After our wonderful visit to the Hammam Al Ándalus Baths the night before, we spent the majority of Saturday afternoon exploring the Alhambra.
First of all, after breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to the Alcaiceria, the Arab Market near the cathedral. It is easy enough to find, but the entrances are not very obvious and you don’t expect to find all these little market shops when you walk past! The passageways are so narrow, so if it is busy it can be impossible to walk around. I’d recommend getting there around 9-10am and you’ll have the shops all to yourselves! There are so many shops all selling more or less the same things but it is worth having a root around to find anything that strikes your eye. Tea sets, leather bags, jewellery and lanterns are probably the best buys but there are some strange things like boomerangs and sombreros thrown in the mix that are not very “authentic”.
I ended up buying some lovely earrings for 4€ but other than that, it wasn’t my day for shopping there. There are a few high street shops nearby though and I managed to buy a small blue daysack for only 20€ which felt like a bargain, especially as it meant I no longer have to drag around my massive daysack for sightseeing which I mostly use for transporting my laptop when I am flying. I also found some Moroccan Mint tea I had been wanting since the Hammam!
At around 3pm we met up with Floorke who took us to a bar she likes near uni. The great thing about Granada is that if you order a drink, you will receive a free plate of tapas with it, so you don’t even have to worry about ordering any food! After a Fanta orange and a tinto de verano, we received portions of Paella Valenciana, pimientos de padrón and cod croquettes. It was so good.
Soon, it was time to make our way up to the Alhambra. We walked to the Plaza Nueva and caught the C3 bus for 1€20 to the palace. We considered walking there but soon realised how far/steep it would have been in the heat when the bus drove up there. I’d recommend getting the bus up because there is no point being all hot and exhausted before you have even started to look around!
We spent about three hours around the Alhambra which is the recommended amount of time to visit. Our ticket allowed us entry between 2-8pm, but we arrived around 4:30pm. In hindsight, with the Alhambra being so big, I’d say three hours isn’t enough! If you want to just see the main sights, sure three hours is plenty, but we really enjoyed taking in the amazing views of the city, marveling at the intricate designs on the walls and of course, taking many, many pictures and time just flew by. We didn’t manage to see everything which was a shame but we saw the main points of interest (Generalife, Nazrid Palace).
Important to note: You cannot buy tickets on arrival at The Alhambra. It is recommended to book several weeks in advance as it can sell out!
Our tickets included a time for when we were allowed inside the Nasrid Palace, (6:30pm). This is the only place where you have to go in at a certain time though.
Overall, I would say I prefer the Alcázar in Sevilla over the Alhambra. The Alcázar in Sevilla is of course a tourist attraction and it can get pretty busy, but it feels less spoiled, less of a “tourist trap”. Entry is much cheaper (2€ for students, not 15€ at The Alhambra) and there is no time limit on entry and you can spend as much time as you want there. You feel less rushed. Still, the intricate designs in the Nasrid Palaces at The Alhambra and the panoramic views over the city were absolutely spectacular – you can’t compare it elsewhere and it is a photographer’s dream.
That evening we had take-away lasagna at the highly-rated Cacho & Pepe on TripAdvisor which I’d recommend. It is small though and the menu can be limited. The weather was still lovely so we found a nice bench by a fountain to plough into the yummy food. I don’t know why, but I am a bit obsessed with Italian food here in Spain…!
The following Sunday morning we walked up to the Mirador San Nicolás which gave an incredible view over The Alhambra – it was well worth the climb! It wasn’t long though until we had to catch our coach back to Sevilla, to then eventually get our night coach back to Salamanca. 2am, driver’s radio blaring away trumpet music and all lights on, it’s safe to say I am glad I will not be traveling by coach overnight for a while! I thoroughly enjoyed my extended weekend trip to Sevilla and Granada and I only wish it could have been longer to see more of Andalucía, but it gives me an incentive to go back in the future (Córdoba, I’m looking at you).
After arriving back to Salamanca in the early hours of the morning, I was up early to prepare for my Skype interview a few hours later. I was quite worried how it would go with being so tired, but the interview went well as I have since found out I have been accepted for the role! I will be working as an Information Assistant during Intro Week in Sheffield in September which was excellent news.
The weather has since greatly improved here in Salamanca, and I am currently hiding in my room, away from the heat (and pollen which is especially bad today). At the weekend, my flatmates put out the summer furniture on our sun terrace and I have been making the most of it by sunbathing during the last few days! I love our terrace because we have a great view of the cathedral and it means I can sunbathe without even leaving the flat:
Now, it’s time to focus on uni work mixed-up with a bit of sunbathing until I finish my university obligations here on 26th May. I have also been busy ticking things off to do from my Final Five Weeks in Salamanca To-Do list – mostly just the food parts so far though!