Search for  Granada  found 5 posts
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Oct 12, 2015, Monday
Oct 12, 2015, Monday
Oct 13, 2015, Tuesday
Granada    Granada Spain-Portugal, Spain  
Oct 13, 2015, Tuesday
Oct 14, 2015, Wednesday
The Alhambra    Granada Spain-Portugal, Spain  
Oct 14, 2015, Wednesday
Oct 15, 2015, Thursday
Oct 15, 2015, Thursday
Oct 15, 2015, Thursday
Oct 15, 2015, Thursday
 
 
 

Adios Madrid, Hola Granada

 
October 12, 2015   Granada, Spain-Portugal, Spain
 
 

Our last morning in Madrid and breakfast is two eighty-cent sweet machine-made cappuccinos plus the last of the nun cookies. Yum. I'm happy to leave this apartment but sad to leave Madrid. Add Madrid to list of return-to's.

As we walked to Atocha station the streets are dead. Too dead. Then we see them. Zombies? No, cops, then officers and soldiers, jeeps and tanks. This is either a parade or a coup.

What an idiot I am, today is Hispanic Day (Da de la Hispanidad) or National Day (Fiesta Nacional de Espaa), a national holiday commemorating the day in 1492 when Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas. They are celebrating finding us.

No time to watch, unfortunately. We've a train to catch. The train to Granada - well, almost to Granada - is fast, as fast as 301 km per hr according to the readout over the door. And of course it's smooth and so much more comfortable than a plane. Just short of Granada, about an hour short if by car, we stopped at a new station in the middle of nowhere where we got off the train and got on a bus for the final one-hour leg. While not as comfortable the bus did have free wifi. The train tracks are being upgraded to handle the high-speed trains and are expected to be done by the end of the year.

Once in Granada, we walk to the hotel, stopping along the way for lunch at a cafe in a cafe-lined square. Looks like Granada is following the pattern set by Madrid, with square after square, cafe after cafe. Life is tough in Spain.

The hotel, Arte Vida Suites & Spa, turned out to be our favorite of the trip. Several pictures are included below. Arte Vida is quiet, roomy, and perfectly placed in the center of town. Our apartment had several rooms with comfortable places to sit, a big bathroom, even a washing machine. Perfect. The friendly lady at the desk even got us tickets for Alhambra.

We walk around town, to Plaza Nueva and then along the rio Darro that runs below the Alhambra. Lots of young people out as this is a university town. Heading back, we hear firecrackers then music then encounter a parade of solemn men and women, then a band, then a religious procession and a float and incense. Probably the same Hispanic Day celebration we saw setting up in Madrid.

 
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Granada      
 
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View from train, Madrid to Granada      
 
View from train, Madrid to Granada      
 
View from train, Madrid to Granada      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Plaza Nueva      
 
Plaza Nueva      
 
Plaza Nueva      
 
Plaza Nueva      
 
Plaza Nueva      
 
Plaza Nueva      
 
Carrera del Darro      
 
Carrera del Darro      
 
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Door      
 
Door      
 
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October 12 festival      
 
October 12 festival      
 
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October 12th festival      
 
October 12th festival      
 
October 12th festival      
https://jamesgaston.ca/340
 
 

Granada

 
October 13, 2015   Granada, Spain-Portugal, Spain
 
 

Breakfast quickly becomes routine: two cappuccinos, both of which I drink, plus a pastry at Cafe Lisboa on Plaza Nueva where one of the waiters brings to mind Javier Bardem. Afterwards we head to the ticket office to pick up Alhambra tickets, but after a bit of a wait we find they only release Ticketmaster tickets. We'll have to get ours at the gate tomorrow.

Next, we stop by the TI to inquire about transport to Ronda. The TI recommends the train. Good. I'd take a train even if it the bus is cheaper and shorter. So of course now we walk to the train station to purchase tickets.

So far, most people we've encountered in Spain speak some English. In all cases, their English is better than my Spanish, since my Spanish is based on three years in middle school and decades of neglect ever since. A 128-day Duolingo streak hasn't brought it back.

After a bit of shopping - I've eyes on a pair of shoes that for some reason make me think of Doctor Who - we hike up to the viewpoint at the top of the Alcicyn neightborhood. Supposedly a dicey neighborhood at night, it seems perfectly wonderful on a sunny day. Windy narrow streets, staircases, a residential neighborhood with many sunny gardens and the impressive Alhambra as backdrop.

Dinner at Tagine Elvira. Good and cheap.

 
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Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Arte Vida Suites      
 
Colorful and detailed      
 
Colorful and detailed      
 
Colorful and detailed      
 
The Alhambra seen from Albaicin      
 
The Alhambra seen from Albaicin      
 
The Alhambra seen from Albaicin      
 
The Alhambra seen from Albaicin      
 
The Alhambra seen from Albaicin      
 
The Alhambra seen from Albaicin      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
Flamenco demonstration      
 
Flamenco demonstration      
 
Flamenco demonstration      
https://jamesgaston.ca/341
 
 

The Alhambra

 
October 14, 2015   Granada, Spain-Portugal, Spain
 
 

After cappuccino and pastry at Cafe Lisboa, we kill the morning until it's time to start walking to the Alhambra. Our tickets are for noon entry and we figure no more than thirty minutes to walk up the hill from the hotel.

The Alhambra requires some planning since tickets are limited. If you know the date you want to visit, morning or afternoon, and the time during this period you want to enter the palaces then buy ahead of time via Ticketmaster.

The Alhambra is big. It combines flower-filled gardens, fountains and pools and troughs of water, Moorish and Christian palaces, and on top of all this, there's also a fort. The whole is a mix of Moorish and Christian architecture set on a hilltop overlooking Granada. It's one pretty spot after another.

 
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Cathedral      
 
Cathedral      
 
Cathedral      
 
Segways are popular      
 
Segways are popular      
 
Segways are popular      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
 
The Alhambra      
https://jamesgaston.ca/343
 
 

Tres manifestaciones

 
October 15, 2015   Granada, Spain-Portugal, Spain
 
 

I am writing this on November 13 with the grim news from Paris in the background. Hard to focus on light comments to accompany vacation snaps.

So back to Spain, where it is 15 de octubre...

Paul and I had one last breakfast at Cafe Lisboa. Two cappuccinos and a pastry of some kind, always different and always delicious. Paul ordered something more substantial. We checked out of the wonderful hotel and started the walk to the train station.

Along the way we encounter not one, not two, but three demonstrations. Cool. The first, in Isabella square, was small. It's the group holding red stop signs. The second was largest of the three, and it looked like all seniors. I've no idea what they are demonstrating about so I applied google translate to their text, "Por una tributacion justa para las pensiones de los emigrantes retornados" which gave "A fair taxation for pensions of the returnees". Following up with a little searching I think they are calling for a change in the tax applied to foreign pension income and of course I've no opinion on this, I'm just reporting.

The third was a demonstration by Peta. Ha, just kidding, it was the students at one of the local colleges dressed up as some cow/cowboy hybrid. Lots of college students in Granada.

 
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Demonstration      
 
Demonstration      
 
Demonstration      
 
Students as cow/cowboy hybrid      
 
Students as cow/cowboy hybrid      
 
Students as cow/cowboy hybrid      
https://jamesgaston.ca/349
 
 

Granada to Ronda

 
October 15, 2015   Ronda, Granada, Spain-Portugal, Spain
 
 

Today we walked to the Granada train station, picked up a couple of sandwiches, and boarded the train bus. The train's out at the moment, they are upgrading the track. Half way to Ronda, in Antequera, we transferred from the bus to the train. Once we arrived in Ronda we bought our tickets for the Sunday train to Algeciris then walked across the newer town to the old town.

We walked from the train station to the center of the city. Not a notable walk, just a gradual uphill through a typical Spanish town. But soon we hit a large square overlooking the 100-meter-deep El Tajo gorge which is quite something. The gorge is spanned by an old stone bridge, the Puente Nuevo (it's called the new bridge, curiously). On the other side of the bridge is the oldest part of the city, our destination.

Our apartment, at La Colegiata de Ronda (Plaza Duquesa Parcent, 14) turned out to be a roomy, comfortable, and complete apartment with a friendly proprietor. The apartment spans several rooms on the top-floor. It has open-beamed ceilings, a kitchen with washing machine, couch, chairs, and beautiful woodwork throughout. The small, deep windows gave geranium-bordered scenes of a tree-filled square. Comfortable and picturesque and located right in the middle of the old town, what more can you ask. The apartment is next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor Ronda. Of course it's all rich with history, with many stories of locals fighting off the insurgents down in the valley below.

After checking in we walked back over the bridge to the newer part of town. I bought some socks (poor packing) then we checked out the grocery stores. Dinner was delicious tapas at el Lechuguita. 10€ got us 9 tapas plus wine and beer. Their signature dish is a quarter head of lettuce with a secret sauce and it really was good. We came back later in the week and ordered it again. The place is crowded with locals, many having to stand as the tables and stools are few. We capped off the evening by a walk around town then back to the apartment for a glass of wine. Or two.

 
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Next stop Ronda      
 
Next stop Ronda      
 
Next stop Ronda      
 
We changed trains between Granada and Ronda      
 
We changed trains between Granada and Ronda      
 
We changed trains between Granada and Ronda      
 
New bridge to old town      
 
New bridge to old town      
 
New bridge to old town      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
Our hotel, La Colegiata de Ronda      
We rented a one-bedroom apartment off a quiet square in the old town.
 
Our hotel, La Colegiata de Ronda      
We rented a one-bedroom apartment off a quiet square in the old town.
 
Our hotel, La Colegiata de Ronda      
We rented a one-bedroom apartment off a quiet square in the old town.
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
 
La Colegiata de Ronda      
https://jamesgaston.ca/344