So many expectations...
13.06.2015 - 13.06.2015
Husband has been driving so much - 1400 kilometers so far! Although Granada is only two hours from Cartajima, we decided to take the train to the famed city. The train station is, like most of the Spain I've experienced, clean and efficient. The kids hadn't been on a train like this and Husband wanted a chance to enjoy the scenery without bracing for oncoming cars. We set the alarm at 6:30 to catch the 7:53 train and parked for free in the lot at the station. Honestly, they make it so easy to enjoy this country. Once on the train, we realized that it would only take us to Antequera where we would have to transfer to a bus. It was ok though, because the bus was very comfortable and we pulled into Granada early, at 10:30. The views of the countryside from the train were so beautiful, it was so relaxing to lean back and just enjoy.
Once in Granada, we grabbed a taxi to Plaza Nueva (only 7 euro!), which was going to be our base of operations for the day. We started with the obligatory pastries and coffee and then set off along the river at the bottom of the Albayzin. While in the Plaza Nueva, we met a Seguay tour guide who let Husband take it for a spin. There are so many pretty spots along the river and looking up to the Alhambra that it would be impossible to put words to. I love the pace in the city - there's time to meander and enjoy. Husband was happy to see all the Arabic food vendors, and I promised we'd return for lunch. I stopped at a small art fair and bought a print that appealed to me.
I was determined to get to the vista at St. Nicholas. From there, you can see across the gorge to the Alhambra, but it's a long walk up. There was some complaining and we lost each other for a little while, but we were eventually reunited at the top. Totally worth it, and not just for the views. There's a beautiful shaded plaza with a restaurant and on the wall, people sit, dangling their feet over the edge. Guys with guitars play Gypsy Kings and vendors sell jewelry. Next to the church is the mosque which had a beautiful courtyard garden. On the way down we followed random streets through the Albayzin, down streets so narrow, the sunlight was blocked out. Noah was fading, so I carried him down part of the way while balancing carefully on slick cobblestones. This is another inevitable part of traveling with children!
We found a Moroccon restaurant off of Plaza Nueva and settled in for lunch. We got lucky - Harira, fried eggplant with pomegranate molasses, and the best, most authentic Moroccan mint tea I've ever had.
We had purchased tickets for the Ahambra ahead of time, but not for the Palace. I don't do well with things that have to be committed to far in advance, and the palace tickets are those kinds of things. Granada in a day also means a lot of walking, including the Ahambra itself, and so I didn't think we could manage the Palace on top of everything else. People also say that it's a "must" but the whole Alhambra is incredible in and of itself. From the bottom of the hill it is a very long walk to the top. It's beautiful and tree shaded, but it's a hike. I loved the Generalife Gardens - perfectly manicured trees and walkways, wild flowers, orange trees, and fountains. They say that the gardens are almost exactly like they originally were, based on the paintings from the time they were designed. It's an incredibly well preserved and peaceful place. The kids played hide and seek, which worked out for everyone involved. Back to the bottom of the Alhambra, we visited the castle, but the last train was at 5 and we still had to get a cab back, so we didn't get to see as much as we would've liked. It's a place I'd love to go back to someday and spend the whole day just in the Alhambra.