Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spain - Granada

The second part of my Spanish Adventure consisted of spending four days in Granada.
I stayed with my friend in her super cool Spanish-style apartment that's actually part of one big house - thanks for being such a great host, tour guide, and translator, Lara!

The view of the Alhambra from Lara's balcony

We took a bus from Seville to Granada, which was about a three hour drive.
It was really nice to see the Spanish countryside. It was very hilly and mountainy and there were lots of farms and lots vegetation I've never seen before. It was quite beautiful and very different from anything I've seen before.

The Pomegranate Fountain
('Granada' means 'pomegranate')

Granada is quite different from Seville, which was surprising given the fact that they're not that far apart.
There's quite a bit more greenery and it's situated in a more mountainous region. You could technically ski and go to the beach all in one day!
The architecture is also very different, probably because Granada has a very strong Moorish influence.

See the snow-topped mountain in the background?

One thing about Granada that I really loved was the FREE tapas!
Yes, that's right. Whenever you order a drink (at a tapas bar) you get a FREE tapas. Admittedly you don't get to pick what they serve you, but that's all part of the fun.

I nibbled on snacks such as...
  • Croquettes - spinach, ham & cheese
  • Deep fried fish
  • Deep fried octopus
  • Sauteed mushrooms - which were the best mushrooms I've ever eaten
  • Paella - which was very tasty, but I accidentally ate liver or kidney or something yucky like that :(
  • Pork stew
  • Spanish sausage

And anyway, even if you don't like it, it doesn't really matter because it's FREE!
So, Canada, you better get it together and not only lower the prices of your drinks, but also give me free food with them.

I also developed an affinity for 'tinto de virano', which is basically just red wine mixed with fizzy lemonade. SO good.

Sorry for all the blabbing, here are some pictures to balance it all out:

Sacramonte, which is known for its caves.
Yes, those building are caves.

This is a SERIOUS cave


A flamenco school in Sacramonte

The Alhambra from Sacramonte

I played tourist and went to the Alhambra, the Moorish palace and fortress complex from the 14th Century.
It was really impressive, especially the beautiful view and the ridiculously ornate carvings.

The view from the Alhambra

The view from the lookout tower

Inside the Palace
Look at all that carving! Every room was like this!

Inside the Palace

I also went to Motril and Salobrena, which are about an hour from Granada.
Lara and I went because I was itching to go to the beach and develop at least a hint of a healthy glow.
Look at how beautiful Salobrena is!

On my last day in Granada there was a Gypsy Festival, so we went to watch a free flamenco show down by the river.
It was great to see a show with a singer, guitarist, flautist, and two dancers.
Flamenco is a very beautiful, intense (and very loud) art form.

And here are some miscellaneous pictures from my trip:

A BIG dish of paella

Moroccan tea

Steph the Tourist
(with churros and Spanish hot chocolate - mmm!)

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