Yesterday, after arriving in Granada, the group was able to drop their bags off at the hotel and have a little freetime before dinner. This hotel has got to be one of the coolest I’ve stayed in, not to mention it had air conditioning, which we were all thrilled about (cranked the AC at 18 degrees Celsius all night last night). The hotel is only partly sheltered, there are several open-atrium type areas and it is only about three stories high. The patios and buildings were beautiful and it was tucked away on a side street in the middle of Granada! After looking around in some of the cool Moroccan and Arabic stores around town we all toured La Capilla Real (where Isabel and Ferdinand are actually buried!!!) and we got to see their actual sarcophaguses. Then we toured a very pretty Catholic Cathedral. The white washed back of the church was in stark contrast with the front, which was ornately decorated with a lot of gold.
After being allowed a little more free time, we met up for dinner where we had a tapas style meal and tried Dogfish shark, a bean and pepper soup, and finally a salad (woo!!), among other things. After dinner we all headed to a real Flamenco performance, which was really cool to see because the dancers were all Gaditanos (from Cadiz) and so Flamenco is in their culture and the performance was 100% authentic (with live singers and guitar player as well). The Flamenco dancing is actually very sensual in a way and the dancers faces are very intense and full of concentration and passion, I have it on video, you’ll have to check it out! Our group is taking a Flamenco class next week and learning how to do one of the dances we saw!
Today I woke up early and went for a run, literally no one is on the streets this early haha. Also, many of the sidewalks are not regular pavement, but are actually made of slick tiles. After breakfast in the hotel we all boarded the bus to head to La Alhombra, Granada’s main attraction. It was a palace for Sultans and it has both Muslim and Christian parts to it. The designs in these buildings were so intricate and beautiful, with inscriptions from the Quran carved in the walls and into the designs. The gardens surrounding the palace were also gorgeous…and I have pictures! The entire fortress is seated above the city so that they can see who is coming and protect themselves and the city, so obviously the views from the top of this palace were great.
After touring the palace for a few hours we had lunch at an authentic Moroccan restaurant and tried some new and very interesting dishes, my favorite part was the house-made lemon ade with mint…it was green!
We’ve boarded the bus now and are heading back to Cadiz…four hours! Granada is one of my favorite places we’ve visited so far, I wish we had stayed for a little longer!