I was having a bit of a quarter-life crisis. As my social media timeline flooded with photos of babies and weddings, I considered doing something that I could do just because I was completely unattached…travel! I booked a ticket to Spain to visit my friend who moved abroad due to her own need for something new. We met in Valencia during the infamous Las Fallas Festival. We partied all day and night surrounded by fireworks, stumbling new comrades and parades.
After the last day of Fallas, we took the train to Granada. We arrived in the quaint city early in the morning and immediately went on a search for breakfast. The city is walking-friendly, and there were restaurants at every corner.
There are cobblestone pathways everywhere and friendly people who look happy to be there. We settled on a restaurant in the main square, Plaza Nueva, where we could sit outside and people watch. I am not much of a museum and slow walking tour type of girl, so when my friend suggested that we buy tickets to the Alhambra Palace, I was not enthused. Luckily, I trusted her and we made plans to go.
Since we purchased our tickets to the Alhambra in advance, we had to be there by a certain time. My friend convinced me to purchase an afternoon and a night tour so we could see how it looks during different times of the day. We headed to the palace and trekked up a huge hill. When I say trek, I mean take some water and a snack. It was a workout! Along the way, there were cute shops with pottery, clothing and local merchant with goods who were ready to bargain.
When we got to the top and through the gates, I looked up and saw the most beautiful, massive creation, situated in front of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I can safely say that the Alhambra gave me an entirely new appreciation for museums, mountains and architecture.
When you purchase tickets to the palace, you can choose what parts of the grounds you want to visit. We started at Generalife where we played around in the garden and looked down at the city of Granada. You can easily spend the day taking pictures and venturing through the peaceful palace.
After seeing the gardens, we headed to the palace where we admired the beauty of the buildings and the massive coliseum, but we did not opt for a guided tour. However, just being there was an enjoyable experience and I liked that we could stop and take everything in at our own pace. We stayed there for the entire day. Then, we decided that we hadn’t gotten enough, so we agreed to view the Alhambra from Saint Nicolas, which was on the other side of the city.
The journey to Saint Nicolas the next day was a long walk from Plaza Nueva, but it was a lot of fun. On the way there, we saw gorgeous cathedrals, got conned by gypsies (don’t let them tell you about your future or they will take your money) and we walked up the winding streets to the top of the town. I would highly recommend having a good city map because we got lost quite a few times. When we got to the top, there were lively mariachi bands, cafes and a beautiful view of the Alhambra from afar with the Sierra Nevada behind it which created the perfect backdrop. We found a cafe with couches and a view, and we sipped on tea while we watched the sun set in peace.
I left Granada feeling reflective, calm and inspired. If you’re looking for a Spanish city to add to your list, don’t skip this beautiful southern city.