This past weekend I had the chance to spend the weekend in Granada, located in the province of Granada. I went with mis amigos (my friends), and we had a blast! It was a jammed packed weekend full of touristy things, but also packed with Spanish things too!
Saturday we arrived to Granada, all set to take this town by storm. We of course had plenty of time to putz around to eat tapas and shop! We ate at a Mediterranean restaurant that was OK (the service wasn’t too great…en serio (seriously) how many times does a girl have to ask for un vaso de agua (glass of water)?). Then we hit up the Arab flea markets that sold literally anything a person could want. There were beautiful fabrics for table runners, camisas (shirts), Aladdin pants (en espanol: bombachos), te (tea), y lamparas (lamps). We all went a little crazy for this stuff.
During the evening we visited the Corral Del Carbon, la Capilla Real, la calle alcaiceria (Another Arab market), el barrio del albaycin (a neighborhood with the classic white stuco walls), and the mirador de San Nicolas (an AMAZING viewing area of the Alhambra). One thing I learned about Granada is that there is no such thing as a flat street. Literally we walked up hill or down hill all weekend. My calfs are super jacked now.
Corral Del Carbon is the oldest monument left in Granada by the Arabs. It ws built in the 14th century and was originally a Coal yard. It was a storage area for merchants goods.
La Capilla Real, or the Royal Chapel, is located between a fish market, the Granada Catherdral, and the Church of Sagrario. This building was built for the royal family of Carlos V. Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand are buried there along with her daughter, Juana, and son-in-law, Felipe. The rest of the royal family has been moved to another church.
A funny story about Juana and Felipe. They are actually known as Felipe el Hermoso (Felipe the Good-looking) and Juana la Loca (Juana the Mad). Now you are probably wondering, “How in the world did they get those names?” Well, Juana was a known schizo and Felipe was a ladies man. Juana was so cray cray (American lingo for crazy) that she believed that her own ladies in waiting were having affairs with Felipe, so she ordered that their hair to be cut off. After that, Juana only allowed ugly women to serve in the palace.
It wasn’t until Felipe’s death that Juana truly embraced her nickname. She believed that Felipe would come back to life and had him put into two different coffins: a lead one inside a wooden one. She also had the bright idea to have him buried in the cathedral in Granada to buried next to her mother, Queen Isabel. So started the funeral procession, that only walked at night (she believed that an “honest woman should flee from the light of day when she lost her husband, who was the sun”). Sadly the procession never made it to Granada because Juana was institutionalized and officially declared mad.
Saturday night we had tiempo libre (free time) to grab dinner and do whatever we wanted. So like any other Spaniards we went out for tapas. In Granada, they do tapas the correct way. You buy a beverage and recieve a free tapa (tapa gratis), so the idea is to order a bunch of drinks to get a variety of tapas. Once we had sufficiently cleaned out the bar (hey now, they were 9 of us), we headed out for a night on the town. Which can only mean a Discoteca with a full night of dancing.
After getting in at 4 AM (That’s early for Spaniards!) we had to be ready bright and early for our 5 hours excursion to La Alhambra. Yes, I didn’t make a mistake, FIVE HOURS were spent there. It wasn’t 5 hours at a leisurely pace, it was 5 hours of let’s go through EVERY area as fast as we can. Although it was exhausting, the Alhambra was BEAUTIFUL. “La Alhambra” literally means “the red fortress,” (referring to the red clay that is found in that area) and was built by the Arabs during their occupation in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Once the Arabs were kicked out, the place was used by Christians and then by the Catholics. Since this place has changes hands, there is a lot of history…but it is most likely very boring to you all.
Granada was a beautiful city to visit. It is very different from Sevilla and has much more of an Arab influence that can be seen in the architecture, food, and way of life. I can’t wait to visit again, and maybe slow down (tranquilo enrique!) and really get a feel of the city!
Until next time! Hasta Luego!