Wednesday, 13 May 2009

A nice surprise at the end of the day – Day Three

Granada seems to be a very hassle free city. Despite having one of the most popular tourist sites in Spain in the middle of the city, we have never felt pressured or hassled (apart from the constant attempts of “Gypsies” to give you “free” rosemary). Walking around is easy, local neighbourhoods are near to the central area, the tavernas really do include tapas with any drinks you order, and there always seems to be a hidden delight around the next corner. You also get an impression of water and fountains everywhere and very well tended public gardens.

Garden 2 Garden 1

Water 1

Water 2

This being our last day, we have to check out of the hotel by 12 noon although our flight is not until 10 pm. So the plan was to get up late, have breakfast nearby at a cafe we have just discovered, then get a ticket for a round Granada tourist bus, travel the whole route and then go back to three different places we want to visit. After that, a meal, an ice cream, get the airport bus and home.

The bus is a big red Double Decker similar to those seen in many cities.

Bus for Tour

The whole trip round takes 90 minutes and by the end of it, we are surprised at how little (outside of what we have already seen) there is to see in the city. The bus starts by going up to the Alhambra but passing through the outskirts of town first. Then it goes along the bottom of town past the Lorca Museum and the Science Education Centre and back into town again through the University area. At 18€ each, we think it is somewhat expensive even though the tickets are valid for 2 days.

Having gone around once and had lunch, we decided to walk through town to the Lorca Museum rather than take the bus because it seems that this would be quicker. However, when we get there (having stopped at a cake shop on the way there), it is closed for the siesta. The times on the museum entrance bare no relationship to those in our guide book and there are different opening and closing times every day of the week and season of the year. So the closest we got to Lorca was:

Pat and Lorca

The guide book says that the Arabian Baths also are closed for the siesta and open again at 5 pm (too late for us) so it is a walk back to the Cathedral


and the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) stopping again at a cake shop on the way back to buy something for supper.

Pat studied the conquerors of Muslim Granada and the unifiers of Spain, King Fernando and Queen Isabel as part of History A Level so now we had the opportunity to see their tombs in the Royal Chapel along with those

Royal Chapel

of “Filipe el Hermosa (Phillip the handsome) and his wife Juana la Loca (Joanna the Mad). The reasons for these names are your challenge to find out on the internet.

Outside of the church housing their tombs is a stall selling more varieties of tea than most people knew existed. Each variety has an explanation of what ailment it will cure or part of the body or attribute it will enhance.

Tea 1

Tea 2

As is often the case when we are travelling, right at the end we come across a hidden gem and we find that we do not have enough time to left to do it justice and as a consequence we have to dash round picking on certain key exhibits. We call this “doing an Uffizi” after the time when we were in Florence and had to see the major works of the Uffizi Gallery in 20 minutes.

Anyway, as we were walking back from another bakers and a supermarket with further provisions for the flight, we passed an open doorway inside of which was an attractive timbered multi-story courtyard. Nipping in for a quick look (it was beautiful in a classic Spanish style) someone came up to us and said that we were actually in a museum which had free entry to EU citizens and there were a number of interesting works upstairs and a display of modern art downstairs if we had the time to see them. So we decided to do an Uffizi on it.

The Casa de la Tiros was built in the 16th Century and gets its name from the cannons protruding around the top of the facade. Ascending a wonderful wooden staircase (with a wonderful ceiling),

Staircase Ceiling

the walls of which were covered with portraits of all of the rulers of the town (the handsome, the mad, etc etc) we found ourselves in a room with the most wonderful ceiling and frescos on the walls.

Room 1

Room 2

Room 3

Other galleries on this floor seemed to be focused towards life and crafts in earlier times in Granada and really were worth far more time than we

Art 1 Art 2

had available. The modern art exhibits on the ground floor were very good although why the exhibition was there, we did not have time to find out.

Having collected our bags from the hotel, our last 30 minutes were spent in a Tapas Bar with a final beer and some tasties.

Pat and Tapas

Then it was back to the airport, the flight home, a taxi from the airport and bed.

We both would recommend Granada to anyone wanting an easy short holiday in the sun, book the Alhambra in advance, do not bother with the coach tour, and stay at the same hotel we stayed at.

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