4/30/10

GRANADA-LAMA-DING-DONG

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We decided we liked Granada pretty much as soon as we arrived. Our hostel was the best of the entire trip (as far as hostels go) and we immediately felt a sense of comfort and community. After dropping our bags in our room (which had a lovely little balcony, as seen above) we went for a walk.

Down a street or two from the hostel we came across the Plaza Nueva and a tiny tight road which runs along the River Darro (that's 'River of Gold' to you). We followed it up past churches, shops, apartments and a monastery as we familiarized ourselves with the area.

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Below you can see how tiny the road really was. The narrow space was shared by motorcyclists, cars, city buses and us - literally hugging the wall every time someone drove past. No sidewalks here. This proved to be a problem for the cars too it seems; see below for a typical Granada vehicle.

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The area we stayed in was the Albayzin, a medieval Moorish nest of winding roads, tiny restaurants and high walls hiding private gardens and housing on a hill facing the Alhambra. This was, by far, the hardest neighborhood to navigate of the trip. If you got lost, which you unquestionably did, the rule was: head down, hopefully you'd see something familiar to guide you. We could've used some breadcrumbs.

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Mary and I took a really good walking tour of Granada our first full day there. I usually don't go in for that sort of thing but I'm so glad we did as Granada is a city steeped in History with a capital 'H'. We learnt that most of the Catholic churches in the city started their lives as mosques and on many you can still see the three copper balls of decreasing size signifying (I believe) the earth, the air and the heavens. Those pesky Catholics plunked their crosses right on top.

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At the end of the road was this lovely square filled with flowers, outdoor cafes, fountains and hippies. Granada is a hippy paradise, even more so than Chefchaouen which is the hash capital of Morocco.

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From here we decided to walk up the up the hill towards the Alhambra to buy our tickets to the palace (tickets must be bought in advance). We hiked up the most insanely steep street towards the entrance only to find THE MOST INSANELY STEEP path which led to the Alhambra itself. You think I'm kidding? I'm not kidding. I gave up and made Mary buy us popsicles. She came back with these Hannah Montana numbers and I took the only photo I have of us together from the whole trip.

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The popsicles were good and, yes, we made it up the hill in the end. Lucky us, else we wouldn't have seen my favorite fountain of the trip:

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Huh. What's happening here exactly?

3 comments:

Bree said...

God Lord. Worth the trip for that guy.

Chrissy said...

Cute popsicle pic!! Is hanna montana big in Spain??

The foutain makes me uncomfortable...

mary. said...

I don't know if she is big...but she definitely existed. Her popsicles were the only slightly fruity ones too, so she must have some kind of control of the Spanish popsicle industry.