Some places just seem to be built for tourism, and except for its lack of street signs and maze-like one way streets, Granada is one of them, especially after you ditch your car and explore on foot or public transit.
The bus is only a bit over one euro and a cab ride up to the Alhambra is only five. We had four of us so we took a cab and what fun that is! I knew that Granada was originally a Moorish city and that the inner streets were windy and very narrow. What I didn’t realize was they were designed that way ON PURPOSE as defence against invaders. And it works to this very day. Many parts of the city are designated taxi only and, boy! they sure do whip around those streets. Pedestrians scatter into door frames as the cab flies by with inches to spare… And then you meet another taxi going the other way! This is a 2 way street? Impossible! But, no, somehow, carefully, space is found to pass and the flying continues. Who needs roller coasters? Just take a cab in Granada.
The rest of the time we walked everywhere. Most of the things you will want to see are within easy walking distance and the cathedral makes an excellent central landmark. Most of the streets are cobbled, which gets rather tough on the tootsies, so we wore good walking shoes.
We learned that the usual “Hop on/Hop off” bus tour was not that good in Granada because you can’t get to the good parts by car, let alone a bus. Instead, we went to a tourist information booth and booked a walking tour. This was so informative, and the views were great. As it turns out, during our initial blundering, we had stumbled by a good portion of the tour, but now, thanks to our guide, we learned the history of the sites.
After the walking tour, we girls dropped Jim and went on a shopping spree. L loves to haggle while B stands back and laughs. B knows exactly what she wants and nothing else will deter her. Me? I’m a magpie. I see something colourful or sparkly, or both, and I’m hooked. I especially like the narrow alleys where so much of the merchandise is hanging on the walls outside the shops. You feel like you are in a bright rainbow of interesting treats reaching out to touch you on either side. I got a skirt, lots of fans, pillow covers… Oh my! I hope I haven’t gone over my luggage weight restriction!
Speaking of exceeding weight restrictions…that evening six of our group went off on a tapas crawl. Tapas bars in Spain give you some sort of finger food with your drink. Once finished your snack and drink you stagger off to the next bar. What fun! And such variety!
Oh! And I almost forgot the flamenco! H&G found the perfect tiny venue in a modified cellar, of all things. The music was amazing! The dancing, extraordinary. The singing was stirring. The guitar… oh my, the guitarist! He was the glue that held the group together. The whole experience had my heart pounding with excitement.
The next morning, L and B and I went to Haman, the Moorish baths. This was heaven! In fact, I’m going to blog about it next! You’ll have to wait for my next post to hear about the Haman.
1. Wander the streets in Granada’s old city centre. Check!
2. Visit La Alhambra. Check!
3. See the cathedral. Check!
4. Take a walking tour. Check!
5. Shop till ya drop. Check!
6. Do a tapas crawl. Check!
7. Watch and listen to heart pounding flamenco. Check!
8. Sweat it all out at the Moorish baths the next morning. Check!
It’s fun to play tourist, especially in a city as perfect for tourists as Granada.