24.09.2010 - 27.09.2010
The bus trip from Madrid to Granada in the South of Spain (the Andalucia region) was very comfortable - Chris read Bill Bryson's Thunderbolt Kid and Jade read Colleen Mccullough's Thornbirds. When we arrived in Granada there were crowds of young people at the bus station and later it seemed as though it was the start of semester at the University of Granada. We took a local bus and then walked to our accommodation - Hostal Lima - where we would stay for 3 nights. The owners were proudly Spanish, and the hotel lavishly decorated - http://www.hostallimagranada.com/en/habitacioneshostallimagranada.php
The breakfasts there were very good and included gazpacho soup eaten with toasted bread roll slices and the most delectable olive oil. In Granada, we walked around the city, admired the Moorish architecture and gardens and enjoyed the warm weather. The main highlight of our visit was the Alhambra, a Moorish Palace taken by the Spanish Catholics in 1492. With the most beautiful gardens which contained thousands of roses and kilometres of open water aquaducts, and large goldfish in ponds. The Nasrid Palaces in the Alhambra were like walking into another world. In Granada, we also went the Monastary of Cartuja, built in the 14th century in a Baroque style. It contained paintings of monks with firearms, axes in their heads, and monks being dismembered. The church within the monastary was massive and highly ornate with large marble altars and fine wooden structures. The atmosphere there was quite heavy and somewhat sinister, with overtures to Spain's violent religious past. The area around the monastary was dry and dusty, and gave you the feeling that you could be in Mexico, on the look out for a Desparado. In Granada we also liked wandering around the tight, winding streets in the Moorish area where you can sample the hookah pipe.