Buenos Dias! We’re currently on the bus on our way out of Spain (momentarily!). We both had a great sleep on our first night in Granada to prepare for a big day of seeing the sights and getting day drunk to get free food.
We started off the morning with a pretty crappy hotel breakfast and then we set off for our free time add-on which was a tour of the Albaicín and the Royal Chapel. We drove up to the top of the Albaicín as we were walking down it to arrive at the Royal Chapel at the end. The Albaicín is a neighbourhood in Granada that is made of winding narrow streets with Moorish style architecture. It also has the most famous views of the Alhambra.
The Moors (or the Moops for you Seinfeld fans) controlled Granada for a significant amount of time and therefore you can easily see their influence on the city to this day. The streets were beautiful.
We entered the Royal Chapel after our stroll through the Albaicín where the crypt of Isabella and Ferdinand and Joanna the Mad and Phillip the Handsome is. You get to walk down into the crypt to see their coffins which is actually really cool because they changed the course of history and are the reason Spain is as it is today. There is also the ornate money box Isabella got the money from to give to Christopher Columbus to sail westwards.
After our visit at the Royal Chapel we had a few hours of spare time and we planned to use this time to drink and eat free food. We found a bar suggested by Devour Tours called La Sitarilla. It didn’t open until 1pm so we chilled in a nice square for a while and wandered over there just after it opened. Tinto de verano is the local drink here, not sangria which only exists in Spain for tourists, which we were happy with because it’s so refreshing and for me (Aimee) much better than sangria.
We ordered our first tinto de verano and after not too long were brought a plate each of our first tapa. It was a plate of pork stew with a rich meaty sauce and fries and bread to soak it all up. It was so tasty.
We ordered another drink and the best thing is you get a new dish with each drink. This time we got something we would never eat at home – anchovies. They were lightly battered and fried, sprinkled with salt and served with a slice of lemon. I actually really loved this dish, eating the majority of them because Ronnie liked them but didn’t love it like I did.
We ordered a third tinto de verano because why not! Our third tapa was a plate of fries and croquetas which had jamon serrano in them. We had been quite disappointed with the croquetas we had tried up to this point but these were by far the best. They had a good texture and were very flavoursome – something I don’t think we found in all the other ones we had tried. They were also served with a couple of Padron peppers.
We were feeling the effects of the wine by this time but had the time for one more drink and didn’t want to stop eating so we ordered more tinto de verano. Our final plates of free food was an individual plate each of meatballs (pork we think) with a rich mushroom flavoured sauce and fries and bread. This was a burst of flavour and the perfect end to our tapas lunch stop.
We absolutely love the Granada way of getting free food with drink orders. If we weren’t very much day drunk by this time and going to see the Alhambra which is unmissable we would have stayed for many more hours. Finally it was time to settle the bill for the drinks. Well we received 8 drinks and 8 portions of tapas (some shared and some individual) and paid just under 18 euro!! That’s about 29 Aussie dollars. What a deal!
It turns out that a harsh European heatwave was starting today and by the time we left the bar it had well and truly started – about 35 degrees. It was about a 20 minute brutal walk to the hotel where we laid for about half an hour in the air conditioning trying to sober up for our included trip to the Alhambra.
We got to the Alhambra which is a massive and beautiful complex. It was established by one of the Muslim rulers of the Emirates of Granada as a fortress that was later owned by the sultan and even later taken by the Christians in the Reconquista. There is a lot of history in this place.
Not only does it contain a lot of history but it is absolutely spectacular. It is an enormous and beautiful complex with garden, fountains, animals and beautifully designed rooms. It also sits atop a mountain so the views from all around are excellent.
We found this difficult (as did most of the group) because it was so hot at this point and it was a lot of walking because it is huge and lots of it was outdoors. This lasted 2 hours and the buildings and gardens were just beautiful.
We headed back to the hotel after this. Ronnie was starting to get a sore throat which is not looking good. We decided to go to a pharmacy and get some meds and then went back to the same bar we went to for lunch for a few more Tinto de Veranos and free tapas. They were the same tapas which was great. We gobbled them down and took a cab home. By this point Ronnie said that he was feeling pretty horrible which is a shame – almost made it to the end without getting sick.
We are very sad to be leaving Granada but we are on our way to Sevilla via Gibraltar. Vamos!
- Cookies – €10
- Optional “Albaicín guided tour” – €38
- Tapas lunch and drinks – 18€
- Medicine – €11
- Tapas and drinks dinner – €9