Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tuesday Nov 20 Seville to Granada

Nov 12-13 Toronto to London to Madrid
Nov 14 Madrid on our own
Nov 15 Madrid on our own
Nov 16 Madrid on our own until Welcome Dinner
Monday Mural some murals in La Latina
Nov 17 Part 1 Madrid City tour
Nov 17 Part 2 Toledo and Madrid dinner
Nov 18 Madrid to Cordoba to Seville
inSPIREd Sunday Puerto Lapice
Nov 19 Seville
Week 1 Recap  Nov 12 - 16
Week 2 Recap Nov 17 - 23

Italics are Gate 1 descriptions.

Tuesday Nov 20 DAY 6 - Drive to Granada, Alhambra Palace
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, travel to Granada. 

Bags out 8 AM Breakfast starts 7 AM Depart 9 AM

Today's sightseeing of Moorish Granada is highlighted by a visit to the 13th century Alhambra Palace,* one of Spain's most celebrated monuments, dramatically perched atop Assabica Hill and overlooking the entire city. This imposing hilltop fortress, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the world's finest examples of Moorish art and architecture. During the reign of the Moors, the Alhambra served as the residence of the royal family. See spectacular views of the town and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Lunch and dinner on your own.

We made one stop on the way for 30 minutes. At least this truck stop had an olive museum and an interesting gift shop.

It was 12:30 when we arrived at the Alhambra and weather is not cooperating!

The name Alhambra, signifying in Arabic “the red,” is probably derived from the reddish colour of the tapia (rammed earth) of which the outer walls were built.

It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar who was the first ruler of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls.

It was converted into a royal palace in 1333. After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista (the gradual military retaking ("reconquering") of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors) in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella(where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered in the Renaissance style.

Glad we bought that brolly at the last truck stop!


The park outside the palace (Alameda de la Alhambra) was planted by the Moors with roses, oranges, and myrtles. Its most characteristic feature, however, is the dense wood of English elms brought there in 1812 by the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War.

We were split into two groups for the tour. Miami Duo were in the other group, but somehow lost their guide and ended up in our group.

Incredible pebbled pathways.

Now the rain is coming in sideways and there is some muttering going on but we persevere

The Palace of Charles V is a Renaissance building located on the top of the hill of the Assabica, inside the Nasrid fortification of the Alhambra. The building has never been a home to a monarch and stood roofless until 1957.

The plan of the palace is a 17-metre (56 ft) high, 63-metre (207 ft) square containing an inner circular patio. This has no precedent in Renaissance architecture, and places the building in the avant-garde of its time.

John and Bob climbed the tower while the rest of us huddled inside out of the rain.


Back on the bus at 3 PM and a short drive to our hotel.

The Barceló Carmen Granada**** hotel is located in the heart of this Andalusian city, which is home to outstanding historic and cultural heritage just 10 minutes’ walk from Granada Cathedral, allowing guests to discover the true essence of this unbeatable destination.

Acera del Darro 62
Granada, SPAIN 18005
P: +(34)-958-25-8300

This hotel is in a good location for walking and we headed out to find some lunch. It isn't raining!

An equestrian statue adorns the top of the Ayuntamiento building in the Plaza del Carmen. The horse and rider stand just above the clock which decorates the facade of the building and shows off the architectural work which makes up City Hall.

We duck down a narrow street, Navas, lined with restaurants.

We should have stopped into this classic Bar del Barrio, there are in fact three branches of Los Diamantes in central Granada, including a shiny new one on Plaza Nueva that is always packed with tourists. For the original and best version of this fried-fish specialist though, you need to head to Calle Navas, a bar-packed, chaotic street off Plaza Isabel la Catolica. Los Diamantes I, as it might be called, is so small that you have to yell your order from the doorway to make yourself heard

Instead we chose Taberna Divisa Blanca which has mixed reviews on Tripadvisor.

We were given an interesting complimentary bean stew dish to start.

We had to try the blood pudding, different, glad we tried no need to do it again.

Morcilla, pronounced mor-thee-ya, is generally much less firm than British black pudding, which we love. Spain’s answer to our black pudding is a mile from the slice you’ll get with your fry-up. It’s a spiced blood sausage, delicate, with a gentle tang. Recipes vary across Spain from the loose, rice-flecked morcilla from Burgos, to morcilla de arroz, the variety made with onion and rice.

Pork loin, or lomo.

My grilled octopus would have benefitted from more grilling.

It's now almost 5 PM and we do some aimless strolling.

Rather debonair!

And the sun comes out! Santa Ana church.

In the center of the Plaza Isabel la Católica stands the monument to Isabella I of Castile and Christopher Columbus.

Upon the pedestal, the sculpture, also made of bronze, represents Isabella I of Castile sitting upon a Gothic throne while listening to the future admiral Christopher Columbus, who, standing, presents the map he showed her during the interview they held in the camp that had been set up in Santa Fe during the siege of Granada. The first Columbian expedition was approved there.

Along the river.

The Alhambra looms over us.

Mario Maya (1937 – September 27, 2008) was one of the Spain's most innovative and influential flamenco dancers. He was born in Córdoba in 1937, but grew up in Granada.

We ran into the Miami Duo and continued walking together.

The King of the Gypsies.

Getting dark so we head back down to town.

We spot a sign for Daura Damm gluten free beer!

And discover "Ir de tapas" (To go for a drink plus a free snack) in Granada is not only a tradition; it is a philosophy of life.

The best areas where you can enjoy a good tapa are: the Realejo, the Carrera del Darro (our hotel), Plaza Nueva, the Paseo de los Tristes, Plaza de Toros, and Elvira and Navas streets. 

Some of the typical regional dishes of Granada are famous Trevelez ham, cured in the mountains, the Habas con Jamon (fava beans with serrano ham), olla de San Anton (the pot of San Anton), Andalusian gazpacho, choto al ajillo (a kind of sausage with wrapped intestines) and tortilla of sacromonte (sacromonte omlette).

One drink, one snack.

Typical dishes from the Alpujarras are patatas a lo pobre - slowly fried potatoes with olive oil with peppers and eggs, the plato alpujarreno (fried potatoes with onion and peppers, ham, fried egg and sausage), Alpujarras crumbs and puchero a la gitanilla (Gypsy stew).

Second drink, second snack.

We did some window shopping and John bought a couple of cashmere scarfs.

And then it started pouring and we headed back to the hotel.

Overnight: Granada

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