Day 211, Thursday 02 August 2012, Granada
Discovered last night that the internet, while free – is slow as a wet week – not that I have had a wet week since I left England! But trying to upload blog posts and photos was hopelessly slow – I had gotten to used to the fast access at Ian’s place.
The hostel room is not too bad, bed is comfy, shower is awesome, but let down with paper thin walls – the party people who arrived at 4:30 am were very audible and I didn’t really get back to sleep after that, though I didn’t actually get out of bed until 8:45 – ahhhhhh, luxury.
My plan for the day was to get a La Alhambra ticket for tomorrow as getting one on the day is supposed to hard in peak season and then cruise Granada’s barrio streets and see the non-Alhambra highlights. I meandered off in the direction of Alhambra to get coffee and breakfast on the way, I picked a cafe at random, had a good coffee – an average pastry and the shittest service yet in Europe, I waited a good ten minutes standing at the bar waiting to pay – it’s not as if the place was crowded either, I was so so tempted to walk. Not going back there tomorrow !
The walk up the Sabika hill was not as bad as I expected, the guide book suggests taken a bus, but that would have been stupid. It was a shady and cool walk thankfully but the wait in the queue for tickets was exposed to the sun and was quite hot (come on Spain, even the Vietnamese had shade provided for long queues). The queue was frankly – ridiculous, These guys must have read the “how to make queue fucking awful” guide, I have no idea why they had to make buying a ticket so damn hard, this made queuing in Paris seem easy. As there were options for entering the site today I decided to enter now rather getting a ticket and coming back tomorrow. Of course I then had to queue to get in…
La Alhambra (red fort)- one of the most visited tourist places in Europe, was original an Islamic Moorish castle/palace from the 12th century until it was conquered by the Catholic Spanish in 1492. The majority of the site was built under the Moors but some additions were made by the Spanish.
I kinda liked it, it was hot- but not humid, so completely bearable after some of the places in SE Asia – in fact I am pretty used to hot now, scarily so…. It was too crowded for my liking, but given it is school holidays it is to be expected. I just hoping I am not over visiting historic sites, I was not overly impressed to be perfectly honest. I mean, I enjoyed it, but I was not – WOW !
But I did take a lot of photos, mainly of the various views over the city and of some of the large scenes, there was not a lot of interesting detail to document, or maybe I was just in the wrong places!
First I visited the Generalife, which were one of the garden areas of the palace, with some great views of the main site.
I then took a wander around the main site and I love white birches, they are just fantastic trees.
Before entering some of the key areas, such as the Alcazaba, with its glorious views over Granada.
And the Palacio de Carlos V. This building is pretty cool, yet controversial as it is a fairly chunky piece of real estate built in the 1500’s under the reign of Charles 5th, compared to the more delicate and petite Moorish sections of Alhambra it is a bit of a monster. What I liked, apart from the cool eagle and lion rings on the square outside, was that the interior is circular and quite coliseum like.
From the palace I joined another queue in the sun for my 12:30 entry to the Palacios Nazaries, the Moorish highlight of Alhambra. OK, maybe it was too crowded or too hot or I didn’t read the guide book well enough to see the detail, but I was non-plussed by the whole thing – sorry folks ! (Angkor really kicks its arse). Even my camera was not excited, some crap photos were taken – I am of course blaming the technology, if I had my good camera, they would be stunning!
I left the site via the Torre de la Justice
And past the statue of Washington Irving, the American author of “Sleepy hollow” and “Rip van winkle” who lived here for a time in the 1800’s. The hotel named after him has not fared so well!
I took a leisurely stroll back to my hotel with the aim of joining the locals in the siesta.
I stopped for a beer at a small bar near the hotel – ended up having three as each beer came with a tapas – I had pototoe with chilli, blood sausage (yeah I know, but I had to try it) and the best gazpacho yet, yumbo. A wee siesta was had…
After my siesta – and no I did not sleep, I wandered off to check out the Capilla Real, the crypt at the nearby cathedral, the crypt holds the remains of Fernando and Isobell the first Christian rulers of the area, both passed away in 1516. Sadly no photos were allowed – a fact i found out after I paid to go in. It was moderately interesting, but that was some awesome ironwork in there and some fabbo paintings as well – but I cannot show you.
i did like the fountain in the plaza though.
I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do, it was “only” 7:00 Pm so too early for dinner apparently, my stomach disagreed of course, so I wandered around a bit, settled on a couple of beers and went back to my room with my standby packet of potato chips and finished last nights wine and blogged.
Today, my heart just wasn’t in it, Granada deserves more than I gave it! I took some shouse photos today, so some brutal culling took place and these really were the best of the bunch.
 I cannot believe this posted on the first go ! last night it took numerous attempts and it hardly had any images. I create my posts and insert images using program called Blogdesk, heaps quicker than trying to upload images via WordPress’s interface. However, it can create one big upload that can be tricky on a slow internet connection. So yay, first time upload [/edit]