Thursday, 17 November 2016

Not the Alhambra.

This is our second visit to Granada. However, although we spent two days in the city in February 2015, the first day was taken up with a visit to the Alhambra, and the second by relaxing in the luxury of the Hamman Al Andalus arabic baths. Consequently we did not see much of the city itself, but it looked interesting, and we promised to return and explore it further one day. So here we are.

We are staying on a different campsite. The one we stayed on last year was in a satellite town to the southwest of Granada called La Zubia. There was nothing wrong with the site - good facilities, a regular bus service to the city and a shopping centre and cinema complex a few minutes walk away. In fact, from a purely practical standpoint the site where we are now, a couple of kilometres outside the village of Beas de Granada is worse in most respects, the sanitary block is basic with sporadic hot water, only four buses a day to Granada and the nearest shop a hike down a steep hill on a road with no pavement.

What Camping Alto de Viñuelas has is a view. In fact the vista of the Sierra Nevada is breathtaking, especially now with the site's plane trees in yellow, leaf, and the highest peaks covered with snow under a deep blue sky. Add to that the staff, who are friendly and welcoming, and there is no competition - who would not be prepared to suffer a tepid shower for the sake of a glorious view of mountains on a bright autumn morning?

The Sierra Navada from  Camping Alto de Viñuelas

Proper autumn - deciduous trees

The bus shelter is right outside the gate and we we were there well before its scheduled arrival at 12.40. Granada is a 30 minute ride through spectacular scenery, and like everywhere in Spain fares are cheap. I think a single was €1.70. 

The bus deposited us at Avenue Captain Moreno, near the university and next to an an ancient gateway into the narrow streets of the old city. It did not look like a place that would be too easy find again. I took a photo of the street name, that way we could always 'ask Cortana' to guide us back at six, the time of the return bus.This gave us half a day to wile away in the city, but it is an intriguing place, a mixture of corporate wealth, student grunge and touristy tat. We wandered about somewhat aimlessly for hours, took hundreds of photos, and here is a selection:

The area near the bus stop had a bohemian, studenty feel.

Like many Spanish cathedrals, Granada's dwarfs the neighbouring streets - its very tricky o photograph it.

Lovely squares around the cathedral

a mix of local and tourist shops

Mercado San Augustin has been rebuilt in a contemporary style, with great food stall, most with cafe's attached.

The area around the university centres on the the  plaza of the Monasterio de San Jeronimo.

We stopped at a cafe here - Gill was very amused by something...

Granada is an interesting mix of grandeur and grunge. It has gracious avenues full of modernista and late nineteenth century commercial buildings. Yet the alleys leading from them can be quite bohemian looking, covered in grafitti, some of which transcends the genre to become more permanent murals.

The Plaza Santa Ana is the focal point which links the old Arabic quarter of the Albayzin with the Alhambra on the opposite hill. In turn, the square leads into the Calle Reyes Catolicos, and the area around the Cathedral.

Segway tours congregate in Plaza Santa Ana.
The Albayzin - a network of small alleys which formed the original Moorish city.


Occassionally, a small gap in the closely packed houses affords a glimpse of the Alhambra


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