The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
The Alhambra and Other Wonders
The only thing Margene really wanted to do in Granada was see the Alhambra. I knew you could avoid the lines by making advance reservations for most major attractions in Europe so I logged on in Nerja to take care of it ... and discovered that when you are talking about the Alhambra, advance means three months ahead! There were no day tickets to be had for weeks around the dates we would be in Granada because the number of daily visitors is not only limited, but assigned to specific starting times each day. (Of course, in re-reading Rick Steves he does point that out but like any typical male of the species, I don't always read the directions. Yikes!
But I can't let my baby down so I kept digging ... and discovered we can get in with a tour group. You know how I feel about tour groups, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do -- even when it costs four times more than if I had acted back in March. In a way, though, it may be better since they pick us up, drop us off and walk us through the formalities of getting into the place, all of which can be quite confusing ... even if you speak the language.
We were picked up in a really cool open-air bus and made a few stops to pick up other members of our group. That took us by what I believe is the City Hall where we saw a rather curious traffic sign. The gentleman in blue is Antonio, our tour guide. His English is quite good but the accent made it difficult to understand everything he was saying. What I did think was brilliant, though, is that he was actually broadcasting to the little receivers we had hung around our necks so we could hear him as long as we were within about 50 feet.
We came back from the Alhambra with something over 400 photos. This took some time to sort out and, I expect, is still a work in progress. But rather than attempt a history lesson about who did what and what happened when, I hope I've found a selection of pictures that will do a fair job of conveying the feel of the place.
Do these give you a sense of it?
On the way back we stopped at the cathedral again. There is a separate chapel (with separate admission, of course) where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella are buried and Margene wanted to see it. The problem, as usual, was that we got there right after they had closed for siesta. So we got a bite to eat in a cafe and killed time until they opened up again at 4pm. Fortunately Margene was at the head of the pack of waiting turistas.
We had walked our legs off today and barely had the energy to hobble across the street to a cute little bar recommended by our hosts at the hostel. The tapas were great (ham croquettes and red peppers stuffed with beef (with little "seatbelts" of balsamico!) Just enough for tonight!
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