Monday, 11 May 2009

We should have brought a donkey - Day One

One of the things one notes about Granada is the inventiveness of some of the shop signs and also the quality of the graffiti. Quite what the first shop was selling, we never worked out, we were in the garment district of the town -

Sign 1 Sign 2
Grafitti 1 Grafitti 2

Day One

After a leisurely get up, we managed to leave the hotel at around 10 am. We thought it was late but much of the town also seemed only just to be getting up. The street the hotel is on is one of the main tourist streets up to the Alhambra Palace and as we left in search of breakfast, some of the souvenir shops were only just opening. We were warned that the Spanish do not really do breakfast and this seemed to be true so we stopped at a local cafe for sandwiches etc.

Breakfast Cafe

The agenda for the morning was to wander around the Albaicon area (which our guidebook describes at the most perfectly preserved Moorish quarter in Spain), admiring the views, the old streets and the architecture in general. The Royal Chancellery (Real Chancilleria) is typical of the grand public buildings of its era – the reign of Filipe II and was designed in 1587.

Real Chancilleria

Further along this street, is the Inglesia de Santa Ana which looks exactly as a church of this period should.

Bridge over the Darro

At this point, the valley which separates the Albaicin side of the town from the Alhambra side becomes apparent with the appearance of the River Darrow and the bridges which cross it. Opposite the Archaeological Museum

Archeological Museum

is a Convent with the most amazing studded door

Convent Door

and it is at the point we turn left and start climbing up hill.  Some of the

Uphill 1

Uphill 2

Uphill 3

streets are very narrow, others are wide enough for a single track of vehicles but they all go uphill. At this point,we wish we had a donkey to ride! Eventually we get to the top of the Albaicin and are rewarded by a view

Alhambra from Albaicin

of the Alhambra Palace on the opposite side of the valley with the snow caped Sierra Nevada behind it. The way back down is equally steep and by now the sun is well up and it is hot. A local cafe provides a cool drink and, following the principal of learning a new Spanish word every day, I asked

Garlic Cafe

the owner the meaning of the word “Ajo” which was displayed on the menu board. After much debate and testing of words, he went to the fridge and brought out some “Ajo” and indicated that we should taste it – an enormous clove of garlic! There were no vampires following us on the way down the hill. The architecture on the way down is just as good as that on




the way up, with little squares, windows taken over by flowers and even the

Street Sign

street name signs being somewhat out of the ordinary. This one includes an image of a Pomegranate which is the emblem of the city of Granada. During the afternoon, we climb the hill to the Alhambra to collect our tickets and buy the guidebook which was recommended to us by someone we had met that morning. Again, a donkey would have been useful since the ticket office was at the top of the hill on which the Alhambra stands.

One of the treats we had promised ourselves whilst we are here is to go to see some Flamenco. The hotel gave us a brochure for “Zambra de Maria La Canastera” which also listed the famous people who have been there to see the dancing. How could we not go to somewhere which has hosted the Kings and Queens of Spain and Belgium, Telly Savalas, Yul Bryner and others? So we were picked up at around 2130 and driven off to small cave in the Sacramonte area of Granada for the performance. On the way

Alhambra at Night

we stopped for night time view of the Alhambra. The cave was actually just

The Cave

that and burrowed into the hillside. There were five dancers, a guitarist and


a singer and about 20 people seated around the outside of the room.

Inside of the cave

The dancing was very good with one dancer in particular seeming to us to be the best. It was a pity that we had no idea what they were singing about

Dancer 3

(We felt this dancer was the best, she had the most amazing footwork and concentration),

Dancer 2

Dancer 1

but that did not detract from the experience and we felt that we had certainly seen an authentic performance.

A good day with an early start promised for tomorrow when we tackle the Alhambra.

No comments:

Post a Comment