a Spanish friend) – The origin of the word “tapas” comes from “tapar” which means “to cover” in Spanish. In the olden days people used to cover their drinks to protect it from fruit flies, and with time, this became a resting place for small amounts of food, consumed with the drink. Today, it’s evolved into a sophisticated cuisine on its own.
1630: Walking off lunch in the centre of Granada.
Walking along the banks of river Darro, we get our first views of the Alhambra Palace. It rises on top of the mountain to our right, towering over the city.
1700: Exploring the Albayzin or Albaicin, the Arabic quarter of Granada. Full of white washed and tiled houses, it’s a window into the past. The narrow winding pathways and stairs take us to the “Mirador San Nicolas”. A lookout with great views of the Alhambra, the Sierra Nevada mountains and the city of Granada.
1745: At Mirador San Nicolas. It’s sunset and quite a crowd has gathered at the square. Many seem to be students. It was cloudy, so there isn’t much sunshine today, but I could imagine on a clear day, how the rays of the setting Sun would illuminate the red walls of the Alhambra giving rise to those iconic images in every guide book.
1815: Down the hill through the Albayzin, back into the town centre.
2000: Dinner at Plaza Neuva. Paella and Pizza.
Thursday 10th March
1600: Alhambra visit over, late lunch/early dinner.
1800: Down one of the narrow streets of Granda – Colourful array of shops on both sides – it looks like a middle eastern souk.
1830: At an Arabic tea shop. Arabic tea and sweets for dessert. The interior is really characterful. The tea is served in a small silver tea port with glasses. The decor and the tea makes it feel like we’ve gone back 500 years, having tea inside one of the rooms of the Alhambra that we saw earlier in the day.
Although Seville is still my favourite, Granda has much to offer to any visitor too. These are a couple of things I would like to try if I find myself back here:
- Take a sightseeing tour on the Granada hop-on, hop-off “train”. This tour bus is especially designed to cater for the narrow and hilly streets of Granada.
- Visit the Royal Chapel of Granada – Resting place of Queen Isabella of Castile, King Ferdinand of Aragon, their daughter Juana of Castile.
- Visit Granada Cathedral