Granada, Spain (Jul 2016)
Christine had been telling Kevin about Granada since they started dating. Many a conversation revolved around not having had proper tapas, churros or shawarma until you’ve had them there. Hours were spent talking about the plazas, where you could take a seat and observe the characters of Granada doing what they do; whether it be a gypsy trying to lure a tourist into a fortune telling, a wandering musician trying to make a euro, or a hippie walking around with a parrot on his shoulder trying to pick up girls. Christine lived in Granada for a year, and it was like a second home to her. It was only appropriate that while we were in Spain, she would show Kevin what she had been talking about for the last five years.
Our friend Louis was with us for this part of our trip, so we opted to get from Barcelona to Granada via a two day road trip, stopping in the Alicante wine region for winery tours and a night of rest in the small town of Villena. We hit up the main sights of Granada in our first few days there. In between sightseeing, we walked around, enjoying the beauty of the city, the sangria, the tapas, hookah, wine, jamon, cafes…if it was there to be enjoyed, we enjoyed it. When Louis left, we picked up a rental car to explore outside of Granada. We went to Gibraltar, hiked the rock, and saw monkeys. We went to Ronda, hiked a gorge, and enjoyed lunch next to a castle in a pueblo blanco. We walked the Caminito Del Rey and conquered any remaining fear of heights that we might have had.
On days we weren’t traveling, we enjoyed having a semblance of a routine in the city. We became regulars at a small cafe across from our apartment – after day two, the owner warmed up to us and knew our order by heart. She made the best churros! We had shawarma almost daily (Kevin now gets what Christine has been talking about – it’s just not the same anywhere else). We made our first tortilla española, a recipe we picked up in Barcelona. And we took siestas…when in Spain, right?
The Granada that Christine knew 10 years ago has changed. Kevin warned her about this: “Nostalgia is a strong feeling, Christine.” The city has been built up, a lot. There are new restaurants, fast food joints, and retail stores on every corner of every block in the center of the city. Quiet plazas where Christine used to grab a cafe con leche with her friends are now filled with touristy restaurants. While it’s different, much is still the same. There’s a quote about Granada which says that “there is nothing sadder in life than being blind in Granada.” The city is beautiful. Old historic buildings line cobblestone streets, plazas are filled with shaded benches offering views of fountains…and then there’s the Alhambra.
Our time in Granada was wonderful, but after two weeks it was time to move on. Here are our favorite pictures!