May 6, 2015: Granada and the Alhambra

Today is Wednesday, our big day to tour Granada and finally get to see the Alhambra, the biggest tourist attraction in the whole of Europe.  We all had to be up very early this morning, which was rough, since we got very little sleep last night.  I only got three hours, at most.

Had to be up at six thirty, which really sucked.  But we were able to get up, as painful as it was, get everyone into the car and get on the road on time.  Ryan got a chance to see morning in Spain for the first time.  It was a gorgeous morning.

The drive went well.  We had just a tiny bit of traffic as it was the morning commuting hours, but nothing that delayed us.  We went west through Lanjarón which we had seen last night.

Dominica had all of the information on where to park in Granada so it was actually pretty easy getting off of the highway and getting out to the old town and getting into the Alhambra parking.  Very easy.  We had heard that this was hard but it was not at all.

We parked and were out of the car just before nine!  We were quite early.  Our group was not supposed to meet until ten.  Our tour group, that is.

So we hunted around until we found the welcome center and there we were able to get a light breakfast.  Ryan got a tortilla and Dominica and I each got a chocolate filled croissant which are rather popular here as a breakfast food.  We all got café con leche.  The girls just got chips.  Rather odd, but there was no normal food that they wanted.

Dominica spent a lot of time dealing with the tour logistics, like figuring out where to meet, getting our tour stickers and listening devices and whatnot.  That was quite a bit more work than it should have been and there was apparently some complication that things did not start when they were supposed to but there was no clear way to tell us so we were never really sure what was going on and Dominica had to check in a few times to make sure that they had not started the tour without us.  But at a quarter after ten we finally got started and went out to the parking lot to meet up with loads of other confused people and were slowly sorted into different groups to begin the tour.

We had a great tour guide who was local but his Engish was clear.  We had little radios that we carried so that we could hear him even when we could not see him.  The Alhambra is enormous and it is really crowded all of the time so it is easy to get separated or lose sight of the group if you stop to actually see anything.

I had thought that the tour was going to be about an hour and a half.  Boy was I wrong.  The tour went from a quarter after ten in the morning until after one thirty in the afternoon with us walking the entire time!  What a long day that was and it is amazing that the girls were able to handle it.  They did such a good job.

The Alhambra was amazing.  We got to see so many of the most beautiful gardens.  And the archeological site and the castle and grounds were all amazing too.  Tons of great fountains, amazing tile work, etc.  So much interesting history.  The tour really ended up making it much better.  We ended up being really thankful that we did things that way.  Originally we thought that the tour was just an extra expense but after doing it we realized that it forced us to really see everything and learn lots of things that we would have otherwise missed and we ended up spending the entire day there rather than just an hour or whatever we would have done until the girls started to get tired.

It was nearly two when we finished up at the Alhambra.  What a long day!  Four hours of continuous walking.  I checked on my iPhone’s pedometer and found that we had done 7.6 miles today!  We carried Luciana for part of that but Liesl walked every bit of it!  She is such a good walker.

As we were heading out to look for our car we saw the Grey Lines city sightseeing trolley thing pull up outside of the Alhambra and we decided that this would be a great way to see the city as this is probably our only chance to actually do sightseeing in Granada before we head out of Spain and certainly Ryan’s only chance to get a real tour of a Spanish city.  It was not too expensive and it would take us down to the area where we wanted to go to find lunch so it was pretty much perfect.

The tour was pretty good.  The little trolley thing was pretty cool to ride around in.  It was a warm day and this was a nice way to get around.  We rode for about an hour before getting out to look for a restaurant.

Ryan did some searching on his phone and found a place that he wanted to go to find.  It was not where the trolley had dropped us off so we had to walk for a bit.  When we found the place we went in and found that they were only serving prix fix and not their normal menu and there was nothing that the kids would consider eating.  So we had to go somewhere else.

We ended up going to the place next door (which later we discovered was a well known gay bar in the area) and the food turned out to be completely amazing.  Maybe the best food that we have had in Spain!  We ordered wine and got some meat-based tapas that Ryan got to eat.  We ordered cheese, eggplant in molasses, caprese salad and a leek pudding.  Amazing.  We could not have found better food had we spent all day searching.

Unfortunately the meal took a while between the walk and having to switch places so we were actually racing to get back to the house.  And we got a little lost trying to do it.  So we missed the first trolley that came by.  So the rest of the afternoon was spent in a little bit of a panic trying to get back to the house.

We finished up the tour which dropped us back off at the parking lot for the Alhambra which was perfect.  We were able to drive right out and home without any issues.

It was a race but I got home just in the nick of time to start work.  That was quite stressful.

After work Ryan and I went back to the Meson for beers again.  Different crowd tonight.  Met some new friends, one who bought us drinks too, and we hung out until late.  One of the guys, Adolfo, who lives next door to me and is the person that we met when Dominica and I first pulled into Cáñar and parked on the plaza to unload the car when we were moving into town, ended up coming outside to ask us about a laptop that he was having problems with.  So he came back to the house and we opened some wine and Ryan worked on his laptop for a few hours while I did some work.

By four in the morning we managed to get his laptop actually working and I have him on Facebook now, as does Ryan.  It was very late when we got to bed.  We will be lucky to have two hours of sleep before we need to get up tomorrow and get on the road to get Ryan back to the airport.  It is going to be a busy day.  A little sightseeing then getting him to the airport and then picking up Rachel and Shawn and getting them back to the village.  Lots of driving and lots to do.