After filling our gas tanks and a quite disappointing shopping stop at Aldi we took the coast road for about 40 miles almost to Motril. We then turned left and drove almost another 40 miles across mounteness roads, over countless viaducts, through many tunnels through mountains to get to our next stop inland at Granada. This route, which was twice the distance we needed to travel, was so worthhile. We were crossing the Sierre Navada. What an engineering feat these roads are and how on earth do you build a viaduct hudreds of meters above the ground. The views are breathtaking and Elaine kept saying to me to keep my ees on the road. Thank goodness that the old bus does brilliantly well going up these inclines even where there is an even sharper slope. Everywhere you see wind socks, and accompanying warning signs of high winds and wind turbines are everywhere and there is no way we would travel if it was blowing hard.
We found the site at La Zubia quite easily after driving through the outskirts of the huge city of Granada. Although we were expecting the site to be in a village: the village turned out to be a town which looked as though it was worth a visit in its own right. So we settled down to a relaxing sun bathing session and Elaine tried to take a siesta but was unable to sleep because of the tuneless whistle of the Belgian from the next pitch. Rather than cause an international incedent then nothing was said .
Wednesday 29th October
The buses to Granada ran every 1/4 of an hour so we paid our €1.50 each and headed in for a tour of the city and to find out how to get to the world famous Alhambra which we intend to visit Thursday. The modern part of the city was worth seeing but the high rise flats everywhere and vast shopping areas did nothing for us. Even when we got to a touristy bit there were normally flats and stores around making it almost impossible to get a decent photograph. Beggars were everywhere and maybe they had learnt from our Belgian how to put on a miserable face to try to extract a charitable contribution. When we got to the outskirts called Sacromonte and Albayzin then suddenly everything changed and we were in a very old part of the city with very, very narrow streets rising up the hills around the city. This is where many dwellings are cut into the rocks and in some of these caves gypsies started the origonal Flamenco dancing that Spain is famous for and you can still see it performed in some of these caves. We climbed up and up until we came across the perfect place to photograph the 13 th century walled Alhambra. On the way down we went to an area of narrow streets with shops ran by folk from Tangiers and the smells from the spice sellers and the hubbub in and around the shops made this a very exciting part of our walk.
We caught the bus back and then went into La Zubia to explore that as well. Once again we have walked all day and it is not surprising that with the temperatures here we both look a lot leaner than when we started this trip.
We are now finalising the details of where we will take our long winter break. We have decided on a campsite outside Alicante at a fishing village called El Campello and are just in the process of booking a 40 square meter pitch and the details of the campsite look very good. Our friends, Tom and Jo who are in Portugal at the moment are also booking there and they will join us when their stop ends. As their very smart VW van is quite a bit smaller than our motor home then they have decided to take a four birth cabin there. They are in a cabin where they are now and Jo keeps telling us about the sheer luxury of having a double bed , running water and not having to empty out the tanks periodically. Once everything is settled then I will post the web site of the campsite. We will still be City visiting as we intend to travel by bus, coach and train and all four of us have talked already about going for a few days to Barcelona for instance.
Thursday 30th October
So today was set aside for our visit to Alhambra. We knew we were in for a lot of walking today so we took the sat. nav. so we could walk directly to the attraction and not round and round the streets like lost sheep. I even bookmarked where we got off the bus so we could walk directly to the stop after our tour. A cunning move which we will now repeat at any other cities we visit in the future. We were actually walking around as though we knew where we were going. We could have pre booked our visit but decided to turn up and queue for our tickets. All around the guards all had hand guns, long wooden truncheons and hadcuffs attached to their belts. The nice uniformed chap directing our queue had an extra little addition on his belt. A series of small loops holding bullets and there were so many that even Clint Eastwood starring in a Spaghetti Western would have run out of ammunition before this chap. The rule there is that you have to wear any bag or haversack in front of you. If he had said you have to walk on my hands through out the whole thing then I would have done.
The Alhambra is a 13th century massive fortification area that towers above Granada and is full of exquisitely designed palaces when it was in
the hands of the Moores and the Arabic princes. Arabic script was all over and everywhere you could see the intricate tilework and plaster work. The gardens were perfectly manicured and although there was quite bit of colour from the flowers and bushes you could imagine how much better it would have been in the Spring and Summer months. The views from the castle walls and towers over the massive city below and the countryside all around, all the way to the mountains that surrounded the whole area was stunning, made all the better because of the beautiful day.
Thank goodness we did not see anyone shot whilst we were there and after seeing all there was to see we walked down the long road through the gardens to get to the city and then directly to the bus stop for our ride to the campsite. This has been a great few days here and tomorrow we move on again to Baza which is about 1 1/2 hours from here to visit Brenda and John who have been friends of Elaines for 41 years.