This morning, we said goodbye to our beloved beach town of Nerja and drove through some more scenic areas to Granada. We went through a bunch of tunnels along the way. I was entertaining myself by holding my breath as we drove through them, but I ultimately had to stop after the fifth or sixth one in a row since I was getting light headed.
Our main reason for coming to Granada was to see the Alhambra, which is the most visited national site in Spain. When we were looking for places to stay, we were stoked to find a very affordable hotel that seemed to be right next to the Alhambra. Turns out, our hotel is practically located on the Alhambra grounds! We couldn't use the walking path from our parking lot to the hotel that Google Maps suggested because it required Alhambra tickets to enter.
After navigating some paths that didn't require tickets, we made it to the hotel and checked in. The tickets that we had bought in advance for the Alhambra were for the next day, so we decided to check out the city, which as it turns out is down a giant hill from our hotel and the Alhambra. (We think this is why our hotel was actually pretty affordable - getting back to it required quite a hike.)
We walked by a big fountain and entrance way to the Alhambra on our way into town. Once in town, we checked out Granada's Cathedral and some of the statues in town. On the way, we also bought tickets to see a flamenco show in the evening! According to some people, Seville is the home of flamenco, but others consider Granada the birthplace of flamenco. The timing didn't work for us to see a show in Seville, but Dylan said he was game to buy tickets to see a show with me here in Granada.
At this point, we were hungry, so we decided try out the tapas culture that Granada is known for. Unlike a lot of places now, Granada does tapas the old-school way - where you get a free tapa with every drink you buy. At most places, you get no say over what comes out. The restaurant chooses something different for you with each successive drink. We went to a really busy, traditional-style place that had giant iberico hams hanging from the ceiling. Dylan got a copa de cerveza and I got a tinto verano. And a plate of tasty veggie rice came out with the drinks!
After eating our rice standing at a bar, we decided that a little more relaxed approach to the rest of our lunch was in order. So we picked up some kebabs from the well-rated Kebab King No. 1 shop and walked to a nearby park located on the river running through town.
The river wasn't very picturesque, but the park was ok and we found a nice shady bench to eat what turned out to be pretty good kebabs and do some reading.
After reading and relaxing in the park for a while, we still had time to kill before our flamenco show at 7:30. So we decided to take another stab at tapas. A lot of places were closed since Spanish dinner time isn't until 8pm, but we found that one of the well-rated tapas places that specializes in seafood was open and had seats at the bar for us!
Here, we ordered cañas (Spanish slang for a small beer), which came with a mixed fried seafood plate, which was pretty good - although eating whole fried sardines was a little intimidating. After round one, we decided to go for another. This time, we got fried zuchini drizzled with balsalmic vinegar. Thoroughly embracing the excitement of tapas at this point, we ordered one more round and were rewarded with really tasty clams! It was probably a good thing that we had to go to our show at this point. Otherwise, we might still be sitting in the Diamontes Bar ordering tapas.
Our flamenco show was in a really small venue that only sat about 30 people. (Flamenco is supposed to be a pretty small-scale, intimate performance.) Dylan and I were brave enough to sit front and center, so we got a great view of the small stage.
The show ended up being awesome! I had listened to a Duolingo podcast in Spanish about flamenco before our trip, so I knew a little bit of what to expect, but Dylan was totally suprised by the intensity of the clapping and stomping with the music and dancing.
At the very end of the show, the house lights came on and we were allowed to take photos and videos. Here is a taste of Granada's flamenco!
The energy and excitement we had from the show helped carry us up the giant hill back to our hotel. As the sun started to set, we did a little exploring through one of the Alhambra courtyards that wasn't blocked off to wandering tourists. It was quite beautiful!