By the time I arrived in Granada, my last stop in Spain, it is safe to say I was definitely in the mood for a change of scenery, and more food options. Granada is in the South in Andalusia and has a bit of Arabic/Moorish influence. They had plenty of food options for falafel, and so naturally, I hit up Shawarma King. It’s like Burger King but for falafel and kebab. If you’ve never had kebab, it is addictive. Kebab (short for doner kebab) is basically just shaved meat in a pita. Kebab is a term that’s used to classify this genre of food, which includes falafel pitas as well. Middle Eastern cuisine is really great for vegetarian options. Fast food is never the best option, but it hit the spot after being falafel deprived in Sevilla.
I just realized I always go right into talking about food first. I guess it’s that important to me. Along with the weather and public transport it might be the third element of what makes a city a success according to Lindsey. (That’s me). Now I’m interested what your criteria are for what makes a city great while traveling. Let me know in the COMMENTS!
Okay, back to business… since I was fully nourished on Shawarma King, I wandered around the area. To be honest since it was Easter, nothing much was going on in the city and everyone must have been all partied out. Plus it rained almost every day. However, I stayed a few nights, experienced “real” tapas finally, and we did get into La Alhambra, which was truly majestic and up until that point was probably the best scenery and gardens I had seen.
Granada is located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains so the area is quite hilly. Once you get into some of the neighborhoods away from city center the roads are really windy and steep and narrow. One of the nights, we sought out some real tapas. And by real, I mean free. Apparently, the tradition in Spain surrounding tapas is that for every drink you order, you are to receive a small bite to eat. And they are supposed to get better with each drink. Most places we had been to had tapas to order separately, but didn’t give us much in the way of free tapas. Maybe olives, or some chips, but definitely not anything for every drink and definitely not for each person. But we knew it existed, so we were on a mission.
We actually went to two places. One was in Albaicín, or the Muslim quarter, and was buffet style. You got to choose TWO bites to eat from a big table of tapas for every drink you ordered. For free. And the drinks were like 2 Euro. It was amazing. However, the atmosphere was a little too busy and buffet-ish for us, so we went on to the next place. It was called Bar Minotuaro Tapas. You basically got a sandwich and chips or olives every time you ordered. Another girl and I were both vegetarian and they accommodated us without hesitation. Awesome! I’d definitely recommend that place, although it seems we probably could have done more homework beforehand because there are a LOT of good traditional tapas places in Granada and supposedly the tapas should keep getting better with each drink. I guess this only works well if you drink a lot. My two drink standard doesn’t really allow me to explore much in the way of tapas, but the guys seemed to enjoy all the food they got for free.
Then the next day we got up and went to La Alhambra. We actually left around 6:30 AM, and we were not even close to being first in line for the 8:30 AM ticket office opening. There were probably a good 200-300 people in front of us. I’m bad at estimating numbers, buuut it looked like a lot. If you know which day you want to go to Alhambra, definitely buy your tickets in advance if you can. They sell out far in advance. Otherwise, get up SUPER early (I’d say around 5 AM to be safe), make the climb up to the ticket office and wait in line for a long time. They did have a coffee shop that was open with refreshments and food so it wasn’t bad at all. Another tip is to get your tickets using the separately line for credit card payment. There is a line hidden (to us) just past the coffee shop that is the line for credit card users. It was very short to start but once word spread, the line did get longer. We were lucky and had some hostel friends in the credit card line that did us a HUGE favor and got us our tickets since we were in the regular (longer) line. They only sell a certain amount of tickets each day to those waiting so we may have gotten in, but we also may not have, and we likely would have had to come back much later in the day at a certain time period. The credit card line is where it’s at.
And this is what you get for the logistics required to enter into La Alhambra.
There are a few sections of Alhambra that a general ticket will allow you to see:
The time of your entrance to the Nasrid Palaces are indicated on your ticket, and this is what Alhambra is most famous for. I, however, loved the gardens the most. Everything was impressive but the gardens were impeccable. I may have busted out a happy dance or two and the permagrin was in full force.
Whew. It’s still awe-inspiring looking at all the photos of this place! I’m glad you all like pictures as much as I do!!
There are more where that came from since I’m picking up the speed of my journey now that I have limited time before the Prague Marathon! Next up: Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia. Get excited to hear alll about it!
All for now, loves!