Granada, A Last Second Selection

May 2015

I left Seville by train, only to arrive in Granada by bus. I didn’t realize that there was a bus transfer until one hour into the trip when the train steward came by and informed the group of Americans that I was sitting with, of the situation. No matter, the bus ride was just another adventure. As usual, when I arrived, I set out to figure how to get to my reservation without a Taxi, but that didn’t happen.

The region surrounding Granada has been populated since 5500 B.C. By the 1st century A.D., Granada was a Roman municipality called lliberri. Its current population is about 250,000, and lies in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Andalucia. As you will see later in the blog, the area had a great Moorish influence starting around 711 A.D.

Granada
Granada

My Airbnb selection was great. It was facing a small plaza, which was up against a small creek (Darro River), looking up at the Alcazaba within the Alhambra.

View of the Alcazaba from the Darro River
View of the Alcazaba from the Darro River

The Calle Chirimias isn’t listed as a plaza, but that is what I would call it. It was full of people enjoying food, drink, music, and an incredible view.

Calle Ch
Calle Chirimias

The medieval architecture of Alhambra dates back to the Moorish occupation of Spain.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

Across the creek was a building that appeared to be an old hotel at the base of the Alcazaba. Below the hotel were windows in the wall leading down to the creek. This all grabbed my curiosity. I asked around, and was given the name Hotel Reuma. Looked like a great location, and what probably was a beautiful hotel. I researched the hotel and found that it was the Hotel Bosque de La Alhambra. It opened in May of 1910, right as tourism was starting up in Granada.

Hotel
Hotel Bosque de La Alhambra – Hotel Reuma

Unfortunately, it didn’t stay in business but for a few years due to the humidity in the rooms causing health issues, hence Hotel Reuma.

I walked back up the narrow road that the taxi had brought me earlier in the day, to see what night life might be occurring.

Basilica with Alcazaba in the background
Inglesia San Pedro y San Pablo with Alcazaba in the background
River Darro
River Darro

I came upon a familiar site at the first square, swing dancing. Everyone was having fun. Reminded of Austin and Lindsey, my oldest daughter.  It may not have been a full moon, but there were plenty of people kicking up their heels, howling at it, enjoying themselves.

Night-time in Granada
A Beautiful Night in Granada

Beautiful shot of Alcazaba lit up at night.

Alcazaba at night
Alcazaba at night

The following morning I headed up to the Alhambra, Alcazaba, and the Palace of Carlos Quinto. The hike to Alhambra was a nice little hike up the mountain.

Start of the hike to Alhambra and Alcazaba
La Puerta de las Granadas (The gate of the Pomegranates)Start of the trek to Alhambra and Alcazaba

As I got to the Alcazaba, I found out I had to walk around to the other side of the grounds to purchase a ticket. That was no small hike either.

The hike up to Alhambra and Alcazaba
The hike up to Alhambra and Alcazaba

Once there, it was the slowest line ever. It was relatively short in length comparison, but it took an hour, and in that time the tickets for the Palace sold out. When I finally did get to the ticket booth, I found out you couldn’t purchase tickets for future dates. Not cool! I went ahead and purchased a ticket for Alhambra and Alcazaba, with the plan to purchase a ticket to the palace the following morning.

Alhambra was developed as a walled town in the 11th century. It wasn’t until the 13th century that the Alhambra heyday began. At this time the royal residence was established on the grounds making the Alhambra a palace, citadel, and fortress.

Palacio de las Carlos
Palacio de las Carlos

I enjoyed walking through the grounds.

Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds

There were plenty of old ruins in the Alhambra.

Alhambra Grounds and Ruins
Alhambra Grounds and Ruins
Alhambra Grounds and Ruins
Alhambra Grounds and Ruins

Loved the rose garden.

Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds

The Alcazaba was very fascinating.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

Right up my alley!

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

I enjoy the old ruins.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

You can only imagine what they were once like.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

I enjoyed walking the walls of the Alcazaba!

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

Great panoramic of Granada from the walls of Alcazaba.

View from the walls of the Alcazaba
View from the walls of the Alcazaba-Click to View

Here was the grand bathing area.

Bano - Bathing area
Bano – Bathing area

View of the old ruins within the Alcazaba from the top of the fortress walls.

Barrio Castrense - Military District
Barrio Castrense – Military District

This was the Torre de la Vela. It was one of many towers associated with Alcazaba.

Top of Torre de la
Top of Torre de la Vela

A couple of kids playing in the restricted zone.

A group of kittens playing in the Alhambra
A group of kittens playing in the Alhambra

Another great view, this one of the Nevada Sierras in the background.

Sierra Nevada Mountains
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Bridge over the Darro River
Bridge over the Darro River

Out in front of where I was staying were a number of places to eat. The seating was just about all outside, which was great. I found a excellent deal, a pizza and beer, 6 euros. After lunch I headed back towards the centre of the old town, stopping at the Granada Cathedral.

Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral

After touring the Cathedral, I headed for the bus station across town to purchase my ticket to Malaga. My route lead me past the Basilica De San Juan De Dios. It had just closed for the day, but I would see it later in my trip.

Next I came across the Monasterio de San Jeronimo.

DSC01467

The church was the first in the world consecrated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Grounds of the Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Grounds of the Monasterio de San Jeronimo

.  

Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Monasterio de San Jeronimo

The Granada Central Bus Station excursion was an adventure in itself. I was told by the Tourist Information Office I could take the SN2 or the N4 bus. The N4 got me to the station, and I purchased a ticket. I hopped on the SN2 to go back, my bad. After about 30 minutes of going nowhere near where I wanted to go, I was talking to the driver. I was as far off course as I could get. I hopped off the SN2, and caught the LAC, which ended up back towards the Cathedral.

The next morning I headed down Calle Reyes Catolicos, past the Cathedral area, to an area I had not explored. I found a nice park or walking belt stretched out over many blocks running along the Carrera de la Virgin.

DSC01483

Along the way I found the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias.  Another beautiful church.

Basilica
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias

Continuing forward, I stopped at the Plaza del Humilladero, next to the Genil River, the main tributary of the River Guadalquivir, which I saw in Seville.

Fuente de las Granadas
Fuente de las Granadas

Working my way back I stopped at the Palacio de la Madraza. This was a pleasant surprise. The Palacio de la Madraza was originally an educational university. Over time with different groups in power, the building had been used for different functions, but in the end, it had come full circle.  Once again it is associated with education as it is part of the University of Granada.

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza – ceiling

Take a look at the picture of the ceiling. This ceiling does not have any nails or bolts. It is all intertwined pieces of wood. Love it!

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza – Ceiling

This is the one room that stayed preserved over the years. At one point these walls were covered up to meet the needs of the Christian group in power, preserving the old and beautiful Moorish walls.

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza

This was the drinking well back in the day.

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza

Next I headed to the Palacio de los Olvidados. I hadn’t researched it, so it too was a total surprise. As it turned out, it was kind of a museum on the Jewish history in Spain. In the 1400’s they were forced to pack up and leave, leaving all worldly possessions behind, or convert to Christianism. It reminded me a tad of how the Cherokees were kicked out of Georgia (Trail of Tears), although the Cherokee Nation didn’t receive any options.

Artifacts dating back
Chess Set dating back to 1450
The
The Room of Inquisition

Walking down the mountain, through the back streets, there were tons of little shops, one after another.

Here is a good view of the narrow street I was staying on.

Granada along the Darro River
Granada along the Darro River

Bath house dating back to the Muslim Granada.

Bano
El Banuelo or Banos del Nogal

This is the remains of the Puente del Cadí (built in the 11th century) – an old Arab bridge which was knocked down in the middle of the 17th century.

Puente del Cadí
Puente del Cadí

After a quick break, I was on my way to the Basilica San Juan de Dios when I passed the Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo. It had been closed every time I pasted it. This time my, timing was right as it was open for one hour.

Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo
Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo
Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo
Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo

The Basilica San Juan de Dios was open this time when I got there.

Basilica
Basilica
Basilica San Juan de Dios
Basilica San Juan de Dios

One of many German Shepherds I have seen. They are a very popular dog in Spain.

DSC01549

I had one more stop, the Puerta de Elvira, once the gate to the Arabic Granada.

Puerta de Elvira
Puerta de Elvira

Lots of walking!

Well, it was that time again, time to keep moving on! Time to head on to Malaga.

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