United Kingdom, Spain · 7 Days · 35 Moments · September 2017

A tale of two Cities- Malaga and Granada

29 September 2017

We moved on to a town holding a Fiesta for the rest of the evening. It was a Medieval festival with flags and some people dressed up and also a procession to San Miguel. Did 24,597 steps today!!
We finished the day with a visit to the most visited place in Granada- The Alhambra Palace. We couldn't get tickets into the actual palace but did the gardens and tower. That alone was amazing- with the fountains and the Arab wall markings.
The views from the top of the tower are amazing. We were able to watch most of the sunset!! An official came to tell all of us (about 15 people) that it was closing time. A few tried to persuade him to let us stop a couple more minutes until the sun had set but he was having none of it! That was enough of a distraction for the rest of us to snap away! Bill Clinton once said that is the best sunset in the whole world (over the Sierra Nevada mountains)
Beautifully hot today
Started the day with a walk to the fountain we found last night. Lovely to sit there and do some people watching after a croissant breakfast. Then bought a panini and fruit, went back to the apartment to collect a book and onwards to La Jardin de Triunfo for my picnic lunch spot and time to sit in the shade reading a book. I forgot to mention yesterday that as I took one of my many trips past the Cathedral I bumped into Lyn and Steve from Church!! We'd all said last week that we'd be in Andulcia at the same time but didnt really discuss itineraries... small world! We're on the same flight home Saturday evening too!
Had to add two different notes... too many words!! Cristina and I were sat at the front crying with laughter, with the singer probably thinking we were so moved by his performance😂 The man needs to buy a washing machine!! (The man in the photo is Pablo- Cristinas Dad)
Had a brilliant night tonight, so funny. Cristina and I went for a walk around town, had our usual free Tapas, with her Dad, Pablo joining us. Then We all went on to see a Flamenco show. Pablo speaks as much English as I do Spanish! He knew lots about Granada leaving Cristina to translate for both of us. At the very select show(maybe 10 people watching!), the singer began by singing very expressively with the dancer joining in. Again Cristina had to give me a commentary about the song... now, maybe it lost something in translation, or it could have been the three bottles of beer I had (not my usual drink of choice!) but apparently he was singing something along the lines of "your face is red, your face is red, you are beautiful, I will love you till we both die, but not your Mother!!" The second song also had some strange theme about " I am so sad, so sad about my Mother dying because nobody will wash my shirts!! Both of these were sung and danced to with such emotion and passion!!!

28 September 2017

I walked onto the Plaza Bib-Rambla for a drink and the free portion of Tapas but the offering today was olives!!😛 Wonder if they'd notice if I threw them one by one into the Plaza? Actually had to buy a chicken and spinach burger with salad to eat!! Found the University Botanical Jardin by accident as I wandered back to the apartment to pick up sun cream and glasses (It was cloudy when I left earlier)
Had a lazy start to the day (beginning to get this Spanish life!) Walked to Monasterio De San Jerónimo for a look around. Theres only photos of the outside, they weren't allowed inside the church. Amazing paintings covering the whole inside, not one piece of wall or ceiling left empty. Did a bit of photobombing, every corner I turned there was a French camera crew filming something with two men in white coats!!

27 September 2017

Oh and it rained a little bit today but was still 22c
Early evening Cristina and I drove to a Mirador (viewing spot) then onto Sacromonte (translates to Sacred Mountain) Its an area with caves in the mountains. Some people choose to live in them permanently, building tents at the cave entrances. Also visited an old Abbey up there too. We finished the evening with visits to a couple of Tapas bars where you get a free Tapas with every drink.
After a quick late lunch it was back out to the cathedral. Walked past more shops including the tea stall. So many different herbal teas. Had a look around the Cathedral and then had tea and apple pie. I've felt that the price of food has been very reasonable even cheap but my apple pie was 5.30 euros!!
After a fantastic nights sleep in a very comfortable bed I went off to find the Mercado De San Agustin (market) I bought ham, cheese bread, salad and fruit, which I later made into a 12" salad subway for a late lunch!! Thought I did fairly well with the language barrier at the market but nearly ended up with two kilo of tomatoes rather than the two single ones I wanted!! Once I dropped my shopping off I went to Plaza Neuva for Churros and hot chocolate before doing the hop on/hop off train for an hour 20 min tour of the whole city. Headphones supplied with a running commentary. I've bought a two day ticket as it seems a cheap way to get about, some of those hills are steep and my foot is hurting😯 Once I'd done the full trip I poked around the side streets getting lost amongst the souvenir shops.

26 September 2017

Lovely to meet up with Cristina. We walked up to the San Nicolas viewing point for magnificent views over the Alhambra Palace. Lots of cobbled streets going uphill to reach the top. Once again those mountains amaze me. Albaycin, the Arab and Moorish Quarter was full of rich colours and scents as we walked back down. We stopped for Sangria and free Tapas half way down, meatballs and crisps.
I was a little early to go straight to the apartment but found it then went to a cafe for what i thought was a sandwich but was more like a pizza. I meet Lola ( the host's non English speaking friend!) who showed me around the most amazing home. Its so beautiful, tastefully decorated with a cute staircase (I'll try very carefully not to fall down it) Between the two of us miming various objects and instructions I'm now settling in.
The next leg of my adventure is about to begin. Firstly I found my way to Malaga bus station. I had to try out my Spanish asking where the bus station was. I got that bit right, quickly having to follow it with "no hablo mucho espanol" as the woman gave me quickfire directions! She then took me to the station herself!! I had a 30 minute wait while I befriended Asmina (from Turkey) over mutual confusion over which of the twenty buses would take us to Granada. Eventually (within the thirty mins) we found it and enjoyed the drive through the mountains and over viaducts.
A group shot of our walking tour-Explore Malaga

25 September 2017

Just about to tuck into my beautifully wrapped tropical tart! Yum!
Took a walk to Malagueta beach this afternoon (about 20 mins). Lovely to spend the rest of the day relaxing and reading a book. Tricky when you need both sunnies and reading specs on at the same time but I managed!! Also went for a quick swim in the sea... didnt spend too long in the water though as my bikini bottom is now too big for my super slimmed lower half and I could feel it slipping down haha! Stopped off for a four cheese pizza on the way back. Place was empty so no one to chat to other than Juan the waiter! (From Spain)
I found myself back at the cathedral, more by accident than design this time! Sat for a while listen to another street musician and the trickle of the fountain feeling the warmth of the sun, thinking lifes not so bad after all.
I wandered back towards the apartment along Larios, apparently the most expensive street in Spain, they liken it to 5th Avenue in NYC. Not so sure about that one but only three families own the property and because they dont want to ruin the buildings, all the apartments above are empty. There is a statue at the end of the street with The Marquis de Larios and a workman. The statue had been pulled down during the revolution and then just the worker put back up. Eventually they were made to put Larios back but in a mark of disgust they put him facing the wrong way so he couldn't look over his own street!
Took an early walk to The Mercado Central de Atarazanas (the market) but think it was too early -8.30am. Most of the stalls were still shut or only just beginning to open. So went for a croissant and jam breakfast in a sweet cafe. Also bought a little something for later. I'll reveal the package then!

24 September 2017

Ahh...it's 10.30 at night, just falling asleep and guess what? There's another marching band with a bunch of guys carrying another gold statue and more burning incense. Does this city never sleep?
I found a nice restaurant and had a Sangria along with grilled pork tenderloin, chips and veg.Very nice. Had a chat with Barbara and Sandy (from Wigan) on the next table. Then walked back via the Roman Amphitheatre and onto the ice cream shop for a caramel and chocolate egg cone. Relaxing at the apartment once again to the sounds of Patrick down on the street. I hope he doesnt go on to long... he's been through his whole repertoire a couple of times already!
I took a walk down to the harbour with a view to walking on down to the beach but the marching band and stroll distracted me so maybe I'll do the beach tomorrow. I'm finding my around the Old City easily now and pass a few familiar sights such as the Cathedral. The harbour area is called Muello Uno. Pretty much like Gunwharf but not!!! It's sunnier for a start! The coloured glass cube is The Pompidou Centre- the first international arts Pompidou centre outside Paris.
I heard more marching bands and thought it was another procession but seemed to be just a march to the church opposite. Have added a note to the first post about the procession
Enjoyed my siesta this afternoon. The guy was seranading me from below my balcony with Frank Sinatra and Van Morrison songs. Well....when I say me, he was actually busking. (Patrick from Denmark/Guyana)
After the tour, Yvonne (from Holland) and I went for a bit of lunch enjoying a sharing platter of ham and cheese. I strolled back to the apartment admiring some street art and sculptures. Apparently if you look at the sculpture you can see many profiled faces. The guy sat down is Picasso, who was born here.
As I ate my breakfast on the Plaza de la Constitucion I noticed Reps for a free Walking Tour of the city. I joined, then Javier walked a group of us for 2.5 hours around most of the tourist spots and gave us some excellent facts about the history of Malaga. We visited the Cathedral, the fortress with a lovely view over the harbour and tried some dessert wine. They're were about 20 of us altogether, a lot of different nationalities. Real good and its given me some prospective of where everything is.
So breakfast was Churros with hot chocolate dipping sauce.... the menu actually said it was a healthy option haha!!
After a pretty sleepless night I'm looking forward to a Siesta this afternoon. The flat is in a lively area with lots of noise. I think the Spanish are naturally a loud nation who party ALL NIGHT! Most people went off home around 5.50 when the bin lorries, street cleaners, bottle collectors and delivery lorries arrived along with much tooting of horns and shouting to their work mates! The flat is compact and basic (about the floor space of my living room) but laid out well with everything I need. I went for a little wander last night just picking up a take away. Looking forward to exploring today and finding a shop that sells earplugs!

23 September 2017

With the aid of Google Maps I walked the 15 minutes to where I needed to be and found myself in tbe middle of a Catholic Procession. I asked a few Spaniards what it was but nobody including Pierluigi ( the host )knew! The monks certainly looked as if the gold statue they were holding was heavy. Added Sunday 24th- it turns out it wasn't specifically a religious procession- it was the Fellowship of Gypsies. Next time it could be the Fellowship of Lawyers or Artists. They want to give thanks to God for what they have.
Great flight over. Chatted to a couple of women my age, travelling solo. I sat next to the dearest elderly lady called Rosemary who was going to visit a friend. After helping her get her luggage down and showing her to a taxi I found my way to the train station and bought a ticket for €1.30!!! How far would you get for that on an English train?!
On the plane at last! About a 45 min delay at the moment.
Suitcase is packed, research done. The books aren't coming with me because there are too many clothes in my case already!!