Exploring

Farewell Sitges, Granada is next

Sad to leave Sitges but there is much more of this beautiful country to see. We drove the 8 hours to Granada with a quick stop at another race track.

Parking in Granada

Bob booked most of the hotels for the trip beforehand online, looking for somewhere close to the site we were going to see and with parking. In Granada, this meant booking in the old town area to be near the Alhambra. Finding the hotel is not always easy, as the Segovia experience showed, but this hotel, Carlos V, sent a bunch of photos showing how to navigate to the hotel through the maze of squares and “Do Not Enters, Residents only” signs. Great we thought, piece of cake. Then we arrived in Granada and realized we had to find where the photos started! Not easy, but with some help from passing Spaniards we finally arrive and work our way to the hotel. Almost nowhere to park outside to unload our bags, and then we are told the parking is not here, it is at their other hotel around the corner. OK, but to get “around the corner” meant a return to the one-way maze for Bob, while I started to find our room and unpack. After a while I started to get concerned that Bob had not returned. Parking was not that easy it seems. The desk clerk at the other hotel took Bob across the road to a door that led down to an underground space below the old buildings opposite. To call it a parking garage would stretch the imagination. Spaces all at different angles to fit in around the large concrete columns. Thankfully the “garage” was only half full so Bob found a space between a Volvo and a column, but still had to get out the passenger side. The desk clerk had not stayed to assist in this operation, and the light, which was located at the top near the door, was on a timer, what fun. Now I should say that this was not a large car, a SEAT León, a compact, so lesson one, do not drive a large car in Spain, especially if you want to park it somewhere.

This was only half the fun. We explored the Alhambra the next day, and we were scheduled to leave early the next morning to make an appointment at the Circuito Ascari Private Resort. So, at 8 am we walk around to the other hotel, asked the clerk to open the garage, which he did and promptly left. The garage had filled up. Bob got in the same way he got out and proceeded to try and back the car out of the space into what was the only drive lane. This would entail backing up the ramp to the street as there was no way to turn around. It soon became apparent that turning around was not our first problem. Just getting out of the space looked impossible, to the point that Bob got out and said, “I give up, can’t be done.” Too many other vehicles too close to make the turn between the Volvo and the column. At this point I freaked, if Bob says he cannot get it out we are in trouble, and of course the timer light has gone off. I beg Bob to keep trying, which he does, inch by inch, until we do actually get it out into the drive “lane.” Now to back it up the steep ramp into the street without collecting the door or another car coming down the road. We do actually side swipe the rubber on the end of the door, but thankfully the mark came off. Now to find a scotch! I truly wish we had photos of this but our focus was on just getting out!

The Alhambra

The next morning, we walked UP to The Alhambra. Having stood in line to purchase tickets for a while we are then told that the morning session is sold out. We can buy tickets now (10am) for 2pm. Really? We buy our tickets but decide we are not walking back down only to have to make the climb back in a few hours. We start by wandering the grounds outside the walls and then wandered inside the walls. We found that there were buildings that we could enter without a ticket. Those that needed a ticket we would need to wait until 2pm. No problem. There was so much to see that we spent more than 7 hours exploring this amazing place. I encourage you to click on the link and read the history and details of this 13th century palace and gardens. There is also a fabulous documentary called “When the Moors Ruled Europe” which we highly recommend.

The use of water is pure genius. Everywhere you turn there is water flowing. In the channels at your feet, in fountains and flowing down staircases as is shown in the video below that I took.

 

Be sure to check out the Monastery of San Francisco which is now a hotel known as the Parador de Granada. What an incredible place to spend the night.

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The gardens are spectacular as well.

And I have to say it looks like the kitties are pretty happy there too.

We took well over 700 photos during our time there and I just hope that the sample I have provided here gives you a bit of a feel for this amazing place.

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We’re off to the Ascari Circuit and Ronda next.

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