This week I got my first visitor of the semester – my friend Audrey came to Andalucía for the weekend so we could to Granada together!! She’d visited the city at the same time last year and loved it and I’d never been before, so it was the ideal weekend trip for both of us.
She’d arrived in Málaga the night before and spent the day in Ronda before travelling on to Granada; and I’d been at work until 2pm, caught the bus into Sevilla around 5pm, before catching the train/train replacement bus to Granada, so by the time we arrived (after a loooooooong day of travelling on both parts) we were fairly exhausted and just wanted to have some dinner and go to sleep. Thankfully our accommodation for the trip, Oasis hostel, was just off one of the main touristy/market streets in the Albaicín neighbourhood so finding some dinner quickly wasn’t an issue in the slightest. We settled for the first Moroccan place we found and had some (fairly average) hummus, falafel, and veggie tajine.
After going back into our room and organising our stuff, we set our alarms for early on Saturday morning with the goal of getting to La Alhambra as soon as we could and maximising our time there. We stopped off at a cafe called Pan y Chocolate en route to grab some breakfast before making the big climb up the hill (side note: all those stairs definitely counted as a serious leg workout). The monument is situated on top of big hill which offers fantastic views out over the city and the Sierra Nevada mountain range and it is absolutely HUGE (more than 100,000m2, according to the internet). So huge in fact that we ended up spending more than four hours inside exploring…and could easily have spent more! Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the monument is split into three main sections: the Generalife (not pronounced ‘general life’), the Alcazaba, and the Nasrid Palaces. If you’re wanting to visit, I cannot stress enough the need to book tickets in advance – this place sells out veryyyyyy quickly! Also pay close attention to the time on your tickets because this is the only time you’ll be allowed access to the spectacular Nasrid Palaces.
Unfortunately, the staff on the entrance didn’t buy our ‘we left our carnet joven at home’ excuse (it was worth a shot, right?!), so we had to pay an extra €5 each which brought the price for general entry to the complex and Nasrid Palaces to €14, which was an absolute steal!! We spent the morning wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere (read: dodging multiple large tour groups of various nationalities) before splitting a cheese sandwich for second breakfast and joining the line for the Palaces. Words can’t really do justice to how stunning everything was, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Once we were all Alhambra-d out, we made our way back down the hill and set off on the hunt for some lunch. We were both in the mood for more Moroccan food so after a quick browse on our good friend Google, we made our way to Om-Kalsum, a tiny, dimly lit bar tucked away on Calle Jardines for the nicest lunch I’ve eaten in a while. For only €20 between the two of us, we got two drinks, a tapa of hummus and Moroccan-style cauliflower, plus a massive portion of veggie couscous and another of falafel which more than filled the gap worked up by our morning walking and was far superior to the food we’d had the night before. After lunch we ducked in to Carrefour to pick up some supplies for the Sunday and stopped off at Llaollao for frozen yogurt on the way back to the hostel (if you ignore all the toppings it was smothered in, it almost counts as a healthy snack!).
A quick bag change on my part, and we were off again. This time in hunt for the Mirador de San Nicolás to try and get a nice photo of the Alhambra at sunset. To get there we had to climb even more stairs, but it was worth it for the amazing views which seemed to have attracted half of Granada because it was absolutely crawling (and not just with tourists, there were definitely locals there too)! Nice to have a wee sit down after walking about all day and spend time watching the sunset.
After catching that sunset shot, we decided to just stay out and try and find some dinner early because we were both fairly peckish after spending pretty much the entire day on our feet (according to my step counter, we did almost 30,000 steps!!) and eventually stumbled upon a nice looking bar that had our beloved berenjenas con miel on the menu. Thankfully they had outdoor heat lamps so we were able to look out onto the street and people watch while enjoying our meal without freezing to death, which was very very welcome. Another early night followed because we both had to get up early on Sunday morning to catch our respective transport back. So after having the obligatory churros con chocolate for breakfast, we said goodbye. It was so lovely to properly catch up and spend the weekend exploring a new city with a good friend and I’m now looking forward to seeing her again in six weeks’ time for the Madrid half marathon (which I promise I will start properly training for at some point…).