We got up before the sun this morning to check our tickets at the main Alhambra ticket office when it opened at 8:00am and then be ready at the entrance to the Alhambra's Nasrid Palace at our scheduled ticket time of 8:30am. Now that we are more on Spanish time, the early wake up was a little painful, but it was way worth it to be in the very first group of people let into the palace.
We have seen a ton of awesome palaces and places of worship (in all forms) on our trip so far, but the Nasrid Palace really was outstanding. We could see why this is the most visited site in Spain.
Here are some of the bajillion photos that I took of at the Nasrid Palace and its surrounding grounds.
I was particularly impressed by the ceilings in the palace. They were really three-dimensional and reminded me of bundt cake pans in some ways. You could make a really cool looking bundt cake out of these ceilings!
The Nasrid Palace is the only part of the Alhambra that requires a specific timed entry, so we got to explore the rest of the Alhambra grounds at our leisure.
After the palace, we explored the terraced gardens, which had some great views of the city below and some pretty buildings with similar but not quite as impressive architecture as the Nasrid Palace.
From there, we ventured to the Alcazaba, which was an old fortress.
Next we saw the inside of the building that we had been exploring the night before. (We learned that it's called the Carlos V building.)
We ended our Alhambra exploring in the Generalife gardens, which were beautiful!
(I thought this fountain was silly enough to warrant a photo.)
At one point, I noticed that there were pomegranates growing above one of the covered walkways. Since Granada means pomegranate in Spanish, I thought this was quite fitting!
From the Generalife gardens, you get a good view of the rest of the Alhambra across the hill, which is pretty neat.
By the time we had seen all that the Alhambra had to offer, Dylan and I were beyond-hungry. When we got up in the morning, we had thought that we would grab some food somewhere along the way of our Alhambra touring. But we discovered that all of the food options in and around the Alhambra were way-overpriced and/or not very good looking. Knowing that there was a ton of good cheap food in town, we decided to go without until we finished our touring of the Alhambra.
It was around noon when we finally ventured down the big hill to town to get some food. We decided to try out a place called Papas Elvira that had amazing reviews on Google Maps. The place didn't look like anything more than a small shop with a display case and three little tables, but the food was incredible! We got two savory puff-pastry-things that are supposed to be typical of Andalusian cuisine along with freshly squeezed lemonade. One of the pastries was filled with chicken and the other was filled with spinach and beef. They flavors reminded me a little of the Morrocan food that I've had, but they were otherwise unique. Turns out I'm a fan of Andalusian food!
To round out our lunch, we went to another traditional tapas place that was filled with more locals than tourists. Here, we were served a very interesting but quite weird ham pancake thing on bread with our drinks.
Once our tummies were full, we started to realize how tired we were. We decided to fully embrace Spanish culture and take a siesta at our hotel. Post nap, we were energized and ready to go on a tapas crawl for dinner.
Instead of going to the same, main tapas area of town, we found a different part of town with well-rated tapas places to check out. Turns out that the river is much more picturesque in this part of Granada.
The first place ended up being the least successful. Our drinks came out with some soggy bagel sandwiches and fries that seemed microwaved. The good news was that things could only get better from here!
Next, we went to a wine bar that specialized in Vermouth, which is popular as a stand-alone drink here. We decided to give it a try! We weren't huge fans of the Vermouth but we liked the humus toasts that came with it.
Next, we ventured to the Minotaur Bar, which had just opened. This bar ended up serving a really good version of the tapas that we got at the first place. We got bagel sandwiches filled with pork along with chips and olives with our first round of drinks. Impressed by the tastiness of the sandwiches, we ordered a second round. The bartender gave us a plate of the same tapas with our second round. We thought that this probably was a mistake, but we didn't care since we liked them. But after we were part way through eating the second round of bagel sandwiches, the bartender gave us a whole new plate of food that was supposed to come out with the second round of drinks. This time we got mini hamburgers with chips. By the time we finished this third plate of food, I was stuffed! In total for the two of us, we spent about $25 dollars on drinks over the course of the evening and ate an entire meal's worth of food completely for free. I can really get behind this version of tapas!
Embracing the true vacation-spirit, we decided to get some ice cream to fuel us back up the hill to our hotel. We spent a little time enjoying the views on the hill before calling it a night.