Granada and The Alhambra

April 24th, 2008 at 3:09 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We arrived in Granada Tuesday night, and tried to take a taxi to our hotel, the Hotel Guadalupe. However the taxi driver we spoke to sent us back towards a bus (or so I thought – Linda later suggested he waved us to a different taxi stand).

The bus driver told us the closest stop to our hotel was Cathedral, so there we got off even though our GPS (love that gadget!) told us it was still a bit of a way off. Turns out our hotel was adjacent to the Alhambra, the old Moorish palace we had come to Granada to see. And the Alhambra is on top of a rather tall hill. To us it felt like a mountain. That’s because it was 11pm at night, we each our one piece of luggage and our carry-ons and had to lug all that and our sorry, tired selves up all the way.

It was a very pretty hike, but still unanticipated, and rather tiring. By the time we got to our hotel I had somehow ended up with three of the four pieces of luggage, and it was only thanks to our GPS (a battery-powered Garmin Nuvi 350) that we actually found our hotel, almost 2 miles away, all uphill.

We ultimately collapsed in our beds at 1:30am.

The next day, Wednesday (yesterday) was beautiful. After dining in the hotel restaurant we headed to the Alhambra – the entry gate was only a 5 minute walk away (all downhill), and we had wisely prepurchased/pre-reservered our tickets on-line otherwise we would probably have not gotten in – the line was huge and day-of tickets were in short supply. Next tip, get your physical tickets from your on-line ticket order at the automated kiosks to the far right of the purchase line.

With tickets in hand we spent the next six and a half hours tourings the Alhambra, including the Alcazaba (featured as the backdrop for the above photo), the palace of Emperor Charles V (Carlos V), the Nazarid Palace (your ticket provides a specific time of access and you cannot miss this part of the Alhambra – it is the most stunning and splendid!), and the Generalife.

We also had a late lunch during our visit at the restaurant at Hotel America, where, ironically, they don’t take American Express, but served excellent food included pheasant, hare, and garlic Gaszpacho.

While it involved a lot walking we were all pleased with our visit and found it to be very worthwhile, long uphill walk to our hotel notwithstanding.

After getting a taxi from our hotel to the train station, we picked up our rental vehicle. We had prepaid for a minivan (family vehicle). We got a Mercedes mini-van, which Europecar swore was a family vehicle because it could seat six people even though it was basically a retrofitted delivery van with no back window and bare metal floors. All for about $300/day not including the expensive insurance we declined. Ouch! And the vehicle handles like a donkey in heat (or at least how I imagine that would be).

With our wonderful GPS guiding our way, we drove for about two hours, finally going past the village of Alozaina and ending up at Finca Morelajo, a set of villas and apartments operated by Peter and Nice Lensvelt, old friends of ours from Bonaire who moved here to Andulusia six years ago to start this new business.

We had reserved a small villa for our two nights here and Peter put us into the Vincent villa, named after Vincent van Gogh, whose is (not the originals though) is featured throughout.

We spent the rest of the evening reminiscing and trading stories and rumors over a fine Rioja and food Nice whipped up for us.

 

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