Back in July, my friend Hannah and I took a bus all the way from Morocco to Granada in Spain. Due to the fact it was Ramadan and all ticket holders for the early morning buses had been transferred to the lunchtime ones, we didn’t arrive until 4 hours later than expected. Considering we were originally due in at 2 in the morning this was actually a welcome delay. Arriving about 5.30am, dawn became daylight as we walked into the city from the bus station desperate for food. There’s not a lot of choice for breakfast at 6am on the streets of Granada. Churros and chocolate it was then. Shame, eh?
Our hostel, White Nest Hostel, was a great place and very easy to find down a side street from the riverside cobbled road. We were able to leave our bags there until check-in and even allowed to take a shower after our long, long bus journey. We headed out for the day thankfully clean and fresh! We’d been told about a free walking tour (well, tour for tips) of the city that started at 11am. Hannah is a lover of free city walking tours so we opted in. I’d never done one before but the guide was very interesting and knowledgeable, and clearly a huge fan of Granada so we even decided to rejoin him that evening for the Sacromonte Caves tour, which was a great move! After a rather filling 3 course €8.50 Menú Del Día and a stroll around in 40° heat, we met our guide again that evening and he took us up and away above the city to places we wouldn’t have dared to go as tourists. We were even allowed to visit inside one cave and speak to the residents. Unfortunately, the Spanish government is trying to evict them.
On heading back into the city, we decided to go the whole hog on the gypsy front and managed to bag ourselves the two last tickets at Le Chien Andalou, an authentically styled Flamenco bar. Arriving for tickets moments before the show, we were able to grab 2 reserved but uncollected tickets, which meant we found ourselves right on the front row. Although I wouldn’t recommend risking it on tickets until the last minute, as we got really lucky getting those tickets, I would recommend the show at Le Chien Andalou. The Flamenco dancer and band performed in a small cave shaped room, with the audience crammed onto rows of benches and the alcohol flowing. The atmosphere and the performance were absolutely fantastic – the dancer’s skirt swished upon my lap many times! It was exactly what we wanted from a Flamenco show. It was intense, intriguing and intimate. The perfect introduction to live Flamenco!
That first day was jam-packed, but it was nothing compared to our next day visiting the attraction in Granada: The Alhambra. The Alhambra is so sought after, that tickets need to be bought online via Ticketmaster. We opted to collect our tickets at a ServiCaixa machine in Spain, often found outside CaixaBanks. The online process felt slightly ‘unofficial’ so we were glad when we had our tickets in our hands!
We’d spent the previous day oooing and ahhing at the Alhambra which dominates the view from the city, however, that didn’t compare to seeing it up clopse and personal. The Alhambra is a real highlight of Spain, and dare I say it, Europe. Compared to the big sights that everyone knows about such as the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben, the Alhambra remains to feel slightly secretive and personal. Shh, don’t tell!
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Granada itself is one of Europe’s best kept semi-secrets. It really is a gem of a place, memories of which linger long after leaving.
Have you visited Granada? What did you think? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know your thoughts! 🙂