Thursday, November 13, 2014

Granada, Spain

Mon, 25 - Tue, 26/8/14

Journey to Granada

We departed from Cordoba to Granada at 11.10am, our ticket costing quite expensive at EUR 48.50 (about RM 200) as the Turista class seat was already fully booked, so we had to buy the Preferente class seat. Honestly, there's no difference between the two, so you'd be better off to buy your tickets online to secure the Turista class seat. The journey of 200 km took about 2 hours 20 minutes. Granada's population is even smaller than Cordoba at about 238,000. Although smaller in population, there are more tourists here compared to Cordoba, probably due to the main attraction - the Alhambra.

some plants otw to Granada (not sure what)
river otw to Granada
UFO looking rock otw to Granada

From the train station, we took a taxi to our hotel Puerta de las Granadas at EUR 45/night or RM 188/night (recommended by Shawn, thanks ya!) which is about 2.2km away. Our hotel is right at the entrance towards Alhambra. Our taxi driver today is really friendly, explaining to us the interesting places in Granada. I just realized that the room rate is cheaper than the Cordoba to Granada train ticket! Perhaps we could have opted to take the bus instead, but it didn't cross our mind at that time.

Hotel Puerta de las Granadas

our room

After checking in, we ventured out for lunch at the halal Kabab King No 1 cafe we saw on the way to our hotel. There are many halal restaurants near our hotel, so no problems there. There's even the La Perla halal ice cream here which is super delicious. Thanks again to Shawn for the recommendation. We had shawarma with fries and shawarma with rice set for EUR 5 each. Both sets come with soft drinks.

We had no problems in finding lunch and dinner, but breakfast (desayunos) is an entirely different affair. Since it was summer and the school holidays, most cafes / restaurants only open at 10.30am! We asked this from one of the halal cafe owners. So for breakfast the next morning, we only had our own supply of biscuits and energy bar, then had an early lunch. But then again, this was not the case when we were in Cordoba where the cafes open early.

Kabab King No 1
shawarma set with soft drink
shawarma with rice

halal ice cream

wide variety of ice cream and sorbet to choose from

2 sorbets of our selection

Albayzin

We then proceeded to explore the old Muslim quarter of Albayzin. It means the "quarter of the people of Baeza" who were driven by the Christians in the 13th century and then  fled to Granada. It is located on the hill facing the Alhambra across the Darro valley with spectactular views of the Alhambra and the mountains of Sierra Nevada from the viewing point by the Mirador San Nicolas. Most of Albaizin now is part of the Alcazaba, or fortress, which is the oldest part of the Alhambra. Cobblestone streets and gorgeous c├írmen es (large mansions with walled gardens, from the Arabic karm for garden) adorn the Albayzin now. Next to the Mirador San Nicolas is the recently built Granada mosque (Mezquita Mayor de Granada) which we visited and performed the solat. Albayzin, along with Alhambra and its garden, the Generalife are listed under Unesco's World Heritage site. Facts are excerpted from Lonely Planet and andalucia.com. Do visit andalucia.com for more in-depth history.

climbing up Albayzin by the Darro stream

More climbing
a diffrent climbing route

climbing through narrow lanes
part of the remaining fortress wall visible up the hill
part of the fortress wall at the foot hill
sadly has been vandalised

Mezquita Mayor de Granada
inside the mosque
ablution facilities
mosque compound
the mosque minaret

Mirador San Nicolas
view of Alhambra from Mirador San Nicolas
Alhambra behind us

view of Sierra Nevada
view of the city
halal butcher at Albayzin

Iglesia San Miguel Bajo at Albayzin which was once a mosque

15th centruy Palacio de Daralhorra - Casa de Sultana Fatima, the Sultan's wife Muley Hacen

Not too far from Albayzin are the Granada Cathedral which was built after the conquest of Granada from the Nasrid kingdom on the site of the main Mosque. We only took pictures from the outside.

Granada cathedral

Next to the cathedral is the Palacio de la Madraza, an Old islamic university of the 14th century. 

Palacio de la Madraza

That night we ventured out around Plaza Nueva for some souvenir shopping and watching street flamenco. You just have to give a tip for their performance.

shops

street flamenco in Granada



Next on the list is Alhambra which deserves a separate entry as there is much to be told and seen. Stay tuned!

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