Hola! The adventure continues down south in the gorgeous city of Granada. When I first arrived, I immediately noticed the Arabic influences. My hostel was located in the heart of the city, down an alley lined with Arabic shops and hookah lounges. If I had more backpack space, I would have loaded up on trinkets. They were selling beautifully coloured purses, small zip bags, and home decor.
Granada is most famously known for The Alhambra palaces. Built in the 9th century, it used to be a fortress which was then renovated into a palace. Let me tell you, this place was ginormous! I left at 8am and didn’t finish exploring the grounds till 6pm. I believe there were 4 mini palaces + a billion gardens so be prepared to do a lot of walking. Food was pretty terrible and expensive up there so I packed my own and had me a grand ol’ picnic. In every city I visited, picnics became the default style of eating.
Pro tip: They limit the number visitors per day and you can’t buy tickets online. Instead of waiting in long line ups at the palace, Visit the official Alhambra shop located in the city, at the base where you begin your trek up the hill to the palace. They have a little ticket machine and very friendly staff who will help you though the buying process.
I stayed at Oasis Backpackers Hostel which I would highly recommend. They had great dinner specials, central lounging areas where everyone convened in the evening and best of all, clean facilities! While it was a great place to stay and meet people, there was no air conditioning – yea I either wake up to a pool of my own sweat or the loud rumble of fan that circulated the hot air. Gosh, I hope they fixed that.
One night with some hostel folk we went for a flamenco show which I though was pretty cool but apparently according to others, they’ve seen better. Afterwards we hit up Bar Poe which is a must-visit. It’s owned by a British man that serves tapas for free(!) when you order a drink. Uhhh win-win situation! Well traditionally speaking, when you order a drink, tapas are supposed to be complimentary.
After many glasses of sangria, one girl and I split off from the group and we were determined to find this local hotspot where you could view the Alhambra all lit up and pretty in the night. Of course, we got lost. This place was apparently a local secret and not a lot of tourists go there so finding it took some help from some locals we met along the way. In hindsight, it did seem a bit sketchy having two young guys lead us though narrow paths in the residential areas but thankfully we did end up getting there safely without being mugged. At this point it was probably 11pm and there were families with young children still out and running around, people were chilling out, playing guitar and couples were making out. That view though, wow. You could see all of Granada, the stars, and of course, the big Alhambra palace all lit up in it’s glory. Sandy and I shared life stories and it turned out she was the same age as my sister, 10 years older than me. We chatted about relationships, career, travels, home and gave me lots of perspective on life. You know those nights where you just know will be the highlight when you look back at the trip as a whole? Yea, this was one of those nights.
Granada has earned its spot on the list of my favourite cities. What really made my experience so great was largely attributed to the people I met and chose to hang out with. And of course the cheap drinks and kickass tapas – you wanna buy a jug of sangria for a dollar? Sangria for everyone!!