Day 3 (December 15, 2012)   Arrival to Granada: Albayzin


Before   

     We must pick up our car this day, as early as possible, so we’ll leave the hotel to go to the airport as if we should take a flight.

   Once driving, we will cover the 270 Km of distance between Seville and Granada in approximately three hours.

Route from Seville to Granada

   The rest of the day is thought for visiting the city. Cathedral and San Nicolas viewing point, in Albayzin district, would be our first options.

After

   
   Today it seems is going to be a rainy day when we check the views of Betis’ stadium from the window of our room.

Betis' stadium views from our room

   Another big breakfast for a good starting and my wife, who couldn’t eat that much as myself, takes a sandwich to be eaten later on the road. It’s 10 AM when we check out and say good bye to such fantastic hotel.

Hotel Silken Al AndalusHotel Silken Al Andalus
















   Rain is soft when we’re waiting 34 in the bus stop for last time. Once in Prado we find easily EA’s bus stop, the one to the airport, because there is already one waiting for passengers. EA is white and its color differences it from the rest of Tussam buses, which are red. Touristic ticket is not valid here and we must pay 2.40€ each, as we already did when coming the day before yesterday.

34 bus stop close to hotelEA bus stop in Seville's airport
















   Once at airport I’m following the indications from Pepecar’s email to P24h parking but I finally need to call to locating the van which will take us to Goldcar office.

    Although I’ve hired the car from Pepecar it’s clear this is a deal between different companies as Pepecar’s logo and colors are not appearingFord Fiesta from Goldcar anywhere, instead, there is Goldcar and its corporate neon green everywhere.  The car rental is around 40€, from which II already paid 5, then I add the all-inclusive insurance, which is 30€ more, and it saves me from any responsibility, so no credit card deposit is needed. To the total price we must add the cost of a full fuel tank for which they charge me with 80€ more. This point must be well thought before rental if you’re planning not doing a lot of kilometers. I think we are going to use it, though. So finally we pay 153€ in total for 5 days, including fuel. By the way, they offer to get a diesel car by 2€ per day, which could be interesting if fuel prices were more different than they are now.

   We get a Ford Fiesta looking new which will be our travel partner until our last day and, just after 11 AM, we start with it by looking after taking A92 to Granada. It is well signed and we’re moving away from Seville with no issues.

   Landscape around us is full of olive trees well organized in rows, as if the land had been combed carefully, and white towns here and there. We stop in one of them at 12:30 PM in order of Eva can eat her sandwich and attracted by how beautiful it looks from the road. This is Estepa, a popular place for Christmas sweets.

Olive treesEstepa
















   We’re stopped in a gas station, but we see a store, which is also a factory, of these sweets called “mantecados” just across the street. A big sign is advertising the sale and we get into this big house just for checking. There is a row of people waiting for their purchases so we spend the time looking around as there are a lot more than “mantecados” here. We finally go out from there with two trays of these “mantecados”, a San Antonio’s pie, a Cadiz’s bread and three boxes of chocolates by 44.67€ and they gives a complimentary box of chocolates more.

   We’ve spent like an hour here and we go back to the road with the idea of reaching Granada with no more stops.

Driving to Granada

   Landscape changes a little bit when mountains appear, but showers are with us since we woke up this morning.

Town of Archidona from the road

   E902 goes all around Granada city except for its side in the mountain, so we follow it until our hotel at South. The trick is following the signs to “Sierra Nevada” and the hotel is finally seen from the road before leaving the city boundaries. We arrive at hotel at 3 PM and the room meets our expectations, nice.

   After a quick rest we take the car to go to Alhambra ticket boxes to get the tickets for tomorrow’s visit and we will go to Albayzin from there.

Alhambra's parking rates   We get Alhambra fast, as it is close to the hotel with indications in every step, and we get into the big parking composed by several stepped terraces. In the ticket box I’m told they don’t sell in advance but there is no problem for buying them tomorrow at any time we came as their maximum number of tickets per day is never reached on this period.

   When I’m waiting in a row in front of the parking machine for paying my brief stop I can see the average of the people coming from visiting Alhambra is around 10€ and I promise myself looking for a parking alternative for tomorrow. I pay 1.60€ by the 5 minutes we’ve been here.

   I can see indeed places where the car can be left before reaching the top of this hill. Tomorrow morning I’ll check them. Now I’m getting into Granada city itself and find a nightmare for drivers: the narrowest streets with no organization and a lot of one way streets making arriving to a specific place close to be a dream. Also, there is no way for parking the car in practically all the streets. So, when I finally reach the feet of the hill where Albayzin district is located we keep turning around looking for a place where leaving the car.
Square of Isabel la Católica
   Finally I decide to get a steeped stone street up signed as no way out. At least it is long and is getting closer where we want to go, but in every space a car can fit, there is already one. When we reach the end I find a narrow crossing where cars from three different streets meet. We only manage to get out of here thanks to a man who opens a fenced are where we have the space enough for turning the car around and getting the same street down now. Surprisingly, the narrow and long steeped street I used for coming is a two directions one.

   We notice this is a street with a lot of move, so cars are leaving and parking constantly. Fortunately we can find a space where leaving the car and we will be finally able of having our walk all around Albayzin as planned, although we’re going to need the umbrella as the soft rain never stopped.

Our car parked in AlbayzinWalking by Albayzin
















   This district is characterized by its white houses, narrow streets, the ground made with small stones and, as it is located over a hill, its views. We’re here because of this and we walk to “Cruz de Quiros” viewing point first, also known as “el ojo de Granada” (Granada’s eye).

Sign for "Granada's eye"
"Cruz de Quiros" viewing pointViews of Granada from Cruz de Quiros
















   This is just a preview of the lookout we really have come to visit, us and all the tourists here: San Nicolas. It is the popular balcony to Alhambra. We’re going to there now and we’ve left it to the end because we want having views at daylight, but at dusk too, when the monument is in lights.

San Nicolas viewing point

   Views are really amazing and you can see Alhambra in all its length. It is crowded but people here, generically, don’t stay. There is a constant movement of people coming and leaving: couples, groups with guide, lonely… everybody is looking for their idyllic picture here.

Views from San Nicolas viewing point
Bar Kiki in San Nicolas
   We spend some time after we’ve got our photos, but it’s clear there is still a while before the lack of daylight makes Alhambra to get in lights, it’s just 4:30 PM. We get into the nearest bar, called Kiki, where we take a couple of cokes by 2€ each. In this city all the drinks are coming with a tapa and we can enjoy a mix of eggs with mushrooms too.

   When we leave the bar we walk through these white streets exploring the district. We pass by the little square of San Miguel Bajo, which is quite close to the Cruz de Quiros viewing point.
 

Little square of San Miguel BajoLittle square of San Miguel Bajo
















   We come back to San Nicolas when we can feel the dusk is coming and lights are slowly appearing all around the city. But it won’t be until 6 PM when Alhambra will be covered by a yellowish aura to revive fantastic from the darkness of the hill it is located over.

San Nicolas viewing point at duskGranada's Cathedral view by night
















   We can leave now. We cannot visit more of the city today but the experience here definitively deserves it.

   We drive within Granada looking for a parking place for taking some dinner before coming back to the hotel and we will use an Auchamp supermarket parking area for this. Then we walk through the bull ring area and along a hospital to getting into a small restaurant, out of the touristic: Saloon “El Alamo”. We take the menu: soup and fish with a tapa of stuffed mushrooms. Everything was fresh and delicious by 8.50€ each.

   Now we can finally go back to hotel for getting the needed rest for tomorrow.