#europe2013whaddup – SPAIN (GRANADA PART 1)

IMG_93561I feel as if I’ve been enlightened or something – so just a short ramble before I continue my Spain series and I’m moving on to Granada today (YAY!) – for the past two posts, I’ve been taking the lazy option by saving my pictures which I’ve uploaded on Facebook and then uploading it on WordPress. Today, I have slightly more time, and decided to bring out my good old trusty portable disk drive, which is named Freddie if I may add. I proceeded to upload my images from there, and realised wow, I’ve been doing things wrong all this while. No wonder my pictures in my previous two posts turned out to be so shitty looking, and at one stage, it looked like my face was pixelated.  Poor me. OK that ends my gem of information for today.

Day 4

I’m really excited to be writing about Granda. Out of the three cities I visited in Spain, this was, hands-down my absolute favourite. Perhaps it possessed that old world charm, or maybe it was the hospitality of the people there and that sense of security I got (I didn’t feel like I had to clutch my bags tightly to my body when I was there, or that someone would randomly whip out a knife) but we did meet a middle-aged man on a motorcycle who tried to shake hands with us – doesn’t sound that scary, I thought it was just Spaniards being friendly. But under those circumstances, it was really creepy, even the guy who worked at our apartment told us to be careful.

Oh yes, where was I….. Granada. In addition to all that I mentioned, I think what I liked about Granada the most was that it had a little bit of everything, and is a well-rounded city. My experience in Granada was so beautiful that I am almost tempted to write up an article and send it in to be published in a magazine or something to that extent.

So first up, we took the train from Madrid to Granada via the Renfe train. It took us to the Andalucian region, of which Granada is the capital, and the journey was approximately 3 to 4 hours if I remembered correctly. It was really sad to read the news last week about the train crash in Spain, which left 78 people dead, and knowing that the train was operated by Renfe as well, the same train company which we chose, was just chilling. It could have been anyone of us. That said, the ride was pleasant as we traveled through the countryside. The seats were clean, comfortable and they even provide earphone for the radio system onboard.

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Granada is so rich in its history and culture – and it’s evident in the shops that we passed, the architecture of the buildings and houses, as well as the food. It was so diverse, and this stems from the various influences the city has had since 8 BC. The most obvious would be Moorish influence (the Alhambra), but Granada has also experienced many other influences like from the Greeks and the Romans. One moment, you’ll chance upon a busy street which seems to resemble that of a Middle Eastern culture especially with its tea houses, and the next, you’ll see beautiful cobbled pathways and the next, graffitied walls which I have to say, adds to the charm of the city.

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And of course, if I may continue to rave about Granada, we stayed in the most beautiful apartment I’ve ever stayed in, Apartmentos El Almez. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive at the beginning and was a little torn between staying in a hotel or an apartment. But I really wanted to experience living like a local and in their residential areas. The apartment didn’t have that many reviews, and the pictures were dark on Agoda. I was worried it was going to be a pretty run-down apartment, but boy, was I wrong. The two room apartment was wonderfully furnished and cosy, plus all the amenities you’ll need – a stove, pots and pans, they even provided salt and oil for cooking, and even a washing machine.

Just thought I’ll add that in order to understand Granada a little better, it’s split up into various districts – the more well-known ones being Sacromonte and Albayzin (our apartment was located here). The major attraction sites are all easy to get to. You don’t have to worry about transport in Granada. We walked everywhere, and trust me, I’m not the sportiest around 😉

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Apartamentos El Almez 
(Don’t think they have an official website, but you can check them out on Agoda and Tripadvisor)
Calle de San Juan de los Reyes, 29, 18010,
Granada, Spain, 18010 Granada, Spain (Albaicín)

After spending all our energy on exploring every nook and cranny of the apartment, we headed out for lunch and as I usually do when I reach a new city, just walk around and explore the place a little, sans maps. After lunch, we chanced upon this lovely and extremely popular ice-cream place in the heart of town.

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And this, my friends, is my tomato red faced brother or the Asian flush as we would like to call it. He was plonked outside the shop, feeling really uncomfortable from the glass of Sangria he shared with me during lunch. Now girls, hopefully you get a boyfriend/husband who has the Asian flush? Then we’ll always know when he’s being naughty or up to no good haha.

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Los Italianos
Gran Via 4
Granada, Spain

We moved on to the Alcaiceria – which is full of exotic Arab trinkets and clothing, as well as souvenirs at fairly reasonable prices.

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The main shopping district in Granada – it has your typical big name brands like Zara, Mango, Springfield etc.

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We capped off the day with a short stop by the Granada Cathedral, before we headed back to the apartment to rescue my brother who spent his afternoon sleeping after that glass of Sangria, heh 😀

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