Friday, June 14, 2013

Granada and Los Cahorros

     One of the English teachers at my school is from Granada, and she told me about the Cruces de Mayo festival that occurs at the beginning of May. She recommended I go, and even said we could stay with her niece. Upon finding very cheap bus tickets there, Katie, Jack, Emir and I decided to go.
     The festival consists of building big crucifixes out of flowers, which are then placed throughout the city. There are other activities as well, such as music and traditional dance performances.

     The crosses were colorful, but the main attraction was the city itself. Long a melting pot for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, Granada has some of the best Moorish architecture in Spain. The old part of town is built on a hill known as the Albaicín, which consists of many narrow streets ascending to a point where one has incredible views of the famous Alhambra palace. Toward the bottom, there are some well preserved Arab baths that display beautifully carved geometric shapes in the ceiling. 

(Ceiling of an Arab bath) 

(Inside the Arab bath)

     Once at the top of the hill, the mirador de San Nicolás has the best view of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada behind. We didn't go into the palace this time around, because Katie and I visited on our trip to Spain three years ago, and the admission is a bit steep.

(The Alhambra)

     We were, however, treated at the mirador by a few gypsies playing flamenco outside of a bar. It was nice to see flamenco in a setting other than a concert hall, and they were good. 


 (Emir, Jack, Me, Lydia)

     Lydia later took us to one of her favorite tapas places, where you order a drink and get a free sandwich or various other generously portioned dishes. It was awesome, and the food was very tasty. 

 (Free with any drink)

     The next morning, we went hiking on a route suggested by the English teacher. It is called Los Cahorros and is only twenty minutes by bus from Granada. The place is beautiful and the trail leads you over a hanging bridge and along the Monachil river.

(Hanging bridge)

     We hiked for a few hours and had lunch by the river. I am always amazed by Spain's diversity, both cultural and geographical. Spain is only 1.2 times bigger than California but I'm convinced you couldn't see it all in a lifetime. 

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