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Spain, Andalucia, Granada

Granada - Wednesday 14th February 2007

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Day trip to Granada and the Bosque de Alhambra

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Diary - Top

Wednesday

We are having a rest day and are going to Granada to see the Alhambra gardens and palaces. We are not taking any food as we hope to find a place to have lunch there. Neil suggests we take the second set of keys so we can get back in even if we become separated (belt and braces). This seems highly unlikely for this kind of outing but I put them in my back pocket.

We get the 8.30 bus and Neil is really lucky because he sees two deer at the side of the road. Mini and I don't see them but there is a deer sign on the road so we believe him. I must check on which types of deer live round here when we get home.

We are expecting, once we get to Motríl, that the bus will retrace the route we took on Sunday but it doesn't. We enter Motríl by quite a different route and pass a tropical plants nursery (Explotaciones de plantas tropicales), and approach the bus station from the top of the town and leave from the top of the town.

The route is spectacular passing right through the Sierra Nevada. In a small town up in the mountains, Velez de Banaudalla, the two Alsina Graells buses meet and can barely pass. Each driver politely (or scaredly?) asks the other to advance but each in turn says, "No puedo," They inch along and eventually pass each other without mishap.

There is snow on the peaks, which is no doubt how the Sierra Nevada got its name. We chose today for our trip to Granada because the weather forecast had promised temperatures of around 16 degrees. Tuesday had been around 12 and that is cold for sight-seeing.

Once at Granada, a journey of two and a half hours, we looked for the toilets (I had been desperate since the bus stop in La Rábita). I then go upstairs to find our return bus times and get tickets for our return journey. The 5 o'clock bus seems best.

We get a taxi to the gardens. There is gridlock and it takes quite a time. Half-way along we catch up with some Alhambra buses. Could we have used one of these more cheaply? We get our tickets for the Alhambra and look at the gardens and the palaces. Our ticket entitles us to go inside the Palacios Nazaries at 1 o'clock.

On the way, we pass a bookshop and I spot La Alhambra contada a los Niños. I go and get Mini and then buy a copy in Spanish for Mary's Christmas present and Mini gets one in English for Cassie.

When we get to the Palacios Nazares, there is a long queue so we take some photos of the views in the hope that it will clear but it doesn't. We decide to continue looking at the gardens. There are some bushy tailed black squirrels making some teenage girls scream inappropriately.

There were two of school parties, one of which (green kilts) was conspicuous by the stupid behaviour of the children. The second (red jumpers) was a delight to share the gardens with.

It is now 2pm and we decide to find a lunch place. We have been snacking on junk food in the meantime. The cafe inside the gardens only has vending machines with snacks and the cafe outside is not much better. We go Las Mimbres on the road outside (Mimbre = wicker). We have stark and solomillo of porker and roasted poopers. We drink water and grape and apple must (very nice). The restaurant is non smoking and everyone is pleasant without being suffocating (as in demanding to know your nationality?)

The Alhambra buses don't go the bus station so we get a taxi back down. Once you start paying for two buses for three people the difference in price is not worth the hassle of wondering where to change buses.

In the bus station, we see that there is quite a good restaurant there so we store that information for the future - not so nice as at Las Mimbres though. We catch our bus and on the way out of town, I see graffiti on a wall saying "He who has more toys still dies." A useful reminder to us all. On the way back, the bus takes the low road and far from being a straight boring lowland route, we pass through steep sided valleys and gorges - just as spectacular in its way as the mountain route. We also pass two huge dams, one in use and the other still waiting to be filled. We get back at 7.30pm, buy one or two things for the next day and go home to bed with "choose supper (just raid the fridge)".

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