We picked up our very bright royal blue Skoda car this morning and drove three hours southeast to Granada. The scenery was pretty much olive trees and sunflower fields with the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the distance.
Granada is similar to Seville but with a lot fewer people. It is also a big university town with about 80,000 students attending the University of Granada. We had to spend the first part of our afternoon trying to find something for lunch. It was 5:00 so we just missed the lunch time and were about 3 and half hours away from dinner time. One of the only things you can find besides drinks is the churros and thick chocolate drinking sauce. Once you finish the churros you are then supposed to drink the thick chocolate.
The main sight to see in Granada is the castle of Alhambra. We have reservations to see that tomorrow which we had to get months in advance. We walked a scenic route to see the view of the Alhambra to watch the sunset. It was pretty cold up there and I can’t say I felt very safe sitting up there for an hour. We caught a taxi back down and tried to find a place for dinner. It was barely after 8 and nobody was eating yet. We finally found a place that was serving dinner and I tried 2 very rare pieces of pork. We have a nice room with a balcony and a view of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Don’t get the idea that I tried doing the flamenco rather I went to a show. The show didn’t allow for videos or flash so it was hard to get any good photos but luckily there was a street performer doing the flamenco in the evening. The place we wanted to go for dinner didn’t open until 8:30 so we had time to walk around after the flamenco show that started at 5:00. Since restaurants open so late for dinner, it does make us walk around a lot more later in the day.
Here is the video of the street performer:
Here is a video combining the Alcázar of Seville and the town.
We spent the day wandering the streets of Seville. It is very easy to get lost on all of the narrow winding streets. I almost got run over just opening the door this morning since there isn’t a sidewalk.
They have some really pretty purple trees that are blooming right now, and I have been entertained with all the little oranges that have fallen off the trees kicking them down the street. I almost got hit in the head at dinner tonight when a little orange the size of a walnut fell off and hit the table right in front of me.
We were going to spend some time in a park today but when we entered the park a lady had something stolen and the guy took off on bike. Somebody yelled and 3 police officers took off on foot. I’m not sure what happened as we just saw the lady diving after the guy on the bike, but we decided to not spend too much time in the park. We went and visited the site where they held the World’s Fair a couple of times and Star Wars filmed one of their movies.
The Alcázar of Seville is known as one of most beautiful in Spain. The upper levels of the palace are still used by the royal family which makes this place the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. The walls are lined with beautiful mosaics of tile and there is so much detail on every wall that a picture can’t capture how beautiful the palace was. The gardens were a nice place to sit for a bit and take in the detail from the outside. This was the palace where Christopher Columbus briefed the queen of Spain after his return trip from America. It was nice to visit the palace two hours before closing because there were hardly any tour groups in there.
We left the busy city life of Madrid and headed south to Seville. It was a very fast two and half hour train ride with speeds up to around 186 mph. The countryside views were rolling brown hills and lots of little trees.
Our taxi driver on the way to the hotel told us he would have to drop us off at the corner of our street because the street was going to be too narrow to drive down. I’m not sure how the streets leading up to the hotel weren’t too narrow since we had to wait for people to get off of the street for us to drive down. We made it to the hotel and were spoiled with a nice cold glass of lemonade.
We were pretty hungry once we got to Seville so we headed out right away to catch lunch which ends around 4:00 pm. We decided to try some samples of different meats and cheeses which were good. The only thing I don’t get is how you are supposed to eat the meat and cheese without anything to put it on. Here is a picture of the cheeses and meats. What isn’t pictured is the 3 sandwiches we ordered with it. Needless to say this counted as lunch and dinner. (Dinner service here doesn’t actually start until 8:00 pm.)
Today was our last day in Madrid and we spent the day strolling around the city and taking a cable car. Today was a lot cooler with a strong breeze. On our way to the cable car we visited the Temple of Debod which was a gift from Egypt in the 1960’s. The carvings inside were pretty interesting as they were from around 200 BC but other than that there wasn’t much else to see there. We then headed to the cable car which took us over a park that was mainly dirt and little green trees. There was a nice rose garden in full bloom at one end of the cable car.
Tomorrow we are taking a fast train to Seville where it should be in the low 90’s.
You will see in the video that the cable car was moving around quite a bit.
Here are a couple of photos from today. The columns in front of the temple are original but they built a building around the temple to help protect the structure.
Here is a video of our day in Spain. There is a clip near the end that shows all of the pollen in the air. It looked like it was snowing most of the day and it would stick to everything. I even found some in my Ox burger that I had for lunch. This was my first time trying Ox and it was pretty good with goat cheese and raspberry jam. The very last clip of the video, you can see a mountain that they call Dead Woman. The top of the mountain looks like a lady laying down on her back.
We took a day trip to Segovia, Spain today. It was an hour bus ride from Madrid and very simple to figure out. Segovia is located closer to the mountains so people from Madrid frequently go to there on the weekend to find cooler weather. I’m not sure I noticed the cooler weather but the town was worth a visit for the day.
The town is most known for Aqueduct which was declared a World Heritage Site in the 1990’s. The Aqueduct dates back to either the late 1st or early 2nd century. There are around 25,000 granite blocks held together without any mortar. I still have no clue how the Aqueduct worked but it supplied all of the water for the towns for thousands of years.
We also visited the Alcazar of Segovia which is a large castle. The original burnt down in the 1860’s so we were seeing the newer version. The castle is believed to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle at Disneyland.
The day was a perfect day trip from Madrid but I was ready to get back to the hotel and get off my feet for a bit. I was also looking forward to a little air conditioning until we got back to the hotel and it was completely dark. The power was out so we would have to wander around for another hour until they could restore the power.
Here is a short video of all the music we got to hear today around the parks of Madrid.