Day 21 continued:
We arrived in Granada as the sun was setting, but still had to make it into the city center to find our hotel. This was my first time driving in Europe, and I felt like it was a good place to be initiated. I had to take on massive roundabouts as my sister directed me towards our hotel. As we got closer, we realized that we had no clue where to park, as parking on the street was not an option. Instead, I took us down extremely narrow one way/ one car cobblestone roads that were constantly plagued with people blocking the way. We were laughing out of discomfort at one point because we had no clue what to do. We found a parking garage that was nearby, but it was full so we had to move on. We opted for a new plan. I dropped my sister off in front of the hotel, so that she could inquire about our options. I continued to drive around.
Progress was made. Shortly after my solo drive around the town, my sister was standing on the street corner and directed me to the recently vacated parking spot just outside the hotel. From there, one of the hotel receptionist took our keys and our car and parked it for us. We had to pay extra for parking then, but it was worth it since we didn’t have to deal with it any longer.
We got checked in, and dragged our pile of luggage to the escalator, and to our room. We needed to go grab some dinner, but first we had to layer up. It was very chilly outside, and neither of us were prepared. After a quick prep session, we were down on the streets in search of food. We ended up at La Antigualla III, a tapas restaurant and bar. At this point, I was pretty worn down, and the overwhelming sounds from the surrounding crowd (it was packed), were enough to put me over the edge. I just wanted to eat and get out of there. Meanwhile, my lively little sister was loving it! We proceeded to order a few things, and I will say that I had the best spring rolls of my life here! They were so good, that I ordered two rounds.
We finally were able to leave, and decided to head back to the hotel; not just because we were tired, but because it was freezing! When we got back to the room, each of us was trying our best to purchase tickets for Alhambra online. We were having no success so we decided that we wanted to be up early to try to get to the ticket office in hopes of getting potential spares.
We were up bright and early. We did our best to get ready in a flash so that we could head out in search of tickets because we needed to be there a little before 8AM to beat any potential rush. We figured out where the ticket office was, but we arrived too early, seeing as no other ticket hunters were there. We walked up and down the street to kill time, until just a few minutes before. We had been told that the tickets sell out quickly, so we wanted to be the first ones in. We succeeded at that, but were caught off guard when we saw that tickets were completely sold out through May (we were there in March).
We had no idea of what else to do, but we needed to get cleaned up first. We headed back to our hotel, and showered and primped. We were starving, and had no idea what to do with our day, so breakfast became the priority. We ended up at a small cafe where we proceeded to order paella and pizza. Some breakfast, right? I guess, eggs just didn’t sound very appealing.
As we sat and discussed the possibilities of our day, we decided that we would wander the city and the markets. …and so, we did just that. All day we wandered through the small city streets while exploring the market shops along the way, and stopping in and out of bars for drinks and snacks. As the afternoon began to set in, we decided on getting henna from one of the gentlemen along the way. We had so much fun with it. It was my first time, and I fell in love with the beautiful design that was painted on my arm. From here we did our best to let our arms sit and dry, but we were incredibly impatient. We made our way into a small shop and found some lovely ceramic treasures here. We did our best to operate with our single bare arm and hand as we picked up our treasures, sifted through our money, and took our bags.
Shortly after, we headed over to a bar where we got some delicious tapas and drinks… It was a great way to relax while our henna continued to dry. My sister was much better at not smudging hers. I smudged mine a bit in two spots, but it was hardly noticeable in the end. With our stomachs full, in addition to our hands, we decided to head back to the hotel for a little bit to drop things off and relax. With our henna mostly dry we started to peel it off (which you aren’t supposed to do). We were in love with our results. It was so beautiful, and fun.
We rested for over an hour when our hunger began to take over once again. We needed food, and fast! We had heard about a take-away noodle joint in the city, and we made it our business to track it down while have intense conversations about family and life.
Once we found PadThaiWok (yes, it is supposed to be all crammed together, like that). We took our noodle dishes to go in boxes, and made our way to a fountain on the main road. We sat just across the street, and watched as people and cars made their way around. The sound of the water and the glowing statue in the center of it made for quite the ambient setting. We were able to reset our bodies and minds before recommencing our evening stroll through the city. We found the beautiful Granada Cathedral, and had no problem making our way around.
With the extremely cold air setting in, we had no problem wrapping things up. We headed back to our room to get some R&R before our next day began.
We woke up quite early, got showered, and packed everything up, just to leave it by the hotel room door. Our mission was to find breakfast, so we headed back out onto the city streets. It was so cold. I couldn’t help but think of how unprepared I was for the frigid weather. We found our way into a small square just near the market we were planning to visit. From here we hopped over to Gran Cafe Bib-Rambla for a quick breakfast. Eggs, toasts, bacon, tea & coffee made its way to our table while we watched the locals eating churros or tomato spread on bread… SO MUCH BREAD!!! We did or best to eat quickly as the one man show (aka waiter) memorized orders, shouted them at the two ladies cooking, and acrobatically maneuvered stacks of food on to the waiting patrons. It was more than just breakfast, it was an entertaining show.
With breakfast wrapped up, we headed out to the market, but most the shops were still closed, and most of what we were seeing at the few that had opened was what we had been seeing prior to that morning. We decided not to waste anymore time, but to head back to the hotel & begin our next journey.
We checked out, and had the concierge grab our car. Within 5 minutes we were loaded up, and back on the road. We were headed to Rhonda, the beautiful small town tucked away in the mountains.
…to be continued…