Monday 28 August 2017

Let’s go to Granada! / ¡Vamos a Granada!

El Generalife - La Alhambra
     If Granada is in your list of places to visit and you are thinking about staying for a couple of days, please let me tell you a little about my favourite walks in the city and some ideas to help to organise your trip.

Of course you will have to go to the Alhambra! It will take you one day or half a day to visit the Palace and the area around it.
I would suggest that you get a good guide book about the palace -or you can hire an audio guide once you are there - that will take you through the history and rooms.

A couple of things you should know before getting there:

-book your ticket online and in advance. You can buy the ticket on the day, but there are only a restricted number, you will need to be there very early in the morning to get one. I had to do it once, we were there before 7am and we weren’t first in the queue!  Juliette and I still remember it!
Mocarabe ceiling

-The entry is timed, so you need to be there on time.

-There are no restaurants or cafeterias nearby. There is a vending machine with drinks and sandwiches. Take plenty of drink and some “bocadillos” to keep you going.  You can walk to town to eat in a restaurant; it’s 10 minutes down the hill, the trouble is getting back up the hill after lunch! –Well – there is a mini bus that can take you there.

-If you get the chance, read “Los cuentos de la Alhambra” by the American writer Washington Irving, one of the many travellers who fell in love with the town in the XIX century. You will enjoy the legends and tales about the place and you will get a good approach of what the Alhambra was for a few centuries: an abandoned place which was used by the population as houses and “bandoleros” to hide!

La Alhambra. View from Mirador de San Nicolás.
One of my favourite places in Granada is the Albaicín, it’s the district where the Muslims lived in the medieval age and it has been kept pretty much the same: narrow streets, typical façades, with different additions through the centuries. There are lots of traditional restaurants there. It’s a good place to watch a flamenco show. The Sacromonte hill is also recommended to see some good flamenco dancing. One more thing you have to do in the Albaicín is to go to Mirador de San Nicolás, from here you can see the best view of the Alhambra…see the picture above.

Granada town centre is amazing, so many beautiful buildings! You can pop in to most of them. If you are a walker, as I am, here are some of my favourite places in town. Start from plazas de Las Pasiegas, right at the entrance of the Cathedral. Facing the Baroque façade if you go to the left and walk around the cathedral at some point you will start to smell spices in the air from some stands selling all kind of spice and dry flowers to make tea.

La Alcaicería.
If you walk to the right you will enter the old silk market -Alcaicería, nowadays this space have been taken over by souvenir shops but luckily we can see the streets as they were in the medieval times. Can you spot the big gates that used to be locked at night time to secure the market?
Walking from the right side of the cathedral you will see some gothic buildings on your left hand side, and you can enter into the place where the Reyes Católicos are buried –the kings who supported Colón (Colombus) for his trip to go and discover America.

Corral del Carbón
Near here is el Corral del Carbón an amazing building, built before 1336, this Nasrid alhóndiga (an inn for merchants in transit, warehouse and wholesale market) is one of the few Nasrid alhóndiga preserved from the medieval Muslim age.
Taking Reyes Católicos street you will end in Plaza Nueva, connected with Carrera del Darro. It’s a beautiful walk next to the river and at the foot of the Alhambra hill.

If you have time visit Calle Elvira and have a tea in “las teterías”, walk around Reyes Católicos street and almost mandatory to go into calle Navas, a street full of “bares” with lovely “tapas”… actually I’m planning to go there very soon! Yum!