Travels in Andalucía with Mom and Dad: Granada & Córdoba


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April 19th 2010
Published: April 19th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Granada and Córdoba


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Mom and Dad by the canal in the Albayzín (the old Muslim quarter of the city) on Tuesday evening
Hola de nuevo,

This is my last blog entry about my trip with my parents. We left Ronda at noon on Tuesday and arrived in Granada around 3 pm. We were staying in a hotel up on the hill near to where the Alhambra is located. As usual it took awhile to park the car and we had a late lunch at a restaurant near our hotel. After resting for a bit we left the hotel around 6:30 and took a bus down to the historic center of Granada. We walked near the cathedral and then entered the Albayzín (the old Muslim quarter of the city). Here the houses are whitewashed like in many places in Andalucía and the streets are winding and cobblestoned. This area is below the Alhambra and faces it, so it has the best views of the Alhambra in the city. We wandered around the streets for awhile and climbed up to the Mirador de San Nicolas (a popular viewpoint area from which to gaze at the Alhambra.) We entered a bar with a terrace very near the viewpoint area and enjoyed a drink while dusk fell and the Alhambra began to be illuminated. Afterward we
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in the Albayzín with the Alhambra above
walked through more of the Albayzín and down the hill and ended up eating dinner at a Moroccan restaurant near the Plaza Nueva. We ordered some couscous and a tangine, as well as hummus and Moroccan bread which is think pita bread. Everything was delicious and I also tried a milkshake that had cinnamon in it and a lot of other spices....it was soooo good. The Moroccan food was a nice change from all of the Spanish food we had been eating since the start of the trip.

On Wednesday morning we took the bus back down to this part of the city again to meet up with another auxiliar in my program from Australia who is working in a pueblo in Segovia, in Castilla y León. We had been in touch before our vacation and found out that we would both be traveling with our parents in Andalucía that week and would be in Granada at the same time! We met Dan and his parents in the Plaza Nueva and had a cup of coffee and talked for awhile which was really nice. I hadn't seen Dan since the beginning of October when I met him in Madrid
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having a drink at dusk at a terrace bar in the Albayzín on Tuesday night
during our orientation so it was good to see him again. Dan's parents were really nice and it was a pleasure to meet them. After coffee we all walked over and went inside the cathedral for a little while before Dan and his parents had to leave Granada. They were heading to Córdoba a day before we were. After they left around 1 pm we walked around for a bit and then had lunch in one of plazas near the cathedral before heading back up the hill to our hotel on the bus.

We had to enter the Palacio Nazaríes in the Alhambra according to the time on our tickets, which was 3:30 pm but aside from that time we could be inside the Alhambra complex all afternoon with our tickets (from 2 until 8 pm). After entering the Palacio we walked all around the Generalife (the Alhambra's gardens) for awhile. Of all the places that I was going to with my parents on this trip, Granada was the only place that I had already been too. I had come to Granada for a weekend with a group of students in my study abroad group 2 years ago but
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view of the Alhambra from the bar at dusk
we came at the end of February so when we toured the Alhambra that time, there were no flowers in the gardens and the experience was overall very different. We also had a tour guide that time, which I didn't like so much because our guide really rushed us along and you didn't even have that much time to take pictures. If you stopped to take a few pictures with friends, you'd have to half jog to keep up with the guide and the rest of the group! So this time, with Mom and Dad, I enjoyed my visit much more. The palace and gardens were stunning and the weather was very pleasant rather than cold and gray. After we saw the gardens, we entered the Alcazaba (the castle) and this was new for me because on my previous tour of the Alhambra, this part was omitted. I never even realized that I hadn't toured the entire complex. From the Alcazaba you could see the entire city of Granada below in the valley and of the snow covered Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. We finished our tour of the Alhambra around 7:30 pm with pretty tired feet. Around 9:30
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view of the Albayzín from the Alhambra on Wednesday afternoon
we had dinner in the hotel restaurant because we were too tired to go down into the city but the food at the restaurant ended up being fairly good and not all that expensive.

On Thursday morning we left the hotel around 10 am and arrived in Cordoba around 1 pm. We returned our rental car at the train station and then took a taxi to our hotel, The Hotel Mezquita, aptly named considering it was right across the street from one of the entrances to the Mezquita, Córdoba's famous mosque! I had lunch with Mom and Dad at a nice restaurant very near our hotel and then I met my friend Melissa at our hotel. Her parents had also come to visit her in Spain over her vacation but they had come 2 days earlier than my parents and were leaving Madrid that day. We had arranged for her to come to Córdoba to see the city with us. It was good to spend time with her because I hadn't seen her since our trip to Asturias at the end of February. That afternoon we walked around the oldest part of Córdoba near the Mezquita, saw the Alcazar
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in the Palacio Nazaríes in the Alhambra
and some of the old Roman walls of the city and wandered around the Judería, the old Jewish quarter of the city where a large concentration of Jews lived before they were expelled from Spain in 1492.

On Friday morning we entered the Mezquita before the 10 am mass, so we didn't have to pay the 10 euro entrance fee which was really nice! The Mezquita was constructed in 785 by Emir Abd ar-Rahman I and was enlarged and embellished in the 9th and 10th centuries by later rulers. In the 16th century after the Reconquest of Spain by the Christians, a cathedral was constructed in the middle of the prayer hall (hence the present day masses.) Many chapels were placed along the walls as well. Fortunately, the mosque was big enough that the Catholic elements added to it later on have not completely altered its appearance. Today 856 of the beautiful original 1293 columns in the prayer hall remain. It is a curious mixture of Muslim and Catholic religious art and architecture to say the least! We greatly enjoyed our visit to the Mezquita. Around 11 am we met up with my friend Jackie, an auxiliar in my
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in the Palacio Nazaríes in the Alhambra
program who is living in Córdoba. We graduated from UVA together and met each other through volunteer work. She has a great sense of humor and was a wonderful hostess, showing us around Córdoba during the rest of our visit there. With Jackie on Friday we went to the Palacio de la Viana that had 14 beautiful courtyards and then out to a delicious restaurant for lunch. The restaurant served a local specialty which was rehydrated salted cod with olive oil and slices of onion and orange. Sounds kind of weird but I thought the sweet and salty combination was really good! After lunch, Jackie showed us around some areas in the modern part of the city. Then I went with my parents and Melissa back to our hotel to take a much needed long nap. The trip was really taking a toll on my feet! We rested for a long time and Melissa and I met Jackie later that night for tapas and then we went over to her apartment. I always like seeing where my friends who are other teaching assistants in my program live. After some wine the 3 of us went out and met up with
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in the Palacio Nazaríes in the Alhambra
some of Jackie's friends. Melissa and I were so tired that we didn't have the energy to stay out too late that night but it was still fun.

On Saturday we checked out of the hotel at noon and met up with Jackie again to walk around some other areas of Córdoba. At one point we stopped at a street stand where they were selling snails in different sauces and we sat down to have a snack. Later on we went to a restaurant that Jackie liked and had another excellent lunch of raciones (plates of tapas.) Around 5 pm we said goodbye to Jackie and headed to the train station. The 4 of us caught a high speed train back to Madrid around 6 and got into the city around 8. Around 10 pm the 4 of us met up with my friend Alyssa (also a teaching assistant in our program) to go out to dinner. We went to a really great restaurant on calle Fuencarral in Chueca that was called Lateral. It served tapas and raciones but many of the dishes had a creative modern twist and everything we ordered was just so good! The prices were
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in the Palacio Nazaríes in the Alhambra
quite reasonable for the quality of the food too so I'm definitely going back there next time I'm in Madrid. That night Melissa, Alyssa and I met up with a friend of mine from Guardo who has a lot of family and friends in Madrid and comes to Madrid often on the weekends. We went out in the Huertas district and had a really great night! Melissa and I didn't get back to our hotel until 7 am in typical Spanish fashion. I said goodbye to my parents when they left the hotel to head to the airport about an hour and half later and Melissa and I checked out of the hotel at noon. After lunch at a pretty good Mexican restaurant (I must take advantage of the larger cities for good ethnic food!), Melissa and I parted ways to take buses back to northern Spain.

My trip with my parents was just fabulous and being able to see 3 of my friends at the end of the trip was a nice addition as well. If you've read all 3 of these entries about my trip then great! I know I've written a lot... I always like to
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in the Generalife (the Alhambra's gardens)
get comments from my family and friends on here so leave a public comment (at the bottom of the page) sometime!

Besos,
Dana


Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 29


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Granada

in the Generalife
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in the Generalife
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walking in the Generalife
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Granada

view of the Palacio Nazaríes from the Alcazaba (the castle part)
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another view from the Alcazaba...you can see the snow covered Sierra Nevada
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Córdoba

with Melissa on the Puente Romano
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in the Alcazar gardens
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we made a stop at a tea house to rest on Thursday afternoon
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in the Mezquita on Friday morning with Melissa
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Córdoba

with Mom and Dad


19th April 2010

another terrific installment!
Thanks again, Dana! What a super vacation for you and your folks! Good photography, too. Is that about it for Spain? Where haven't you been? Tio Buck
20th April 2010

ashleyhaw@hotmail.com
What a wonderful experience...except for the rehydrated salted cod with orange slices! :/ I went to the Alhambra in high school and I have a very similar picture to the last one on the page! I remember all of the gardens and intricate tiling and Moorish influence. We spent three weeks in Spain, visiting Lorca, Madrid, Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla, Segovia, La Costa del Sol, Valencia, Barcelona. I really loved the paella de mariscos on the coast. Have you crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and visited Morocco? We took a hydrofoil across and I got deathly sea sick on the choppy water. It was worth the sickness b/c Morocco was so cool. It looks like you had an awesome time with your family. I bet you're ready to bake chocolate chip cookies at home, or eat some of the cookies Bryce makes. Has he visited you, too? What's the weather like now? I'll make sure it's nice and warm here for your return! Hasta manana! Ashley
20th April 2010

More Memories!
Thanks for the memories Dana! Your descriptions and pictures brought many smiles. Glad you enjoyed your time together. :) Xxx
20th April 2010

Your parents' visit sounds great! Thanks for the photos. You guys really saw alot! Miss you!
24th April 2010

How exciting!
Dear Dana, What a delight to read your blog, and now, your travels with your Mom and Dad through southern Spain. Mart and I loved it. In the 1970's we did a similar trip with my Mom and Dad. Seeing your photos brought back lots of memories. Someday let us tell you the story of parking outside the Alhambra. Let me know your e-mail address, and I'll share ours from this winter -- Jordan, Egypt, Florence and London. Much Love, Dottie an Mart

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