There is definitely something about this touring lark that keeps you young. We’ve moved on from Balerma and are now at a Cat 2 site in Suspiro del Moro, just south of Granada.
We were on our own here for a little while until another couple arrived with their caravan. They’re Swiss and chose to pitch up directly next to us (safety in numbers?!)
We’re both visiting the Alhambra tomorrow so have agreed to share a taxi there in the morning. I went in with Marie (for that is the lady’s name) to make sure we had the same timed tickets for the Alhambra (you are given times to visit..; we have to be up in time to get our taxi at 8.30am!!), and theirs cost 5euros each less than ours as they’re over 65. In fact she told us that she’s 80! We’ve met so many people of this sort of age and the main thing they have in common is that they look so much younger! Clearly we need to find a way to keep doing this J
Calv went out on his bike this afternoon and came back energised. It turns out he overtook a group of cyclists on a steep incline, and 1 of them made sure to catch him up (to see what bike he had, or how he was so fit!!) – unfortunately he couldn’t understand what the guy said to him, but he did think he looked fed up. So he overtook him again and went on his way. I did ask him to put my mind at rest – “You didn’t smirk at them as you went past did you? Please say you didn’t!” I remain unconvinced…(mainly due to the fact that he can’t rule it out).
Calv’s take on this is that the bloke was thinking;_ “Some fat old guy, wearing jean shorts, on a mountain bike with off road tyres and paniers on the back, has just flown past me. What’s going on? I’m wearing lycra and everything…”
Wednesday 15th February – The Alhambra Palace
After just 6 hours sleep I managed to get up in time for our taxi to The Alhambra Palace. Granada looks like a lovely city. Even in the outskirts it seems very much more ‘up together’ than some other Spanish cities. There’s a new hospital, a big new shopping centre, football stadium and lots of building (that hasn’t been abandoned…)
Shortly before arriving we saw residences built into the mountain that were clearly still being lived in. Their façade and a couple of feet of the house are in front of the hill with the rest of the house dug into the hill! We could also see many more examples from various towers once inside the Alhambra.
It turns out that Marie and her husband, Martin, had to pay an additional 5 Euros for their tickets as, being Swiss and therefore not in the EU, they weren’t entitled to their pensioner discount!…
Once inside we started making our way around the complex. This is composed of some beautiful gardens and buildings, up to 800 years old, and also archaeological digs of Roman remains dotted around the place. Whilst there are moments of awe I’m afraid I found the overall feel to be fairly soulless – which really disappointed me. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing place and we were both glad we went, however we probably wouldn’t visit again.
When I go to historical monuments I like to be able to see information about each area I’m looking at – it helps to bring the building to life for me. At the Alhambra you can buy audioguides (I’m not so keen on these; Calv does like them but felt it was far too big an area to walk around listening to something (he would get bored!)) However there are very few signs throughout the complex, but where they were helped my understanding of what I was looking at.
My favourite area was the Parador – we had been told about this by the couple who had been coming to Spain for 57 years. They told us that when they first came they could stay there for £1 a night and that it’s now £180 a night! We were able to look at a small section of the old convent, and on the strength of this I told Calv that if he brought me to stay there for even 1 night he could get away with almost anything for at least a week!!
Then Prince Carlos V Palacio where you walk into a large square building:
And find yourself in this space:
I was NOT expecting that!! And I loved it – this was my WOW moment. (And free to visit – you don’t need a ticket for either this or the church next door).
The Alcazaba included roman baths and also a tall tower from which the views were amazing.
The Nasrid Palace is where you are given a particular time to visit – so we were expecting great things. Whilst it was amazing in parts, there was very little variety as you walked from room to room, apart from the odd slightly different features – such as the holes in ceilings shaped as stars, and the different tiling throughout. Again, I feel that it could have been brought to life by providing information about the rooms you were in – for instance the 1st room we entered had, what I thought, was a minstrels gallery in it – however it turned out to be just the bannisters! What was it there for?!
It’s also a shame that there are so few facilities provided and the customer service staff appear to be less than enamoured with their jobs (this is not in the least bit unusual unfortunately).
There is a row of shops selling the usual things plus a workshop making marquety inlaid boxes and tables – here you can buy clocks, boxes containing backgammon, chess, poker and full games compendiums. You could dress up and have your photo taken (photos cost 50Euros though, so Calv tells me), and there was pottery for sale.
Water is a theme throughout the complex. Apparently there was a complicated system devised to supply water and there are numerous fountains and ponds. Everywhere you go you can either hear or see water gurgling away.
Our allotted time for our visit in total was 8.30am to 2pm. We left at 1.40pm! We jumped in a taxi to go back to the van (luckily we remembered where we were staying!) With a mile and a half to go we came to a dead stop. Nobody knew why; there were police up ahead blocking the road. Although we were having a nice chat with our young driver after 10 minutes we decided to go the rest of the way on foot (back up the hill that Calv had overtaken the cyclist on yesterday). Just after crossing the road that was closed off by the police we found out what the hold-up was – another cycling race (I saw Team Sky go through..) that clearly none of the drivers knew anything about!
Marie & Martin weren’t yet back by the time we arrived (about 4pm), in fact they were another hour or more behind us. They were so shattered after their day out they had to stay an extra night before moving onto Cordoba.
We did have some new neighbours though.