OK, I will admit that I have not been to every providence in Spain yet, much less every good sized city, but Granada just made the top two. In fact if I were to list my top three in order it would be: Barcelona, Granda and Salamanca. Go make your travel arrangements.
Granada is a romantic city and the reason that my husband and I choose it to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We made the right choice. Granda has it all: Culture, history, large servings of tapas, the Alhambra and romanic-period gardens. We had both perfect fall weather and a lot of flowers were still in bloom. Definitely a better idea to go to the South of Spain for a late October anniversary than Niagara falls. Plus in Spain I can use my smartphone without roaming charges.
For transportation we opted for the premium bus service. A non stop bus from Madrid that took about the same time as the train, but was cheaper. On our way there I could tell when we were passing by Jaén.
|Mountains full of Olives|
Around Jaén there are olive trees are far as the eye could see. They are clinging to the mountain-sides in some places. I have heard that most of the world's olive oil comes from this region, including a good percentage of Italian olive oils. (Apparently they just have to mix a certain percentage of Italian olive oil to be able to claim it as their own.) It was hard to get a good picture from the bus. After the olive groves we drove though some spectacular mountains, but alas, no pictures. It might be worth it to street view the area between Jaén and Granada.
|Olive trees as far as the eye can see|
Granada is the word for Pomegranate in Spanish. And you will see many Pomegranates decorating the city, on trees, images in sidewalks, and on sidewalk posts.
We arrived in Granada and checked into the hotel just time for lunch (3pm). We walked towards downtown and wandered around the maze of streets by the cathedral until we spotted a menu that was not too expensive. Remember that a "menu" in Spain is not same word as in English here is a good explanation of menus in Spain. Menus in Spain do not have to be expensive to be good, which is a trap a lot of tourists fall into, in other words, they can pay too much.
|The fountain of the giants|
|A wooden carousel! Do you see the bunny?|
|I love a good lamppost|
|First glimpse of the cathedral|
Granada is a city to wander in. You need to have the time to appreciate the details. Most of the time we were here we were walking and exploring. In our 2.5 days we never got bored, just a little tired (Granada is a series of hills, some very steep). On this first day we did decide to go into the cathedral. The plaza outside the cathedral is well worth a visit too, not only does it harbor a small yarn store and the occasional flamenco dancer, but look carefully at these buildings (click to enlarge). The stone valences are paintings!
|the cathedral's plaza|
The inside the cathedral was overwhelmingly grand. There was even a small museum with some incredible medieval embroidery in it (no photos allowed I'm afraid).
|There were two of these! Two!|
|I want to paint my ceiling with stars exactly like this one day|
Outside the cathedral was a spice market, and we wandered for a bit looking at the different spices and dried fruits.
|Another city that reminds me of New Orleans?|
Our next stop was Corral del Carbón. Built in the early part of the 14th century it served as an inn / wholesale market for traders. I imagine there was a lot of silk traded here. This was also my first glimpse of the Mooirsh decor that I was going see at the Alhambra
|El Carbon's entry way roof, just look at the 3 dimensionality!|
|The entry way|
After el Carbón we walk up to where you can see the river going under the city. Capturing the some of the beauty we saw on the way.
|The eagle has turned to gold|
|Just look at the detail!|
|The pink light of the sunsets in Spain|
|A house sits perched over the river.|
Next post: the Alhambra.