This morning we were up and waiting outside by 6.35am - in the dark - not sure of where the bus was going to pick us up. By 7.05 we were wondering if they had forgotten about us but the bus arrived just after 7.10 and we hopped on. It was a double decker bus and we were able to sit upstairs as there were only about 12 people or so already on the bus. It took us another hour to pick up everyone else on the tour and then we were heading to Granada. It was really good to be able to sit back and let someone else worry about the traffic and everyone else’s driving - but after spending the day with the wrinklies - we know why we don’t do the tour thing very often. Not only are they slow, they have to be told more than once what time and where to meet back, complain about how many stairs there are in the fortress and there is always one who is loud !!!!
Al and I napped a little on the way there as our early night which was supposed to happen last night didn’t as we downloaded the photos from the day and labelled and deleted those not staying in the albums. We stopped after about an hour of driving once everyone had been picked up which was great as we had not had breakfast before we left. Then it was about 40 mins later before we arrived at Granada. We walked to the cathedral and alcazabar before being left to wander around the Old Town by ourselves until it was time to meet for lunch. Once again, it was the little windy cobblestoned streets but the architecture was slightly different to what we had seen previously. A lot of use is made of painted tiles - used as frames around names, pictures, doorways etc.
After lunch at Hotel Carmen (a most sumptuous hot and cold buffet) we hopped back on the bus and were off to La Alhambre - what an amazing place. We were split into groups according to language spoken and our tour guide was Martin. We started in the gardens and then moved into the summer palace. After that we moved into the fortress and then into the Kings Palace. I have to admit that I am all cathedral’d, alcazabar’d and alhabre’d out now but, having said that, today was just fantastic. It was so educational listening the all that the guide had to say (when everyone could keep the noise levels down to an acceptable level) and I learnt so much. When you compare and contrast the difference in the buildings built by the Muslims and the Christians - the Muslims built to hide what they had whereas the Christians built to show off what they had. I just loved the running water that they had everywhere - little fountains about 2 inches off the ground which lead into little ponds - these are all fed from water that comes in via the original waterways off the mountains. This is the one way in which they keep the fortress and palaces cool during summer. If only we could incorporate it into our home. It is so peaceful and relaxing to hear and watch the water run. There are different rooms which are used during the different seasons - due to the fact that the temps get to between 40 and 45 during summer and -10 and -15 in winter - they used the rooms with high ceilings, small windows at the top and lower level rooms during the summer and the smaller, higher level rooms during the winter. I don’t know if they photos are going to do any of the places we visited today justice but once again, what we saw today will stay with us forever.
We got home at about 7.40 and as we drove past the laundromat saw that it was already closed (which considering he told us he closed at 8 to 8.30pm each night means that he told us a porky pie !!) so we weren’t able to collect our washing (hope we get back from Cordoba early enough tomorrow otherwise we may have to delay our departure to Alicante so that we can get our washing. Don’t think we would be able to manage another just over 2 weeks with the few clothes which aren’t at the laundromat !!!!
One thing that happens when you travel is you get to find out just how clever you are (or not !!!) at working out how toilets work - sometimes they put the lights on the outside and when it is on a timer, it can be a little difficult to manage once the light goes off if you haven’t finished !!!! The next thing is working out whether the door opens in or out and if the lock on the inside actually works. If you manage to get all those right, the next thing is working out how to flush the toilet - we have had a few laughs at how we eventually managed to work that out at times. After that comes how to get some water out the tap to wash your hands - it is automatic - do you push - do you pull - can you switch it off when you are finished or do you just watch it all wasting away down the drain. Drying your hands is not that easy either - again, is it automatic - is there a button to push - are there towels to use or do you just have to drip dry as you walk out the door. There is definitely more to travelling than just hopping on a plane and getting to your destination !!!!!
Tomorrow we are off to Cordoba to see whatever we can see there - I am sure that, like all the other day trips we have done, there will be plenty to do and we will once again come home happy travellers.
Tonight we went to the pizza place and had pizzas - they really are such good pizzas - I said to Al maybe I would order one tomorrow night when he goes back to have his gammon and pineapple again !!!!! When we went to pay they gave us a shot glass of Lemon Cello and tried to explain how it was made - from what we could gather (and what we felt after we drank it !!) they used alcohol (about 80% proof from what we tasted !!!!), lemon rinds and sugar - it lies for 3 months with the occasional shake and then they serve it chilled - well it certainly warmed me the whole way down and for the next 10 mins or so !!!! I was thinking on the way home in the bus that we could maybe sit and have a quiet drink tonight but the evening seemed to get away from us and it is already 10.30 and we still have to shower, do the photos and get to bed for another early start tomorrow.