Granada and Malaga
September 27, 2013
Dinner last night was probably the worst meal and service since we arrived in Spain. We ended up in a tourist area, big mistake. After dinner we were walking around on a few small side streets and found this wonderful wine bar, for a nightcap. They also served food and it looked great. We woke up early this morning, had an early breakfast, with plans of starting our trip to Granada before the traffic. We pulled out of the parking garage and started the GPS, no signal! We thought it might be the tall buildings, so we tried riding around looking for a spot to pull over. There are no places to pull over in Spain, when you are in a city. We finally pulled into a bus stop and finally managed to reset the navigation system and the signal came back. If we lose the GPS, we will leave the car in place and fly back from wherever we are. The ride to Granada was very interesting. You pass through farm land before you start to rise through the mountains. The highest point on the GPS was a little over four thousand feet but the top of the mountains were around six thousand and there were some patches of snow here and there. We arrived in Granada around 1:30 and tried finding our accommodations for the evening. If we thought the streets in some of the cities were small, these were even smaller. The traffic was busy and there were motor scooters darting in and out, just to make things more interesting. We gave up on finding the pension and decided on lunch. We found this hole in the wall restaurant and had a magnificent meal. Annette had the fish and I had the piaya, again. After lunch we called the pension and Christian came to meet us and take us to his parking garage. The short walk to the pension was down winding cobblestone walkways. Christian is the owner and he migrated from Germany back in the 80’s. The room was very nice and had wonderful views of the courtyard. The pension is located in the old Quarter, Albaicin district, which is around two thousand years old. The Romans came, then the Muslims and then the Spanish. Some say the French were here at some point but they surrendered before the war started and went home. When you left the pension and walked down the alley, you were engulfed in Arab shops, selling everything from jewelry to water pipes. There were many small cafés where you could indulge in Arab food and try out a water pipe or two, if you had the mind to. It’s a very interesting area and a must see if you are in Granada. We visited many of the historical sites in the town and even attended a mass at the Catedral and the service was in Latin. We didn’t make it to Alhambra but will try and do that on a separate trip. Tickets are scarce but if you show up at 8am, they have tickets for sale. We walked the back streets and ended the night stopping for wine and tapas before heading back to the room for the evening.
September 28, 2013
Some side notes. They have more roundabouts in Spain then anywhere in the world. We drove into a roundabout today, that connected to another roundabout. Parking is almost impossible in the cities, unless you use a parking garage. Small cars are better because the spaces are made for scooters. You do need cash because many of the cafés and stores have a minimum charge, if you use a credit card. The food and beverages are very reasonable and very good. Many of the hotels do not provide wash cloths. I read that somewhere before we left but forgot to include a few in our luggage.
The ride from Granada to Malaga was very nice. Coming down out of the mountains there were many spectacular views. There were rugged hillsides with farms growing crops and grapes. We did come across several wind farms dotting the landscape here and there. Christian had recommended that we take the road less traveled to Malaga so we headed south and drove the coast. We stopped for lunch at an English tennis club. They have one court that is somewhat smaller than a tennis court and it is closed in on the sides with glass. It’s a combination of racket ball and pickle ball. They use a smaller paddle and it’s very interesting, as you can play the ball off the walls. From there we headed for our timeshare. The address they provided took us to a pub, it must have been fait. One of the patrons, who was slightly tipsy, managed to give us directions close to where we needed to be. From there, another gentleman in a delivery van showed us the way to our hotel. The man on duty at the timeshare did confirm that the address was incorrect. Don’t ask! Timeshares are like chocolates; sometimes you get one that is not the greatest. But, we are here and settled in. We did some quick shopping and then spent the night on the patio, sipping wine, eating cheese and ham flavored potato chips. Doing the laundry was interesting. One machine finished in little over an hour and the other machine just stayed on the wash cycle for 3 hours. Annette finally managed to retrieve the cloths and hung them on the deck to dry. Well tomorrow is another day.
September 29, 2013
We set off for the old town part of Malaga this morning. It is another nice day with temps in the 80’s and partly cloudy. We are starting to get smart with the parking. Get to where you are going and find a parking garage and then walk. The tour of the old city was very interesting. The cathedral is a work in progress. It started during the gothic period on the old mosque of the Arabian city and is still unfinished today. The Alcazaba was the highlight. It was built in the 11th and 14th centuries and was a fortress built on the remains of a Phoenician fortress. At the bottom of the fortress is the Roman Theatre built in the 1st century AD. They are still doing excavation on the sight today. After a cold beer and some tapas we headed back to the ranch for some shopping and a quick snooze. We headed to the beach for dinner at a steak and fish restaurant. The dinner was great and we met some folks from Holland, Germany and Scotland. It was a fun night with lots of laughs. We are back at the hacienda for a nightcap and a good night sleep.
Annette and Bob