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I'm an Aussie who likes wandering all over the world but keeps coming back home to paradise and my family. If you are reading this on one of my travel blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you are reading the Diabetes and weight loss blog - I hope it helps in your battle with the beast. Cheers, Alan

Friday, October 13, 2006

Madrid and Granada

Travel Dates May 2006 and April 2003

Before we cross the border into France, it seems the right moment to go back in time a little to 2003, when we first visited Spain and saw Madrid and Granada.

We only spent two nights in Madrid, as a rest point after crossing the Atlantic from the Caribbean. I visited the Prado of course, and took one of the hop-on hop-off buses around town, but my main interest was Granada and the Alhambra. So we went by train to Granada, a pleasant six-hour journey.

The flat in Granada was great, inexpensive and on the Calle Elvira, in the Albaicin (the old Moorish district) and walking distance to the center of everything. It even had a washing machine - but no dryer. We were there for five nights, over Easter. I'll post separately on the Alhambra.

We spent our time wandering around the town by foot and by bus. The little Albaicin bus was terrifying - careering through the narrow streets around blind corners and through tiny gaps without seeming to ever slow down. I suppose the locals know - but it made me very wary when we wandered on foot.

Lorraine enjoyed checking out the street bazaars next to us in the old Arab section, and the shops in the plaza behind the cathedral.

We saw the bull-ring, but at the time there were no events. I doubt I'd have gone if there were. I respect the customs of other cultures - but I don't have to join in all of them.

Granada is really two cities - the old and the new. We liked exploring both, and I particularly liked the Spanish "Tapas" system. Not like at home but where you buy an inexpensive glass of wine and get tapas snacks included with each glass. A wonderful way to have a light lunch or afternoon snack.

When I booked, months before, in my ignorance I didn't realise what a fortunate accident it was that my plans had us in Granada at Easter. Nor did I realise how lucky we were to get an inexpensive flat that was right on the processional path.

We saw the preliminary processions at dusk. It was hard to get through the crowd, but still very impressive. Then we had dinner, went home, and eventually to bed. We were woken at 1 am by drums, cymbals and trumpets, seemingly right under the balcony. When we checked - they were!

Cheers, Alan

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