Granada, Spain

June 25, 2018

Granda is a city in Spain’s southern region of Andalusia and only about 1 hour and 45 minutes (by bus) away from Malaga. On this day, Caoliang had a day off so we decided to go a little outside the city to see something different. Luckily for us, it was also our wedding anniversary! Happy one month of marriage to us! Only forever more to go! Anyways, with so many good things said about Granada, we had to go and see for ourselves. The bus ride wasn’t too bad there. Once we arrived, we saw some friends from Caoliang’s work that were also spending the day off in Granada. The four of us shared a taxi from the bus station to the city center.

For lunch, we went with one of Caoliang’s colleague’s recommendation for food (thanks Tyler). The place was called Bodegas Castaneda. It is a tapas bar with mostly standing space at the bar and huge pieces of ham that were hanging from the ceiling (typically seen in tapas bars). Caoliang and I love eating tapas! They are so small and perfect for sharing and trying new things at such an affordable price. We ordered about five plates and received one of the house as well. Some of the plates we had were the spanish omelette, homemade croquettes that was served with peppers, roasted pork with cheese on a piece of baguette, and ham. I usually don’t drink during the day but after Caoliang ordered a glass of sangria, I guess I had to get one too. The food was very satisfying! The food is so simple and straightforward but really nice and filling. Also everything costing us only 16 euros felt good too!

Once we finished lunch, we headed to the Alhambra since our entrance time was 2:30 pm. We had heard that they only sell a certain amount of tickets per day so we were lucky that purchasing our tickets online was so simple. One thing that was not very simple was getting to the Alhambra! I put in the destination into my Google Maps but, of course, Google showed me where it was but we didn’t know where the entrance was! Luckily we left with ample amount of time. After following the wind, some tourists, and signs – we found our way to the entrance but another confusion came up! Our ticket said our entrance time was 2:30pm. I had thought that meant our entrance to the whole Alhambra grounds, but no, it meant to the palace! Luckily I had asked the ticket lady (with 15 minutes before our entrance time) where to enter and she had told me to go ahead and go in and go straight to the palace. So even though we sped walked in the direction she had said, it still wasn’t super clear where the palace was! The place was so big! It was like walking into a little town. Thankfully, after all the confusion, we found the proper line and had made it in time. Phew!

So according to Wiki, “The Alhambra is a Nasrid “palace city”. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. It is certainly Granada’s most emblematic monument and one of the most visited in Spain. It consists of a defensive zone, the Alcazaba, together with others of a residential and formal state character, the Nasrid Palaces and, lastly, the palace, gardens and orchards of El Generalife.”

We started off in one of the palaces. The palace was very crowded. I personally don’t enjoy such cramped spaces. I feel like you can’t even enjoy where you are when you are continuously dodging other people. The palace walls, floors, archways and entrances reflected the Islamic history of the Alhambra. The place was so huge it was like a maze. We had no idea which route we were suppose to walk. We were just trying to enjoy the space, following different crowds, looking for interesting views, and then suddenly we found ourselves in the exit! One of the palace’s pathways led out to an outdoor garden. We had thought it was part of the palace grounds but when we realized the way we came out was the only way to go back in, we turned back to see a sign that said “do not enter”! Oh no! When we tried to explain to the lady sitting at that doorway what had happened, she was not having it. Even with the help of a Spanish speaker, this employee had no mercy for our accident. Seeing no point in arguing with her, we just threw up our hands and left. So a palace that usually people spend and hour to two hours in, we saw in about thirty minutes. Hmph! Oh well, there were a few other places in the Alhambra that was included in our ticket that we headed to instead.

The day was so hot. I mean SO HOT! Being that everything we saw this day was outside, we spent literally the whole day sweating. I have no idea why I even spend time to do my hair in the morning. Hah!

Like mentioned above, the Alhambra also has a defensive zone called the Alcazaba. This was like an empty castle with pathways that led up to the edges where you could have a nice view of the city, but with no protection from the sun. The views were nice but man was the sun strong! Needless to say, we didn’t spend too much time there. Afterwards, we found ourselves in the General Life. The name is really confusing for us. I kept thinking, what is this General Life?

According to Wikipedia, “The Generalife is a garden area attached to the Alhambra which became a place of recreation and rest for the Granadan Muslim kings when they wanted to flee the tedium of official life in the Palace.” This was very beautiful. The flowers were all in bloom. Really lovely roses and leafy archways decorated the Generalife.

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I feel like Granada probably has more to offer than just the Alhambra but with only a day to spend there, it really took up all of our time. With our bus to return to Malaga at 8 pm, we headed back to the city center to find a small bite to eat before heading back. Like I had said, Granada would be nice to stay for another day to see more of the city, but with our short visit, even with the small hiccup, was a really pleasant way to spend a day off together.

Tips for Alhambra: purchase tickets beforehand, make sure you have enough time to get there, and don’t accidentally walk out of the exit!!