Above I am with fellow hostelers in the worst restaurant in Granada ... the NewZealander (my hostel roommate) and I ordered salads and couldn't eat them. (Though the olive oil is superb, made with locally grown olives.)
Landscapes taken from the bus between Granada and Almeria. I love the bus.
Tile art in the Alhambra.
Typical square in Granada. The dark and light stones are taken from the two different rivers.
Spain ... I kinda like the music, and pretty much everything else, too, though I was slow to warm to Granada.
After arriving in Malaga via Brussels, I arrived in the city of the Alhambra, and with the help of several strangers (I meet the greatest people on buses, like Jo LaCrosse, the former Belgian contemporary dancer who has toured worldwide) I miraculously found Makuto Backpackers Hostel, in the Albaycin. Wow. This party of the city climbs a mountain, and it's so easy to get lost in the zigzagging streets. Only minibuses and drivers of small cars dare traverse the cobblestoned lanes.
Think whitewashed buildings. People still living in caves in the Sacromonte area. Great cathedrals and plazas. There are loads of rasta kids in this university city. I met one at the hostel who told me he WAS Bob Marley.
After my first night of (non)sleep at the hostel, I went on a walking tour of the city, then continued walking on my own. I hooked up with other hostelers and we ate at what was very likely the worst restaurant in the city -- !que suerte! -- then went out for tapas in a standing-room-only bar. (The tapas are free with each drink ordered, and they don't skimp on them).
The Alhambra. This is why I wanted to visit Granada, as I'd learned about the Moorish palace in Art History classes, and knew it to be one of the top attractions in all of Europe. Well ... I may be the only person in history who had more fun buying a bag of salt and vinegar chips and leaving the Alhambra than I had exploring it.
Totally confusing, from the purchase of tickets to the line-ups, to ... well, you name it. And what I didn't know, is that if you accidentally take a wrong turn and leave the Palace of the Nazaries (the big draw), you can't get back in! I paid over 30 euros for the Alhambra, and spent 5 minutes in the palace. @#^*)
However, I did love the other Alhambra sites, including the gardens, the fortress, the very coliseum-ish George V palace.
By the third night I was really getting into Granada. I met some great people at the hostel, including a young Mexican and Puerto Rican married couple, and a group of us went to see a traditional flamenco show in an aqueduct, where there was only room for about 15 people. Fabulous singing, Spanish guitar, and, of course, dancing.
The absolute highlight for me, however, was the Arabian Bath, or Hammam. So glad I decided to splurge (19 euros). If low lighting; candles; a hot, medium and cold pool; a steam room; soft Arabic music; and an endless supply of exotic tea than can be enjoyed in quiet little tiled nooks throughout the Hammam appeal to you, I highly recommend this. So relaxing. Time could have stopped there and then.
I left Granada on March 31st and arrived, via bus (and pleasant conversation with Alejandro, a Spanish traveller and owner of a meat-packing company) in Almeria. Then I caught another bus and travelled north 1.5 hours to Mojacar.