Blending the old with the new.With the Sierra Nevada dominating it, Granada stands proud and timeless in what is now the Province of Granada in Andalucia, southern Spain. Approaching from the south you are treated to a backdrop of the snow-capped (if you are lucky) mountains as you travel through the newer and more modern part of the city.
We have visited Granada more than once as part of our recent frequent visits to Nerja on the coast. This period of rejuvenation in the warm sunshine and sea breezes of the Mediterranean Sea have helped us to re-focus in the hurly burly of life.
On our first visit to Granada, we were fortunate enough to be able to see something of the city as well as the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens. Now, the booking system in place means that you have a timed slot for the Alhambra Palace which could make it difficult to do everything in one day.(Saga now offer the Alhambra as an optional tour and the representatives, who live in the hotel, organise the trip around the time-slot.)
Everything in one day? We have visited four times now and still not seen everything.
As you walk into the centre of the city along the wide tree-lined boulevard, where old mingles with the new, you will find a wonderful modern department store called El Corte Ingles which has always proved to be a good meeting place as well as a good place to part with a few Euros. A little further along is the historic centre with the Cathedral and Royal Chapel where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella are buried.
Meander along and, rounding a corner, you happen on a collection of ancient, narrow streets huddled together to form a bazaar type of market The golden, mellow stone is welcoming. The collection of shops, and goods on display hanging from every available space, take you back in time.
Round another corner and you come to streets where the buildings rise high into the sky - the balconies giving a taste of how life was lived in times gone by,
Venture into the main thoroughfare and on one intersection, with traffic zooming around, is a huge monument depicting Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus as she hands him the letters of authority to go out and discover the New World. This, you must understand, was in the fifteenth century.
Along the riverside are tree-lined walks and seats to rest your weary legs. There is so much to see and Granada is very easy to explore but it is hard to get a flavour in a few short hours. The answer is the very new City Tour Train.
This is a greatly updated version of the 'Little Train' which you see in so many tourist spots. It has been built specially for Granada and the narrow streets of the old quarter - the Albaycin. If you have already visited the Alhambra Palace, you will have a different perspective as you trundle along the wooded hillside paths with the fantastic views over the city. With about eleven stops and a hop on-hop off system it is a fantastic way to get around the city. Follow the link above to read more about this fantastic city.
Read more on Granada and other parts of Andalucia in ORANGES: A Journey which, although a fiction story,is based on real settings.