Granada, Toledo and Madrid
22.04.2007 26 °C
After our adventure with the Granada Police we settled into our excellent hotel room - which we could not have found without them just by the way. A short sleep followed by a wander into the old town, characterised by little lanes, plazas and surprises at every corner. The shops in this part of town have a very north african feel without the spruiking and harassment. The rest of the evening was tapas, excellent local red wine and coffee with amoretto.
The Alhambra Place is built on the hill above Granada and was begun as a moorish castle about a thousand years ago. It is a magnificent complex of buildings and gardens featuring tiles and water. We spent about five hours wandering through everything. The gardens were spectacular and are very well maintained. They are made up of beds fringed with hedges and filled with every sort of flower and water features of every type. The buildings are reminiscent of many we have seen in Morocco and Tunisia. They are made up of chambers covered in tiles and arab script inscribed into plaster that lead into each other and then suddenly into a courtyard. There is no furniture, artwork or adornments, just the walls and ceilings.
Another evening of tapas, red wine and amoretto and we were off to Toledo. This place is as gorgeous as the walled villages in Italy but quite a bit bigger. We visited the cathedral which is absolutely magnificent with the highest ceiling we have seen. The choir stalls were a high point. In a side room they have cardinals robes going back for 1000 years and in another a few paintings collected over the years. In this one room, about the size of a double classroom, they had about 10 El Grecos, 3 Titians and even a Raphael.
We drove to Madrid yesterday and are ensconced in our hotel in the busiest street in the world, The Gran Via. Last night we revisited our little Mushroom and Sangia bar and then the Fish and beer bar and were very pleased to see they had not changed at all. Today we revisited the Reinier Sofia Gallery to see Picasso´s Geurnica. This was just as fabulous as last time.
We resisted the temptation to go to see Real Madrid play Valencia last night. We met some English chaps in the Plaza Mayor who had come over for the game. The tickets were 93 pounds which is about $220!!! and the game started at 10. It was live on local TV and ended at about midnight. The stadium, which holds 83 000 was a sellout.
Tomorrow is our last whole day in Europe and we plan to do a bit of shopping and try to bring our luggage down by about half to the requisite 20 Kg. We are both going to have to wear 18 layers of clothes to get away with it.