After five wonderful days in Barcelona we were ready to move on to our next Spanish city, Granada! We ended up booking a last minute flight from Barcelona to Granada because the bus tickets were almost the same price and the flight got us there in a fraction of the time. We caught the Aerobus at 5 am, which meant we had to wake up 5 hours earlier than any other day in Barcelona. We arrived at our Airbnb in the early afternoon after taking the bus from the Granada airport (for only 3 euro!). We crashed for a wonderful nap after our early morning before heading out for our first Andalucian tapas! In southern Spain there are still restaurants where you get a free tapa with a drink, which we took full advantage of in Granada.
We walked over to the Albayzin neighborhood and got our first round of dinner. For dinner #1 we got beer with free fried eggplant, a second beer with free razor clams, along with a plate of friend anchovies (not free). Dinner #2 was sherry with free bread and anchovies and a plate of jamon (not free).
The next morning we did as the Spanish do and slept in before heading to the Alhambra. We stayed close to the top of the hill upon which the Alhambra sits, but we still needed to walk straight uphill in the hot-hot sun to reach the entrance. Luckily we arrived a few minutes before our entrance time (2 pm) and were able to sit in the shade, eating jamon sandwiches and prepare for an afternoon walking and picture taking. After entering the Alhambra area we walked to the far end to visit the Alcazaba, which was the military fortification for the town, which supported the royal palace. From the Alcazaba you can see all of Granada, including the giant gothic church in the center of town and the Sierra Nevada Mountains off in the distance.
When visiting the Alhambra you must reserve a time to enter the Nasrid Palace. These spots are limited and they fill up quickly, so we were glad we had reserved ahead of time. Yet even with our reserved time we ended up waiting in line to enter the palace, then we waited in line to go through security, and then we waited in line to go through the first few sets of doors. All the lines were worth it, because the Nasrid Palace is beautiful. The carvings are so ornate and beautiful and everywhere you look there are eye-catching geometric patterns. The alabaster walls are very difficult to photograph, but I took tons of pictures all the same.
After the Nasrid Palace we walked through the gardens to the other palace, the Generalife. This palace is not nearly as fabulous as the Nasrid Palace, but it was still worth half an hour of wandering. We were exhausted after walking around in the heat, so we stuck to our newly adopted Spanish lifestyle and went back to our room for a siesta. After a short nap we went out for beer, bocadillos (small sandwiches), free chicken wings (the tapa that came with our drinks), and sherry/vermouth, which appeared to be a specialty of the restaurant we were eating at.
On our last day in Granada we slept in (of course!) before wandering around the old part of the city. We walked up and down hills, wandering in and out of Moorish inspired shops. We ate ice cream for lunch (because we are adults and we can!) while walking along the river that runs along the bottom of the Alhambra. After a few hours in the sun we were ready for our daily siesta, which we spent watching Game of Thrones (season 4!) under the air conditioning. We headed out for dinner just in time to catch the Spain vs. Chile World Cup Game. We drank sangria and beer while feasting on a plate of different tapas.
We honestly did not fall in love with Granada. We found it to be a little dirty and not as charming as we had anticipated. After visiting the Alcazar in Seville, the Alhambra even lost some of its wow factor (more on that in the next post). The food was delicious, but, once again, we found food in Seville that impressed us more. So, we were glad to have gone to Granada, but it ended up being our least favorite Spanish city that we visited in Spain.