Palace, Parade and Pastilla

Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Granada, Andalusia, Spain and Canary Islands

April 4

7:15 am:
On the bus, about to pick up the other group . Some of us are staying at 3-star hotels, and the others at 4-star places. I like to think of us as the steerage folks, similar
to the third class in Titanic. :) Actually, I like that we are picked up first, as we get better seats on the bus. And, our hotels so far have been in really great locations. The breakfast buffet at
NH Plaza de Armas was pretty fab – all kinds of juices (the broccoli one was sweet and very good), meats, breads, cheeses, little tapas-type-bread-bacon things, lots of fresh fruit, cafe con leche, etc. Spaniards/Latinos eat tons of bread. The older woman next to me
literally had an assortment of six types of bread/pastries on her plate, and she ate them all! Their systems must be used to it. Even if I'm not super hungry in the morning, I make sure I eat, as you never know when hunger will strike in Spain. The meal times are so
different than what I am used to.

We are already developing a cast of characters on this tour. I have gotten to know a couple in their 50s from Argentina, Helena and Raul . Raul looks so much like George
Lopez, that for awhile I was calling him George (to myself), but now I know his actual name. There are two teachers from Mexico who look like sisters, but are just friends. Eva and ??? Then there is a family of four from Cancun. I know the girls are named Diana and
MariAngela. The group of 7 from India (New Jersey) are really nice. The Korean mom is also super sweet. Her son is your typical Gen Y-er
(no worries, headphones always in ears). Then there are two couples, also from Argentina. One guy reminds me of my Grandpa Ed and his wife looks like Zsa Zsa Gabor, but without all the make up. Finally, we have this family of 5 – not sure where they are from, but it's a
couple and three teenage daughters. They are always dressed to the nines and in full make up.
Ok, nap time. :)

10:30 pm:Another full day - got settled in our rooms at the Hotel Alixares, then went on a tour of the Alhambra, which is a Moorish Palace from the 13th Century . It's pretty amazing. Our guide mentioned that almost 10,000 people visit it per DAY. It was very crowded, and tickets pretty much have to be booked in advance. After the tour, I took a cab into town and wandered a bit. Granada reminds me a lot of Morocco - it even has an area (Albayzin) that is Spain's oldest Moorish quarter. But another cool thing I got to see here was a live Holy Week procession. These literally last for hours and people crowd the streets to watch them. The floats are HUGE and carried by people underneath. Others march and wear hats (similar to the KKK, but NO connection) and there is also a marching band. As I was leaving the downtown area after dinner, they were still happening. Being Catholic, it was moving for me to see. The day ended perfectly with dinner at a Moroccan restaurant called Arrayanes. I had bastilla (soup) and seafood pastilla (one of my faves), with Moroccan mint tea. It reminded me how much I miss Moroccan food, but I was so glad I got to have some here.
Tomorrow, it's off to Valencia. We are there a night, then back to Barcelona, and then I fly home. I'm sad and happy about that fact....

Hasta Luego!
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aunt sandy

everything looks so amazing. I am so glad you are having such a wonderful time


i want to go next time

joe feliciano

what a fantastic holiday you are having!


These photos are breathtaking!


Yes, am having an amazing time! And yes, Emily, Alhambra was pretty awesome! Hard to describe. :)

Scott Bader

Who drinks coffee in a glass??