Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Alhambra, heat and not much else.

Granada 9th-16th August 2016

How we discovered that you don't want to stay long in Granada...

Having finally spotted a reasonably priced (for our budget) AirBnb at only 10GBP a night we jumped at the chance and following the pattern we had created for ourselves we went ahead and booked a week in Granada. Considering the price the place turned out to be excellent, it was a 2 bedroom student-like flat with kitchen and living about 20 minutes walk from the centre and as an added bonus the second bedroom which was also rented out to Airbnb'ers was empty for most of the week. The flat did however have a couple of major downfalls, things that would have been manageable had we been staying for a night or so but after a week it started to grow old. The entire flat had one desk fan to cool it down meaning there wasn't much stopping the 38degrees+ heat outside from coming within and to top it off the owner had decided on using fake satin sheets for the bed; the result was a bed that rather than absorbing your sweat during the night instead irradiated it back at us leaving us stewing in a puddle of our sweat by morning...noice. The other drawback was the lack of Wi-Fi. Now admittedly this shouldn't really be an issue; we had just arrived at a new city and were only there for a week, surely there should be plenty of things to do and see to take up our time. You would think so, but sadly not.

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Granada does look lovely from the Alhambra though
One of the reasons I've spent so much time complaining about the flat in this entry is because there isn't much else to write about our time in Granada and anyone who's been to the city can attest to the lack of things to do there, especially over the period of the week. This was why having no Wi-Fi was a pain in the ass. Consequently we are a little ashamed to admit we ended up spending far too many ours in the local supermarket and burger king stealing the free internet (and of course playing lots of chess) - there is a limit to the amount of time you can spend in bars (apparently). Not our most productive week, but hey we learned a lesson: don't book a whole week in advance, book a few days and extended if need be. Kind of obvious advice in retrospect.

Image may contain: plant, tree, table, outdoor and natureThere is of course the one big attraction in Granada and the reason why we headed there in the first place: Alhambra, a place we were actually pretty lucky to get into. It never occurred to us to check the ticket situation for Alhambra as we figured we would be able to buy them no the door. Nope. They need to be booked in advance and are only valid on a specific day, for a specific time slot and every single ticket was sold out for the week we were there. Bugger. Fortunately for ask after inquiring at the tourist information centre we were told that across town there was a ticket office for Alhambra which re-sold previously cancelled tickets meaning there was still a chance however limited. With the office scheduled to close soon after we headed across town at speed, found the office which was recognisable by the line of tourists doing exactly the same as us and after a moment of queuing we were luckily presented with 2 tickets for the next morning. 
And so the next morning we were up and out the house by 6:30, for once we were outside before the sun was hot enough to melt our faces off and we began our trek up to Alhambra.

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The Alhambra was incredible. A myriad of cool buildings and structures with intricate details on every surface imaginable. Everything had we planned and built to a T, even the conservation effort that has gone into preserving the medieval complex is fantastic. There are only so many ways I can describe these cool Arabic buildings so instead I will just show you the photos. After 3 hours of wondering around our eyes had had their fill, our feet were knackered and our stomachs were empty so we did the only thing we knew to do: Pub.
Infamous Piononos

Piononos. This strange sounding word was Granadas signature food, where Valencia had Horchata and Catalonia had Fartons Granada had Piononos. After seeing them advertised everywhere by every baker in town we finally tried one and despite this little dessert being utterly delicious I still to this day have no idea what it is. They are some sort of cakey dough rolled up like a cinnamon bun, dripping in some sort of juice or sauce and a type of icing on top. Strange but delicious.

According to Wikipedia: Piononos have two parts: a thin layer of pastry rolled into a cylinder, fermented with different kinds of syrup which give the pionono a sweet and pleasant texture, crowned with toasted cream. It is typically eaten in one or two bites." ...If that is any less ambigous.

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With Einstein outside the planetarium
The Planetarium was the only other thing of note we did during the week, supposing that visiting lots of bars doesn't count. It was a simple planetarium screen attached to a science museum at the far end of town where we watched an interesting short film about MC Escher, his creations and how we was influenced by the designs found at the Alhambra. Of course it was all in Spanish so I understood an unsurprisingly little amount but it was very visually interesting nonetheless.

Finally the week was over and at least we had had a chance to do some planning for the future during our 4 hour Burger King session and next up on the agenda was Seville.

Until then,


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