Spain
la Universidad de Granada Botanical Garden

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    • Day 34

      Granada - still hot!

      May 13 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

      This morning we had breakfast at our now favourite place - good coffee and fab OJ - not surprising in Seville, surrounded by orange orchards, and orange trees decoratively in the streets and courtyards. Then we had a last walk around - the morning air is lovely and cool, and stays pleasant until about midday when the heat sets in and gradually fades as the sun sets.

      Got a 1pm bus to Granada, arriving at 4. Drove first through orchards, some grain, and we spotted sunflowers with flowers starting to show! Yay! But then we got to olive land, (there are always some olive groves dotted around) but we came to miles and miles of olive trees, as far as the eye could see, in every hill and valley! So many! Arrived here at the bus station which is on the outskirts of the city, and thankfully never contemplated walking in…and Granada is now large…it may have been large in 1994, but now it seems bigger and busier and thronging with tourists.

      So we got a taxi and had a very entertaining driver, a bit like an old hippie, who spoke rapid Spanish non stop. Amr is very good and brave, and sounds so good that the conversation progresses in Spanish and I’m never quite sure if we missed a vital word…but Amr is also very good at picking up key words and getting the gist! So we had this crazy conversation once he found out we were Australian - his keywords were Nicole Kidman, Russell Crow, Hugh Jackman, didgeridoo, and he told us the best tapas bar to go to which would be like finding a needle in a haystack…

      But we were dropped off at another quaint hostal I had booked, again right in the centre in a tiny alley and walking distance to everything. Only downside of these charming places is there is usually not a lift, and this time we are on the fourth floor, but it is an amazing room - and you only have to carry the bags up once! Almost the same temperature here as in Seville, even though a bit mountainous, but again does cool off.

      When we came back from our first venture the actual owner was at reception, and greeted us and asked if we would like to see the rest which is like a museum. He is a lovely middle aged man, a bit crazy, and mad about medieval things…the hotel is actually about 4 terrace houses, but after covid only 2 being used as rooms, and one is the “museum” part - a dining room with extraordinary furniture, suits of armour and more, and another is an Arabic room, with Islamic furniture and artifacts…quite amazing. He said his elderly mother cooks dinner two nights a week for his family and guests who want to come, and it is a medieval feast …with costumes! We signed up for it…despite not being fancy dress people, it sounds mad and fun, so that will be an experience tomorrow night.

      Meanwhile we came back to a nearby bar which we had decided on for a meal as they had calamari a la plancha, but when we had settled in and asked for it he said no calamari today - Monday, so can’t be fresh - a good reason, we were impressed, and had a good dinner anyway. Now, having climbed our four storeys of stairs, ready for bed!
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    • Day 35

      Our whole day in Granada

      May 14 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      A very good day, and we haven’t had this crazy dinner yet. But it wasn’t hot!! Bliss for me, and in fact I had to run up the 4 flight to our room when we set out this morning to get my cardigan and Amr’s puffer jacket! We took them off by midday, but I was cold in the cathedral, and the temperature never rose above mid 20s I think…perfect.

      So we had breakfast, good coffee, mediocre pastry but enough to get us walking up the hill to the mirador san Nicolas where there are rather spectacular views over to the Alhambra and down to Granada itself. Then we walked back through the Albercin area, narrow streets, very pretty and very uneven cobbles to walk on. On the way up, or earlier we stopped for coffee/chocolate and churros, and when we finally got back to the centro we had lunch…I had virtually given up calamari plancha as everywhere it is fried like you can get anywhere, but we stopped at a place that seemed frequented by locals mainly and found that after 1 pm the lunch menu would start and indeed they did do plancha…so happy and it was delicious…

      Then back to the room for a little downtime before setting off again to see the cathedral and another uphill walk, this time on the Alhambra side. The cathedral is amazing, as so many of these cathedrals are - massive and very ornate. You get an audio tour on your phone which even I could do with the help of their wifi, and we had a good visit with all the details of chapels..then we walked up the hill on the Alhambra side, and were able to walk into the gardens and some of the outer buildings, and look over to where we had looked from in the morning. So lots of uphill walking, and then a gentle walk down…had a pre dinner drink at our nearby plaza and then a relax before the dinner at 8.

      So Carmen, the wife of Manuel the owner, brought us costumes to wear…rather uncomfortable…but actually Amr looked rather dashing! We had thought that he, Manuel, and his wife and daughter, would also be at the dinner…a family dinner that his elderly mother (aged 77!!) cooked. In fact they weren’t eating with us, but there was a very nice middle aged Swiss woman, Anne, and an Asian/American couple, Carole and Sampson, who live in Seattle, and we all got along well and had lots of chat…but a bit weird, and the meal was nice, but not a dining experience! So we are now back and ready for bed…bus at 10am for Cordoba where we stay for 3 nights, and where Omnia joins us!
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    • Day 236

      Granada

      June 19, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      Granada klingt wie Granatapfel? Korrekt. La Granada ist Spanisch und heißt Granatapfel. Es ist auch die Wappen-Frucht der Stadt und an vielen Straßenpollern und Toren zu finden. Es sei wohl umstritten, ob die Stadt den Namen der Frucht zu verdanken hat, oder umgekehrt.

      In Granada mache ich mal wieder etwas Sightseeing, merke aber dass ich bei historischen Fakten kaum noch aufnahmefähig bin. Die Araber kamen irgendwann mit ihrem Islam und wurden dann wieder von den spanischen Christen vertrieben.... Burgen, Schlösser, Kirchen, Moscheen.... Granada war auf jeden Fall die letzte Stadt die 1492 von den Spaniern zurück erobert wurde. Und das ist auffällig, denn hier sind die arabischen Einflüsse noch am meisten spürbar und sichtbar. Es gibt sogar einen Souk, einen arabischen Markt. Der Baustil von Moscheen und Kirchen vermischt sich hier oft. So sieht man vielmals Minarette an den Kirchen, der als Kirchturm umfunktioniert wird. Der maurische Stil ist hier extrem im Stadtbild sichtbar. Man fühlt sich teilweise wie in Marokko und da war ich ja erst vorgestern, ich weiß wovon ich spreche.

      Alhambra ist die wohl bekannteste Sehenswürdigkeit, kostet 30€ Eintritt, mit Führer wesentlich mehr, soll aber empfehlenswert sein. Ich hebe mir den Besuch für das nächste Mal auf. Denn eines steht fest: nach Andalusien möchte ich wiederkommen.

      Witzigste Begegnung hier war ein Südkoreanisches Pärchen, was mit mir an einer Tapas-Tour teilnahm. Irgendwann übernahm ich die Städtetour für die beiden und zeigte ihnen die europäische Welt und die Welt des Biertrinkens.
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    • Day 27–30

      The Beautiful City of Granada

      January 29 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Before arriving in Granada, we saw snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains that rise up behind the city. People can ski here from November to June! And Grenada is only one hour away from sandy beaches. Amazing!

      There is way too much history in Granada for me to read and to try to put its history in a nutshell. Basically, it was once a Muslim kingdom. The Catholic monarchs captured the city in 1492 and ended the Islamic presence on the Iberian Peninsula after 800 years. From then on, a lot happened. Too much to write about but super interesting.

      The monarchs were ones that we know - Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Also this was the place where the Catholic Kings signed an agreement in April 1492 and accepted Christopher Columbus’ terms to undertake his famous trip. The document granted Columbus the titles of Admiral, Viceroy and Governor-General of all the lands he would discover and set the condition that he would keep a tenth of all future profits.

      Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand chose to be buried here, in Granada’s Cathedral.

      In Spanish, Granada means pomegranate. According to the stories, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella chose the fruit as a symbol of their final victory over the Moors, and that fruit became the city’s symbol.

      Granada is a lovely university city full of young people, (over 50000 students), parks, fountains, restaurants, flat walking streets and historical buildings. Streets are narrow and wind through the city. It is a pleasure to stroll on its streets and try to take in all of its beautiful sights. On top of that, it is a safe and friendly place to be with a laid back vibe.

      When I was researching what places to visit or things we could do here, one website mentioned 183 places! What to choose? We are here for only 3 nights, 2 full days. Yikes! Of course, we had to see the Alhambra so that was easy, but what else? Cave houses? A Flamenco show, The Mystery Man exhibition? Churches? Monasteries? Arab market? Free tapa bars? Wow. Where to start?

      Our comfortable and quiet hotel, Casa de Reyes, is in a perfect spot for seeing whatever we can fit in to see. And it is decorated with beautiful stained glass fixtures and traditional decorated plates.

      Anyways, we do have a bit of a plan. The Alhambra had to be pre-booked, so that was done a couple of weeks ago, and the rest will fall in place.
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    • Day 28

      A “ Menu del Dia” & Free Tapas

      January 30 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

      Did I mention that tapas are free here with a drink? With every round of drinks, you also get a free and delicious small plate of food. It’s part of the local food culture.

      Tapas can range from something as simple as a plate of olives or potato chips to a bowl of stew with bread. In Granada, some of the tapas we ate or saw included fried fish, soup, olives, ham, croquettes and even mini hamburgers.

      If you are smart and don’t want to spend money on food all you have to do is order the caña, a small beer, 8-10 oz. It’s not quite equivalent to a can of beer. The benefit of ordering a caña is that it still comes with a plate of tapas. Yes, it’s smaller, but it’s also cheaper. The caña is the perfect companion to tapas. Lol.

      Our hostess suggested a great place for tapas in Granada called Las Bodegas Castañeda. It is right in the middle of the old town, just around the corner from Plaza Nueva.

      It looks like the kind of place that would be a tourist trap with Its decor - legs of ham ready to be sliced at the entrance, stuffed bull heads, big barrels made into tables and plenty of wood. It looked a bit like a movie set of a tapas bar, designed to bring in tourists. But I think that we were the only tourists there.

      So, we went in to get a drink and try their Menu del Dia (menu of the day) , for around $18 Cdn each. We ordered an Alhambra beer and a new drink for me - Tinto de Verano, red wine, soda, lemon and ice. Mmmn. So refreshing. Of course, two tapas came with the drinks called Migas. And olives and toast. Delicious. Will we really need a big lunch?

      Next came the menu choices - 5 starters, then 5 main courses and small dessert. Oh, oh.
      But we had already walked 8 km and it was 3 pm…

      I chose a salad (enough for a meal) and Chris chose a vegetable stew (like ratatouille). Both were so tasty. Can we eat more?

      Our main courses were ribs over potatoes and a chicken in sauce dish over couscous. It was so good and I felt like another Tinto de Verano!!! Guess what another tapa came with it - some bean dish that neither of us could even think of eating!

      Then a dessert? No way! We got it to take home with us - a small traditional pastry that is soaked in Sherry. We saved that to have later with our tea.

      What a meal! We’ll have to walk another 8 km after I recover from my Tintos!
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    • Day 10

      Alhambra

      April 2 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

      La cathédrale de Grenade la seconde plus grande d Espagne...les ruelles ....les souks....ne pas oublier l apero..puis les tapas....la visite de l Alhambra...les souks de nouveau...pour finir par un couscous dans un resto syrien 😉 oui vraiment nous avons adoré le charme de cette ville ❣️Read more

    • Day 65

      Granada

      August 4, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

      Hier in Granada endet meine Südspanienreise. Leider musste ich aus meiner so günstigen Unterkunft abhauen. Ich bin in einer Messi-Wohnung gelandet. Eigentlich wollte ich bis Sonntag bleiben. Das geht leider überhaupt nicht. In Zukunft buche ich über Booking nur noch eine Nacht. Und dann hänge ich Nächte ran. Daraus habe ich hart gelernt. Die Stadt ist wie leergefegt. Durch den Virus fehlen hier ca 95 % der Touristen. Es ist fast gespenstisch. Aber der Besuch ist lohnenswert.Read more

    • Day 28

      Our Hotel - Casa de Reyes

      January 30 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

      As we were leaving the hotel to do a morning walk, our hostess Carmen waylaid us and told us to come with her as she wanted to show us something.

      She told us that the owner of the hotel owned 5 buildings in a row and had the plan to make a big hotel that contained a museum of medieval objects. She opened the door to House 13 and we were stunned by what we saw.

      We walked into a medieval foyer full of large olive wood carvings, knights in armour, swords, shields, heraldry, stained glass and even a large Don Quixote and Sancho Panza sculpture! It was the hotel’s museum.

      Once we got over the initial shock of seeing such a room, Carmen told us to look around as she had to get back to her desk. We could look around and then close the door when we were done.

      Well, the next room was a medieval dining room with a table set for six. The next room was once again jaw-dropping with what looked like two huge doll houses.

      You have to check out the photos. It goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyways) we were pleasantly surprised by our ‘detour’.
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    • Day 9

      Grenade la magnifique

      April 1 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

      Enfin le soleil...les Champs d oliviers par milliers et la sierra Nevada enneigée et l arrivée à Grenade...ville superbe ...mélange arabo-chretien qui a donné le Al Andalou...rue Elvira on se croit en terres arabes ..on a déjeuné libanais...puis départ pour la visite des deux quartiers les plus anciens de Grenade qui ont écrit l histoire de l Espagne avec notamment la naissance du flamenco et les styles des maisons appelées carmen (rien à voir avec le prénom )...je voudrais tout vous raconter mais c'est impossible. Vous aurez compris que Grenade nous a conquis 🫠Read more

    • Day 16

      Granada, Spain

      April 24, 2016 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

      Arrived late this arvy to the Hotel La Casa De La Trinidad. The train line was not open all the way. They are doing works on the line so we had to get off at some place and be bussed here. Purchased our tickets to Algeciras for Monday (Anzac Day) which was a bit of a challenge. The fella spoke no English at all but we managed. Finaly got a cab to the hotel. Great hotel. Close to everything and the room is really good to. Breaky included as well as wifi.
      Walked around a bit this afternoon. Stopped for a late lunch across the way and had seafood paela and chicken paela and a couple of cervacia estrella galicia. Nice beer. Cam across the biggest cathedral just up a bit from the hotel. wandered through the laneways and discoverd them filled with Moroccon stores and spices. What a segway into the next part of our trip.
      Walking tour today was great. Well worth doing. Booked it through Viator. After tour we walked up the hill to a lookout that looked out over the city and castle and the snow covered mountains in the background. Breathtaking, particularly on such a beautiful day.
      I think next time we travel we will book a tour guide/walking tour/bike ride tour in each place as it is the best way to see around the place and get information. You can also ask whatever questions you want and get answers to at the time. I also think next time we come here to Spain we will spend the same amount of time here but visit less places. More time in each place will give us oppotunities to see inside some of these places.
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    la Universidad de Granada Botanical Garden

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