Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Last day in Granada

Last night's dinner and flamenco was a hard act to follow but we gave it a shot anyway. We were up and in a taxi to the Alhambra bright and early this morning. After getting stuck behind groups, a worker saw our tickets were for an earlier time and let us in. The walk there was so nice with Cyprus trees lining the sidewalk of ruins. Our first stop was the Palacios Nazarides where we were able to view the palace of sultans who ruled Granada for 700 years. We couldn't believe all the intricate scrollwork, engraving and design of this building. I'd wanted to see it for a long time since I had art history and it definitely didn't disappoint. The palace of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V is also there, in its circular Roman revival style and houses two small museums.
We had lunch at a former artist's house, where Sister befriended a stray cat and fed him half of her chicken. It felt like being at home! Lol
After lunch, some shopping and near fist fight with some gypsies, La Lopez, Sister and I went to the cathedral which was their first time since I had gone yesterday. Sister was very moved, and it reminded her how our uncle was always telling her to travel. Indeed it was our unexpected loss of him this past Christmas that was her impetus for going on this trip.
We rounded the corner at the Capilla Real and were treated with seeing the crypts of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella! They even have his sword and her crown and sceptre.
Later on we cabbed it over to the Elvira Gate, part of the old Moorish city wall, to a little organic store for a wine tasting. Andalusia has some of Spain's finest wines and olive oil. Our hostess, a fun girl from the Basque region, entertained us with three great wines exclusive to Granada paired with awesome tapas. All three wines come from vineyards above 1000 feet in elevation, and so can only be picked and processed by hand. This makes the reserves of wine very exclusive and handled with care. Of course we all bought bottles along with different Andalusian olive oil. Hooray! After three full glasses of wine we were feeling a bit buzzed and it was definitely an adventure trying to walk down that hill in wedge shoes!
This morning we picked up our rental car and that's when the real adventure began. First of all, when its your first time to Europe, you tend to over pack (meaning La Lopez and Sister with all their shoes!). So trying to fit four suitcases in an Audi A4 was like playing Tetris. We ended up stacking two suitcases in the backseat between Sister and Miz Brazil for the three and a half hour drive from Granada to Alicante. Now La Lopez and I had not driven a stick shift in a while, and Sister and Miz Brazil don't know how to drive one at all, so there was some pressure. Couple that with crazy European traffic, scooters our of no where, and traffic circles (roundabouts), it made for a stressful situation. We accidentally killed the engine getting stuck behind a car who slammed on the breaks, ON A HILL (!), and poor La Lopez was pretty stressed out trying to get it started again. Since I was navigating, I had to throw down the dispatcher voice and keep it calm while until we got on the highway. We rolled into Alicante three hours later and to our pensione, which was tiny. But hey this is Europe and Miz Brazil and I are both used to tiny hotel rooms. La Lopez and Sister however, are having to suspend their American comfort zones for now.
We went to walk around a bit while La Lopez went to get her hair blown out straight and found the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Gracia, which is a quiet unassuming little church in the center of town (and kinda funny since our family's village in Italy has a church of the same name: Santa Maria della Grazia!). Alicante isn't really a tourist destination, but it was sufficient for a one night layover before our flight to Ibiza the next day. We had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant before settling down for the night.

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