Destination Spain, Part III

Hello my friends! First of all thank you all so much for coming along on this journey. I truly appreciate each of you and welcome any feedback you may have.

In this installment, I’m going to take you to my absolute favorite location of our trip to Andalusia…GRANADA !

It doesn’t get much better than this😉

Have you ever arrived somewhere and just instantly fallen in love with the place? That’s how I felt with Granada..it was love at first sight❤️. Everything about Granada was such a delight to all my senses. The sights, the sounds, tastes, smells, everything was just magical almost mystical to me.

We arrived by train directly from Seville, about a 2.5 hr comfortable ride. I had picked a lovely small boutique hotel in the Albaicin neighborhood of the city. This is basically the ancient Moorish quarter, and still retains the narrow winding streets of that long ago era.

The streets of the Albaicin reminiscent of it’s Moorish roots.
The Moroccan influence makes Granada so colorful and vibrant!

Our hotel, El Ladron de Agua is a beautifully restored 16th century noble house that uses the spirit of the poet Juan Ramon Jimenez as it’s inspiration. The unique hotel is part charming rustic accommodations meets modern art gallery. Instead of room numbers, each room carries the name of a poem written by Juan Ramon Jimenez. We absolutely loved everything about our stay here! I highly recommend it, and they typically offer booking discounts directly through their website http://www.ladrondeagua.com.

The sitting area and gallery of El Ladron de Agua.

I haven’t written very much about food yet..but that is about to change. While many of you are most likely familiar with the term Tapas, did you know how it originated? When you think of Tapas you probably envision a small appetizer or plate right? So the actual translation of Tapas is a cover or “ top”. The culture of Tapas originated in Spain when patrons would be given a small slice of bread to use as a cover to place over their wine glass in an effort to keep fruit flies away! That tradition has grown into the serving of small bites when ordering a drink at a bar or restaurant. In most of our travels that meant a little dish of olives or nuts, sometimes a small plate of meats and cheese even.

Well the spots we visited in Granada take Tapas to a whole different level! I mean seriously…at one restaurant we were given an entire plate of chicken AND french fries just for ordering one beer and one wine at the bar. Had we known we were getting what was basically a meal, we would never had ordered the grilled vegetables…so much for our light lunch 😉.

Tapas to share are very reasonable even in this somewhat touristy restaurant in Plaza Nueva…and we got free chicken & fries!

All our food choices in Granada were perfectly delicious. From the breakfast churros..YUM, at the little cafe next to our hotel to the delectable Gambas al Ajillo…mouthwatering shrimp in garlic and olive oil that we kept going back for at the tiny, authentic Taberna Gamboa.

To die for with crusty bread and a crisp white wine!
How perfect is this little spot?? Everywhere you turn in Granada, you find something special!

When not eating we did do plenty of sightseeing. The most well known symbol of Granada is the glorious and majestic Alhambra . This stunning palace was originally constructed as a small fortress in 899 AD. It was rebuilt as as palace in the mid 13th century by the last Muslim Emirate of Granada and in 1492 after the Christian Reconquista it became the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. It was here in the Alhambra ( the Red Palace) that Christopher Columbus received the endowment for his most famous expedition.

The Alhambra
The intricate carvings and architecture are just glorious!
All the characters and symbols that cover the walls, pillars and ceilings hold special meanings and tell a story.

I strongly recommend taking a guided tour to make the most of your time here. There is just so much to see and experience! I always recommend a small group tour over larger tours and read lots of reviews. You can look for tours at TripAdvisor.com and also Viator.com.

The rest of our time in Granada was spent exploring the Albaicin and all it’s meandering cobblestone streets. The Gypsy quarter sits high up along the way to Plaza San Nicholas and is home to several authentic Flamenco bars.

Quiet private garden in the Albaicin
Traditional Flamenco bar

At Plaza San Nicholas you will typically find a lively gathering of locals playing music ( for coins) and visitors all congregated for the spectacular view of the Alhambra, even more stunning at sunset!

You will also find beautiful pomegranates throughout this lovely city and with good reason. The Spanish word for pomegranate is Granada 😉

Ah Granada, you stole my heart! Maybe someday it will steal yours too??

Ciao for now❤️