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Published: September 25th 2022
We overslept this morning. The people in the room above were scraping chairs and having showers at 1am. Honestly, this hotel appears to have zero sound proofing!
Today we are walking back down to the city to take advantage of all the free sightseeing that the lady in one of the monuments told me about yesterday! What skin flints we are…but why pay if you don’t have to?
We have started our day at El Banuelo, a Roman style bath house. We enter a house with a courtyard, then through to the three bathrooms behind. First the cold room, followed by the warm. All have moorish skylights representing the moon and stars. A third room, which we can only see from behind a barred gate, has a pretty blue and white tiled floor. The baths are said to date back to the 11th century although some doubts have been raised that they could be from the later Nasrid era.
Next we head to the convent but the doors appear to be firmly closed, so onwards to the Casa Horno de Oro (House of the Golden Oven). Our fairly ancient guide book states that since most of the traditional
homes in Granada have been bought up by private individuals, it’s pretty impossible to see any of them now. It seems the Spanish authorities have decided to buy a few of them back as this is one such example.
Ian located the entrance, which is up a steep narrow side street. We enter into an open courtyard with central pool. At either end are pillared arches with carved embellishments. Small rooms are positioned all around the sides wit( a tiled rectangular walkway. There is no sign of an oven, golden or otherwise. Upstairs we are able to walk around the entire galleried landing and admire an ornate wooden painted ceiling.
On our way out the lady at the ticket desk (who is not selling tickets today), tells us that we should return to the convent as it closes at 1pm. She explains that the entrance is at the rear of the building. We were just on our way to the Casas del Chapiz and she says there’s enough time to see that first…otherwise we will end up zig zagging all over the city! Oh and whilst we are at it she circles another place on our map that
we should see today whilst it is still free…but that also closes at 1pm!
We are now climbing a steep hill in the baking hot sun. The palace entrance is at the top! We arrive sweating but the inner sanctuary is cool. The palace has a similar look about it as the house…except it is bigger and has more storeys…an open courtyard with central pool and stairs leading up to trio galleried landings on first and second levels.
Here we are not allowed on the landings but they have another surprise in store. A pathway leads us out into a a garden with another large rectangular pool and tall cypress trees providing welcome shade. from here we reach the formal garden of neatly trimmed hedges. And to our side, the most spectacular views of the Alhambra. there’s a bit of a breeze today and the flags are fluttering on the tower.
Time is ticking in so we head to the convent, the Casa de Zafra. It takes a while to locate the entrance as it’s well hidden. Similar in style to the houses with courtyard, pool and landings, we are beginning to think we’ve seen it, done
it? But upstairs we find a chapel and some original examples of painting on the plasterwork.
Phew, this sightseeing is hard work! It’s tempting to go for a drink but the next place also closes at one. Ian thinks he knows where it is, nit far from where we catch our bus so we head off in that direction. Sadly we cannot find it and concede defeat. Though we do stumble across an interesting archway and a fresco painted church on the way.
It’s definitely time for a drink! I spot a cafe that actually has free tables…a rarity in this town! Once inside, Ian susses out why…it’s a vegan place. Oh well never mind, we will just get a drink. I decide upon their homemade lemonade. It arrives in a hip jam jar with a glass straw. Ian has been more conventional - his arrives in a can with a proper glass. :-) Anyway both taste very nice, and just what we needed. Our drinks also arrive with a tapas dish…noodles with al dente veg. It tastes very nice.
We find a shady bench to rest up and munch our lunchtime snack just purchased fresh from
Now we are off to Corral del Carbon (Cool Courtyard), a building that has had multiple uses in its history. Originally built as a goods warehouse by Mohammed V, it went on to be a cool storage facility and then an open air theatre. It was declared a National Monument in 1933 and was restored to its former glory. To be honest there’s not a lot to see here although the horseshoe arch entrance is very ornate. I think we would have felt stung if we’d paid the normal 5 euro entrance each to see this!
There’s just one more freebie on our list. It’s a palace which requires a walk up through the Arab Quarter…the Palacio Dar al-Horra. We climb the steep narrow streets, reaching a square that is literally buzzing. There are four street cafes crammed with tables but it’s 3pm, a popular time for the locals to eat so there is not a free table anywhere. We decide to come back after our visit. But first we need ti find the palace!
Ian heads off down a dubious looking alley. I’m sure this can’t be right but I reluctantly follow. Finally Ian
locates the entrance. Frankly we are both astonished…they definitely don’t make it easy to find their places in interest round here!
The palace was the home of Aixa, Sultan Mohammed XI’s wife. We walk through gardens of heavily scented lavender and thyme. The building centres around the usual balconied patio, but here there is a watch tower too. We are high enough to enjoy the refreshing breeze that is coming through the windows. There are also fabulous panoramic views over the whole of Granada.
We have returned to the square, and still not a hope of a table in the square. A pity as it’s very atmospheric here. We descend the steep slopes back to the city centre and treat ourselves to an ice cream. Today I go for lemon meringue whilst Ian samples the toffee cream.
Today we are the only ones on the bus going back to our hotel, it’s better than a private taxi! Siesta time is late for us today…it’s 5pm already.
It’s 7pm and we can hear fireworks and church bells rolling. Apparently there is a procession of the cross going through the city this evening. There is another beautiful sunset and I get chatting to some Spaniards on the viewing deck. I get some useful information for our trip tomorrow and practice a bit of my Spanish. By the time we have finished jawing the sunset is over and it’s pitch black.
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