Journeys across the strait part 2

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October 7th 2010
Published: October 11th 2010
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The next morning we started early (5.30 am) to catch the 7pm ferry to España. We got there really really early as we didn’t expect the passport formalities to be that quick and simple. I had been quite sick the night before (still am some sort of virus I am hoping) so a long journey was proving to be a challenge. We crossed the strait of Gibraltar in 35mins (according the FRS I estimate 45!) and swifted through the Spanish passport control and boarded a bus to Algeciras then caught a 4.5hr train to Granada.

So Granada. The girls on the intrepid trip told us we need to book in advance to see the Alhambra’s it sells out quickly. Went online and all the tickets were sold out for October! According to Lonely Planet 6000 tickets are day are sold of which 4000 are allotted to pre-purchases (which of course would include tour companies, travel agencies as well as individuals pre purchasing these tickets). Also according to lonely planet people line up from 7am in order to secure tickets at the door. Well we slept in yesterday morning and I really really needed the long sleep! So by the time we went to the Alhambra after lunch of course the tickets had sold out. So we wandered around town.

Granada is really a charming little city with a lot of Moroccan shop sellers! One shopkeeper’s eyes lighted up when he saw my dirhams when I was scrambling to get my euro coins ‘have you been to morocco?’ We bought a few souvenirs including some flamenco shawls for me! That night we went to a Flamenco performance at a cave in the Soccromento overlooking the Alhambra. We were picked up and taken to the Albayzin, Granada’s old Muslim quarter formerly very shady area but not it’s the key place to live. We saw beautiful cobblestone streets nestled among old houses with little terraces and the piece de la resistance - the Alhambra by night. It was breathtaking, and some guys were playing the table there too so it really got you in the mood! After that we were taken to the Socorromento to the save to see the flamenco performance. When we arrived the performers were chugging down wine and smoking like chimneys! The performance was excellent. 3 ladies danced, I assumed by their talent and the different colours of their dresses them be different levels. One guy danced too but he was a bit of a show pony! It was a fantastic evening I am really really liking this flamenco.

The next morning we woke early and arrived to the Alhambra by 7.30am to see a line of nearly 100 tourists waiting for the tickets office to open! Luckily I walked around and spotted the much shorter credit card line (20 people) and waited in that line. And I got tickets within 5 mins of it opening. Excellent. Inside the Alhambra is huge, lush gardens surround grounds, with the Nazeries palace as the piece de la resistance. The Nasrid Emirs converted the Alhambra fortress during Moorish rule in the 13th-14th Century and the Nazaries palace is the masterpiece. I loved this palace, purely for the open planning and the intricate Moorish’s architecture and design. It was so enchanting and this is what I love about Islamic art - depictions of humans are forbidden so the art and architecture are of delicate, intricate design that can attract and entrance the viewer. Other places in the Alhambra which were create was Carols the V palace (looked more like something out of gladiator, very small and nowhere near as spectacular), the Alcazaba and the watchtower and of course the splendid garden of Gereralife. We had to check out of our hotel at 12, so we went back to town, had lunch and pottered around town until our train to Sevilla at 5pm.


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