We started out yesterday very early so we could drop off the rental car and get to our flight at the Barcelona airport. Our hosts at the lovely hotel served us breakfast before we left. It was quite the drive over the hills (mountains) to get to the freeways that took us to Barcelona airport. Unfortunately, on the way we got a message saying our flight had been cancelled. At the airport we stood in line for a long time to see what the next move was. The next flight out was at 8:30 pm! The airline gave us vouchers for lunch and dinner in the airport, and we were allowed to use a VIP lounge. The lounge was really just a large room with tables and hard chairs, but it was quieter than the main area and there was free coffee and soft drinks. We were not unhappy to have a quiet day although it would have been nice to get to Granada earlier.
We finally arrived at the hotel close to midnight. It is in a old part of town and the road are very narrow and confusing. But our beds were comfy!
Another early start to the day! I had booked timed entry tickets for Alhambra a World UNESCO heritage site. It is a massive royal residence and court complex, and includes a substantial fortress too. It was on the top of my list of things to do in Spain, so we got up at 6:15 and found a bit of breakfast and caught a bus up to the monument. The timed entry was for the Nasrid palaces: three palaces built for different Sultans in the 1300s.
The plasterwork, tile and general layout was exquisite. The whole complex is under constant restoration, and it was interesting to see just how much work goes into this sort of restoration. When the Catholic monarchs conquered the area in 1452, it became a Christian court. In the intervening centuries different kings and architects build over the original Nasrid buildings.
We got there before it opened at 8:30, so we all had a short night. Laura was a little out of sorts, but warmed up to it after a while. She seemed to really like the Alcazaba area which was the fortifications. The views were spectacular!
We arrived around 8 and were let into the complex at 8:30, so by 11:30 Laura was done (even after we fed her ice cream). The temperature was somewhere in the range of 35C so I was sympathetic. There was one more area I wanted to see, so we parked Laura on a shaded bench and did a quick march around the Generalife area which had some spectacular views.
We we all pretty exhausted, so we took the bus back to the hotel and found some lunch. (We were *very* happy we didn’t try to drive — the roads up to Alhambra were extraordinarily narrow and steep!)
Lunch was fun. We went into Restauranted El Molina, and had a two course lunch (with cervesa of course) of traditional dishes. These included gazpacho, sal morejo (a cold tomato cream soup with iberica ham and grated hard-boiled egg on top), and Ensalada Morena (or at least that’s what I think it was called — a potato salad with mayo, egg, orange, olives, peppers, raisins, and I’m not sure what else. For my main dish, I had fried anchovies which tasted a bit like fish and chips. The best part was the waiter helping us to say Spanish phrases and trying really hard to explain things in English. It was a kind of hole-in-the-wall restaurant, but it still had beautiful tile up the wall.
After a nap, we left Granada and spent 2 hours driving through acres and acres of olive trees (and high-speed rail infrastructure) enroute to Ronda.
We thought that we might as well spend the hottest part of the day in an air conditioned car, but the AC could barely keep up. Irving said the car temperature read 39C at one point. We got to Ronda around 6:30, checked into the hotel and drove around for a while trying to find parking. We ate dinner in another typical Spanish square surrounded by restaurants, and then went for a walk to the bull-fighting arena and the cliff area. By this time the temperature had moderated somewhat and was probably just below 30C.
The view from the cliffs.
The square that we ate dinner ate after our walk. We ate at the restaurant in the far left corner. There are many people on the streets at 9:30-10pm in Spain because the temperatures are tolerable again!