Day 10-12 - Granada
Hello there and welcome to Granada! The home of the Alhambra and birthplace of Flamenco dance. We are staying at the Hotel Alhambra Palace and it is truly grand!
It really resembles an Arabic palace.
The room is comfortable and ornate in design and we are quite pleased. The hotel is a five minute walk to the Alhambra and a twelve minute walk downhill to the city center.
The center of the city is filled with eateries and shops, too many to count. We do our research and plan out our attack!
Michael has his heart set on eating the local delicacy Caracoles (Spanish for land snails).
Not my cup of tea, but I'm more than happy to watch.
Granada is the last place in Spain where you will get a real tapa, meaning free. For every drink you order a new tapa comes with it, fantastic right!
We hit Los Caracoles in the Albaicín barrio, an Anthony Bourdain recommend bar for the snails. I just don't have the stomach to look at the 🐌 face and tentacles, but Michael is more than thrilled to review this one for you all. Thank you Michael!! Two beers in and another tapa, this one is flaming sausages of chorizo.
A good show and quite tasty.
Dinner at the hotel was five stars. The service was superb and the food cooked to perfection. I devoured my roasted chicken with vegetables and romesco sauce.
Michael dove right into his lamb chops.
Dessert was amazing, mine was a lemon cake and Michael had the Nevada cake with meringue.
Even if you choose another hotel to stay at it is well worth a visit here for lunch or dinner.
The next morning arrives and we are heading to the Alhambra for our three and a half hour tour.
We are touring with the Cicerone tour group and Stephanie is our guide. We meet our group at the front gate near the gardens closest to Hotel Alhambra Palace and off we go.
The Alhambra fortress is quite large with a good portion being outdoor spaces. We visit the expansive gardens filled with fresh herbs and fruit trees.
The Moors brought many things to Spain including the pomegranate, Granada's symbol. Everywhere you go there are representations of the pomegranate.
We visit many fountains in the various places. Alhambra had over thirty rulers and thirteen were murdered inside the walls of the palace by family members or assassins. The architecture is stunning and very ornate.
It is well worth the cost of a guided tour.
For more information visit www.alhambradegranada.org
Granada is full of bars and restaurants. Too many to count. We tried several tapas from vegan cuisine at Wild Foods to Falafel at a Syrian restaurant. Was was some of the best Falafel I've ever had.
Our favorite stop was at Bar La Tana. A favorite local bar and another Anthony Bourdain recommended. We arrive twenty minutes early and wait. Before we know it a crowd begins to form. Five minutes before 8pm the staff arrive and at 8pm on the dot the doors fly open.
We flood in and scramble for a seat, kinda like a game of musical chairs. Luckily we were the first to enter and got seats at the bar.
Granada is the last place to still serve free tapas with every drink and Bar Tana honors this tradition.
It's funny here we are at this amazing wine bar and I'm drinking Sangria, while Michael is enjoying the most expensive wine they have, I chuckle at this.
We quickly make friends with Esmeralda one of the bar keeps and she guides us through the wine and tapas menu. The bar is packed with overflow running into the street. People are squashed together laughing, drinking and eating.
A constant stream of wine and beer is in circulation as the staff scurry about fulfilling orders. We chat with a couple at the end of the bar and maneuver or exit so they can obtain a seat. A great local experience!
If you find yourself in Granada you must visit the Sacramonte district.
This is the home of the gypsy caves where Flamenco dance was born. If you feel ambitious walk the winding streets to the top. You will encounter several gypsy families offering to show you their cave for a couple of euro, or you can take a taxi or bus to the top.
A museum is located near the top with several accessable caves to tour. Of course if you really want the full experience you can attend a Flamenco show in the evening starting at 8 or 10pm.
Granada is a big city with diverse culture and in parts you feel transported to other lands, if only for a moment,