January 12, 2012

Granada

When people ask me about my favourite place to visit, my thoughts keep returning to Granada, Spain.  My initial impression of Granada when we pulled into the bus station was "Wow, it's like Mexico... a decade ago."  Those same thoughts crossed my mind during our cab ride from the station to our hostel, the White Nest, which by the way, was probably the raddest hostel in all of Granada.  But as we roamed the streets -- the many narrow streets that twisted and turned and unexpectedly ended -- I began to really love the city... more than Madrid.

Here's the scoop on Granada: it's relatively small compared to Madrid and Barcelona, but it's rich with culture, it is one of the few Spanish towns that still offers free tapas (with any beverage, alcoholic or not!), and it's beautiful (La Alhambra - nuff said).

The Alhambra alone, is a reason to visit Granada.  This is where the high government officials and Nasrid sultans lived in the 13th-14th centuries.  Aside from being the last Moorish stronghold in all of Europe, it boast a fortress, palace, and beautiful gardens.  While I don't really know much about architecture, there's something breathtaking and appreciative about the ornamental architecture about adorn all the buildings (great Arabic influence).  Book early, though!

Anyway, did I mention how the entire city serves free tapas with the purchase of any single beverage?  We're talking any kind of beverage, and we're talking sandwiches, fries, "ham"burgers -- atypical tapas that were all very delicious and increasingly got better with each additional drink.  My travel mates and I did not buy a single meal during our 2-day stay in Granada.  Incredible.  Here're are some of our freebie foods:




Churros con chocolate were purchased... but for like 5 euros.




If you're a fan of big cities, Granada won't be for you.  But for those who like to escape the hustle bustle of the cityscape, this humble town may be for you.

Barcelona comes next!

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