Spain Tour – Day 9 – Granada

We got up pretty early (on April 06 , 2014) for our train to Granada from Seville. It started at around 6.40 am from Seville’s Santa Justa station and we reached Granada at round 9.57 am. When we arrived in Granada, the trouble started. We had checked out on a luggage locker near the railway station, but seems like it isn’t available anymore. Now we cannot go to the Alhambra with our luggage. So we asked a few people out there and they asked us to check out the bus station because they will have lockers there. So we took a taxi from the railway station to the bus station, but found that the lockers available there is too small for the huge suitcases (even though mine was just a cabin baggage sized suitcase , the smallest of all and yet it did not fit in there). Then we weren’t sure what to do and we were getting hungry too. So after contemplating we decided that we will take a room in some nearby hotel even if it is for a day, dump the luggage and then go on. So C went to check out the room rates in the hotel next to the bus station (that was a four star one) but the lady in the reception was very kind when we mentioned our case and she asked us to leave the luggage in their locker room. We were so relieved. We had our breakfast there , which was a buffet and then took a taxi from there to the Alhambra.1-IMG_4952

The route was a little longer than we had expected it to be in the taxi, and it was uphill anyways. There were many reroutes that were happening and lot of police personnel everywhere. No clue as to why. We reached the place by around 11.30 or so and there was a huge queue for the morning ticket which is until 2 pm. We were standing in the queue for some time when they announced that the morning tickets were all sold out (that means the entry to the palaces inside will be allowed only after 2 pm from here on, but you can still see other places around and it is a huge place). What no one informed was that there is a ticket vending machine on the other side of the reception where you can use your credit card to get the tickets. We found out after a couple went to try it and then came to collect their friends standing before us showing them the tickets. So A and B went to check and then came back with the tickets. Why they hell won’t they say anything about it and let people use their credit cards to get it done rather than stand in that queue for such a long time ? We got the map of the place and when we started, they stopped us saying that they won’t allow us until 2 pm, but we are welcome to go through the other way from outside. That was the outer wall of the place. We started on it and saw that it was very steep and after consulting the map didn’t really understand if it would take us inside. B insisted that he check out and come back, so we decided that we will wait for him or rather if we find a place to sit down we will do that by the time he comes back. So we went to the restaurant called Jardines Alberto near the entrance and went on to have a drink. B scouted the place , went uphill to the end of the wall and then came back saying that it was just a walk and not that much worth it unless you want to burn some calories off. Since we had time till 2 and it was already 1 pm we decided to have a relaxed lunch.

After our lunch we went inside and started with the exploration of the Alhambra starting from the left hand corner. It is a sort of a circle which ends in the same starting place (may be if you want you can go ahead and see Generalife which is slightly on the right hand corner outside of the main place, which we skipped but B went ahead to see). 1-IMG_4973This is the starting point and from there walk begins.This map would give a very good view of the place. We had our ticket slotted for 4 pm entry for the Palacio Nazaries. So we walked all the way around watching the other places, not entering the Museum of Arts , and taking some rest under the Alcazaba 1-IMG_5046

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1-IMG_5060 (like the ones in the pictures, which also included two towers, one of which I went and the other I ignored because it was slightly on a higher plane and I didn’t feel like climbing there , B & C went ahead and checked them out) and then by 3.30 pm we were in the queue to the Palace. They send in people who have been slotted for that time only. Others still have to wait in the queue. The palace is gorgeous and is entirely Islamic in architecture (as is the whole Alhambra) We see lot of Arabic scriptures everywhere.The fountain of Lions, the hall (where I saw a live makeout session, by accident actually because they bumped on me and sent me kneeling down when I was trying to take a picture of the ceiling there) and the garden there with so many oranges.1-IMG_5122 We took our time checking it out and it was pretty crowded inside. Once we were done we walked all the way around, passing the gardens and ended up almost near the junction where the road splits for the Generalife buildings. It does look like its not much in the map, but it is a huge place and walking around it from 2 to 5 pm really tires you down because it goes up and down. We decided that we will leave out Generalife and so B went and checked it out and came back to the main entrance where we went for a cup of coffee. After relaxing a bit there (giving B some rest) we took a taxi back to the hotel where we kept our luggage. Now the problem was we had to spend some time till at least 8 pm because our train to Barcelona was at 9.30 pm. So we decided to chill out near the station (there are benches put out there) and the sun was going down (not much as we expected it to) and just doing some people watching. We relaxed till 7 pm and then went and got our luggage and took a taxi to the railway station, where we had some dinner (in the form of snacks). This was the day where we did only one place as opposed to a local city tour we had planned earlier because we did not know that Alhambra will take the whole day. We also had expected it to complete it pre lunch. So that was a huge change of plans there.

The Sierra mountains that we saw from the places looked so beautiful. Here is a picture from the railway station.1-IMG_5227 The train was on time, and we found that our compartment was a small closeable cubicle sort of thing which had a wash basin of its own and we were given towels, tooth brush and paste and water bottle. That was so cool and we had reading lamps in each berth too. It was a two level berth and we , women took the lower ones. One funny thing happened here. It was not convenient for us to sit with the beds in place so we were wondering how to put it up (as we do it in India) and found that that we can push it and it gets locked in place for us to sit. So we did that and were sitting and chatting up when the train started. The ticket person came and after verifying the tickets he asked us who had put those beds up. We were proud to say that it was us, (see how smart we were that we figured it out) and then he asked how are we planning to put it down. Now , that got our attention, what did he mean by putting it down. It is just fixed there isn’t. If we remove the lock we can pull it down can’t we ? He smiled and said , call me when you want to sleep. It was already 10 pm , so we asked him to fix it up for us. Seems like it gets locked locked i.e. we cannot open it without a key which only the ticket attender has it. WTH!!! why would they do that ? He was laughing at the look of our faces. And once he left we decided that we will play some music and relax for a while before we go to sleep. After almost an hour of music and singing along we went to a nice sleep forgetting that we were sleeping in a train until it was almost 7 am the next day, when we were nearing Barcelona.

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