The other day I asked if people wanted to see the posts from my travels that had been sitting in my drafts. The general consensus was ‘post that shit’, so here it is! I actually wrote most of this post back in June just after my trip to Granada so re-reading it has jogged my own memory about what we got up to and what I thought about it. I feel like that’s my favourite thing about writing this blog, I have an online diary to look back on. ANYWAYS ENOUGH RAMBLING ONTO GRANADA…
I got back to Madrid late on the Friday night, got all my clothes washed, dried and re-packed on the Saturday to head back down south to Granada on the Sunday morning. I checked into the Lemon Rock Hostel in the late afternoon and got to know the girl in my dorm, a solo traveller from Singapore, whilst I waited for Ellie to arrive. The Lemon Rock Hostel is definitely one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. It has a roof top cocktail bar, and a regular bar downstairs that forms part of a restaurant which is open to the public. It’s social enough to meet new people but quiet enough to actually get a good nights sleep at the end of a long day exploring. Eventually, Ellie arrived and we headed out in search of dinner. We sat and had a good catch up on life before heading back to the hostel for a quick drink and an early night.
The first day consisted of us just walking around and getting a feel for the place. Like a lot of southern cities, the streets are narrow and whitewashed to reflect the sun. There are large plaza’s, but they’re fewer and farther between than those in Madrid, and the Arab influence is very prominent. We wandered around, mainly around the Albayzin area, finding parks and plazas until our feet were exhausted and we decided to head back for dinner and a drink.
The following day we booked a free walking tour with Walk in Granada and our tour guide Nacho, (who had the most amazing English. It honestly makes me feel so inadequate when people have perfect, colloquial, even humorous English, and me who studies a DEGREE in Spanish cannot even hold a conversation), filled us in on everything we needed to know. Seen as the capital of Andalusia and the home of the last Muslim kingdom in Spain, Granada has such a full and interesting history. It was the last city to fall to the Catholic Kings during the reconquest of 1492. During this time, there were many Christian Kingdoms in the north of Spain and many Muslim kingdoms in the south of the country. After the marriage of Isabella and Fernando and the union of Castile and Aragon began the War of Granada. Ironically, this was financed by the Jews of the country, yet one of the first things Isabella and Fernando did was expel them from the country. We were taken to an old Mosque which faces the cathedral baring the pomegranate (symbol of Granada) and emblem of the Catholic Kings. The Mosque suffered a fire but weirdly enough the prayer room, which looks out onto the cathedral, was the only thing that remained intact – sPoOky.
Our guide also told us the story of Aisha. She was a boss who was married to the Sultan. He eventually cheated on her with a Christian slave girl. Instead of hitting the Ben and Jerrys and drowning in her tears, Aisha and her son created an army which they lead into battle to defeat the cheating rascal. Can confirm this is the most appropriate action to take against fuckboys and I will be adopting this method for the future.
We ended our tour at el Mirador de San Nicolas which looks out on the Alhambra which we were visiting later in the day. From the look-out point, you could see how VAST it is and we were super excited for our slot to visit. We trekked back down to the town for lunch and ice-cream and then it was finally time for the Alhambra.
It was built in the Nasrid era, by a King who was considered a traitor by the people. He built the Alhambra to try and legitimise his reign, and let me tell you, he was definitely overcompensating for something because the Alhambra is I N C R E D I B L E. Room after room of perfectly symmetrical architecture, with arches and the most intricate detailing all over the walls and ceilings and look outs points over the city. My favourite part though was most definitely the Generalife gardens. I have never seen flowers, foliage and water features so stunning in my life. It was so lush I literally developed hayfever on the spot: I shit you not. The symmetry and sheer beauty blew my mind and we walked around the gardens for literally hours.
Eventually we pulled ourselves away from the Alhambra and headed back to the hostel. We had dinner with our roommates and packed to leave in the morning.
Granada is lovely and it has so much history to it. I would recommend going for 2 days. Once you’ve done a walking tour and the Alhambra on day one, you can visit the gypsy caves, (which we unfortunately didn’t get to do), and generally roam around on the second day. After that, I would say you’ve pretty much completed it as there’s not much else to see or do.
This is the very last year abroad Spain post I have. It honestly feels like living abroad Spain didn’t even happen, even though it was literally less than a year ago. My next post will be from my summer in the Caribbean. If there’s anything else you want to see, please let me know in the comments!