Tuesday, 25 September 2012



We said goodbye to the cats and flew from Heathrow with Iberia, changing at the smart new terminal in Madrid, with time for beer and tapas, to the short internal flight to Granada. Checked in to Hotel Casa 1800, near to the Plaza Nueva in Granada,  a recently renovated old Arab house with a beautiful courtyard. It is located with the slope up to the Alhambra on one side, and the ancient Albaicín district behind, and also just a very short walk to the Cathedral, city centre and sixteenth centrury Realejo district. It turned out to be a haven of peace in one of the noisiest countries in Europe!
We started off our holiday in style with the free tapas in city centre bars, and a night-time visit to the Alhambra.


We went for a walk in the Albaicín, visited the new Mosque, and teashop Alfaguara for North African-style tea and pastries, then more we intended to go for quick drinks and tapas in Calle Navas, but were diverted when the people on the table next to us started playing and singing rather wonderful Flamenco, so we stayed there all day, bought them a round of drinks and made lots of new friends!


We spent the afternoon up at the Alhambra, walking around the Generalife garadens, including a picnic, visiting the ancient Moorish fortress of the Alcazaba, and a second visit to the Nasrid palaces.
We were pleased to see the recently restored statues of the Patio de los Leones (Lion Court) back in place, and wrote down what we needed to know for our tour in a separate post.

"For my part, I gave myself up, during my sojourn in the Alhambra, to all the romantic and fabulous traditions connected with the pile. I lived in the midst of an Arabian tale, and shut my eyes, as much as possible, to every thing that called me back to every-day life; and if there is any country in Europe where one can do so, it is in poor, wild, legendary, proud-spirited, romantic Spain; where the old magnificent barbaric spirit still contends against the utilitarianism of modern civilization."
[Washington Irving, Recollections of the Alhambra]


We visited the Capilla Real, home to the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholics monarchs who reconquered Granada and Spain, and also home to an excellent collection of mainly early Flemish art. We had sashimi lunch in honour of an earlier plan to honeymoon in Kyoto, and a siesta, as we start to adjust better to Spanish daily timetable. After siesta and afternoon tea in the hotel patio, we visited the Cathedral, a baroque horror, and walked around the pretty squares of the city centre.