What a weekend of travel, fun, food, and time with friends! I apologize for not writing more; I will try to make it more of a daily activity because there is so much going on here it is all worth sharing. I spent the weekend in Granada and Cadiz previewing both cities. At the first we got to tour the great “Alhambra” and the second gave us a glimpse of “Carnaval”, the Spanish equivalent of Mardi Gras.
A few things before I describe the trip. I uploaded some photos to the Denver Post, who is doing a small contest for pictures of Spain with the Travel Section of the newspaper. Thanks to my mom, I brought a copy of the Travel section and I’ve been carrying it around with me for the moment the opportunity presents itself. The pictures can be viewed here and I will add new ones as they become available (I can only upload 3 per day).
We started off Friday morning meeting to catch a bus, which would take us on the 3 hour ride to Granada. It’s an incredible city, closer to the mountains and located on an amazing hillside which spills down into a valley and out into a “plain” (think of the raisin bran scoop, but the scoop is made of mountains and the raisins are houses).
When we first got there, we walked to a vantage point called “San Nicolas”, which is a church with an amazing view of the Alhambra. The air seemed to be very foggy and I couldn’t help but notice the pollution further down in the valley, but the view was still gorgeous and the pictures came out ok.
We trekked down the hill to our hotel. It was called the Meliá Granada and it was beautiful. If you feel like staying at a four-star hotel and have 192€ to spend per night, I’d highly recommend it.
Our free time was spent wandering around the city; Granada has a great deal where if you buy a drink in the local bars, you get a free tapa with it. Usually it would be something small, like a montedito (sandwich) or some sausage and fries, but it was a nice addition and complemented the drinks well. We also tried Chawarma and Falafel, which is a pita sandwich stuffed with meat, lettuce, corn, olives, carrots, falafel (chickpeas) and a ranch-like sauce. It was so delicious I’ve been looking for Chawarma since I’ve been back in Sevilla. Ryan, Dana, Becca, Naveen, Heather, and I walked around until dark, crossing above the city on the hillside and being able to look down and across the entire thing. That night, after a trip back to the hotel, we explored the street’s shops, which seemed to have a strong arabic influence stopped into a few bars for drinks. Having been up since 7am, we came home early (around 1am) and went to sleep.
The next morning Naveen and I decided to get up a little early and head up to San Nicolas to see if some of the smog/fog/smoke had cleared to get photos of the Alhambra, we were surprised to see a hot air balloon that passed right over our heads! I ran to get pictures, and right behind me was an old man from Granada hoping for the same picture. He walked with us most of the way up the hill, telling us about his city and little bits of information. He was very interesting and friendly. We checked out of the hotel at 11:30am and left our things there to get lunch. After that, it was a trip to the Alhambra. Absolutely breathtaking…