Gypsies, Flamencos and Castles in the sky

If you’ve ever been to Granada, you’ll understand when I say that not much needs to be said about this enchanting city.  An old cliché I know but, it does speak for itself.

We only spent two days in Granada but we fell in love with this place, hard.

Our first stop, of course, was the Alhambra.  A palace, castle, summer retreat and enclosed town all neatly make up this magnificent place.  If, like us, you’re a cultural history nerd and wannabe photography megalomaniac then this is a winner.  There’s something magical about the Alhambra with all its gold, mosaic and beautiful Moorish architecture.  The Genralife too is stunning with its sumptuous grounds which include rose gardens, house of happiness and waterfall staircase.  It took us the whole day to explore and to be honest, you could easily spend a day walking through the gardens alone.  Make sure you’ve got you’re comfy walking boots on though for sure!

Day 2 was exploring the rest of the city below the Alhambra. It didn’t disappoint.  We had a quick mooch around the city centre and then headed onwards and upwards (and there’s a lot of upwards in Granada!) to Albayzin.  This is Granada’s Arab quarter and as befits a Medina, the streets are a maze of pretty white houses with hand-painted tiles and flower pots decorating the front facets.

If ever there was somewhere I would want to live, it would be here.

At the top of the Albayzin quarter is the view-point Plaza de San Nicolas. You must go here if you go to Granada – it’s a bit of a climb but the panoramic view of the city is totally worth it.  There’s also plenty of restaurants if you need a beer and a breather once you’re there.

Next, we ventured to one of the best parts of Granada, Sacromonte.  This traditional neighbourhood once belonged to the city’s gypsy community.  And it still does, in parts, as well as the city’s homeless as we found out when Eamo decided he wanted to see the cave houses for himself.  Instead, we wandered in to somewhat of a rural area high in the hills (above Albayzin) where there were no cave houses but more people living in houses made of corrugated iron sheets and tarpaulins.

We probably should have clocked that we weren’t exactly in the right place when the houses were no longer white but a lovely cement colour with the house numbers spray painted on the walls and the smell of dog poop grabbed at us.  Maybe the giant Alsatian that looked mildly unhinged as we passed his doorway, only to be pulled back by his owner should have given it away? Nope. We carried on up.

We finally made it to the correct neighbourhood which is on the precipice slopes of the hills and where the Romi gypsies built their homes from the rock face.  No two houses are the same as they were completely determined by the rocks rough terrain.  They’re actually quite spacious – probably bigger than some studio apartments in the likes of London!

“Little gipsy if you loved me, I would buy you the best cave in Granada”

Photo 18-12-2017, 15 15 58

We stayed just outside of Granada in La Zubia at Camping Reina Isabel.  It was a bit naff unfortunately and at €19 a night we decided to stay only a couple of nights.  Our first night there was a Friday and although we expect a bit a noise at weekends, we were kept awake until about 4am with locals coming and going from their evening out.  There was also on site building works from 8am including Sunday and our electricity on our pitch kept tripping as there was a fault.  Had it have been a bit nicer then we would have happily of stayed a few more days.  Maybe it’s better in high season?

Camping Reina Isabel is in the perfect location for Granada though – it’s 6km from the city centre and the bus stop is right outside the site and there’s a bus every 20 mins.  It’s €1.60 each, so can’t complain there.

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C x

 

Distance travelled so far: 2,688 km

Days away: 46

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