Wednesday, June 12, 2013

11 Jun 13 – Day 5 (Granada)

Woke up at 6+am and as usual messaged little big sis. Had breakfast at 7:30am and we left for Granada at 8:30am. Nancee told us the journey would take up the whole morning and that we would have two rest stops where the last one would be for lunch. Most of the time I was either dozing off or looking at the scenery while on the coach. At the first rest stop, I bought some Turron candy which is said to be a Spanish specialty. I was already on the lookout for the candy since I got to Spain. Those in the supermarket that I went came in big blocks uncut and knowing that I might not get many chances to visit supermarket, I better buy some when I see fit. Also saw a lot of bowls, plates, dishes and so on in colorful paintings and was so tempted to buy but again, transporting them back to Singapore is going to be a big problem because I didn't bring bubble wraps.

Continued the journey and soon it was for the second rest stop where we also had lunch. Kim zoomed into chicken dish while I opted for the Hake dish which came with potato wedges and mixed vegetables. It was really yummy. The best meal I had on my own by far. Walked around the shop and found the Rabitos, chocolate covered figs. Read in TripAdvisor that it is another Spanish specialty so bought a box of nine to share with M. Besides olive and olive oil, Spain is also big on fig so I guess that’s why Rabitos is a specialty.

Finally we reached Granada and checked into the Sercotel Gran Luna about 2+pm. Messaged little big sis for a bit and we were out again at 3:20pm to meet the local guide to visit the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife Gardens. The sun was very glaring and it was really hot. There were already many groups of tourists in the Alhambra Palace and I saw a Chinese guy who looked very familiar yet I couldn't recall where I had seen him before. Anyway, after we got in, we were handed the audio guide. We went through the Gardens; saw many beautiful flowers yet taking nice photos of them were not very possible because of the traffic flow and the need to keep up with the local guide. Then walked through the higher Alhambra and we were brought to a small shop where the people there replicate the furniture in the Palace as well as make boxes with Moorish designs. The local guide did some explanations of how the designs were made but I couldn't catch a lot of details. I thought we would be given some time to browse through the stuff but we were hurried to the main section of the Alhambra Palace because apparently there was a given time slot for the tour.

Before the tour began, we were given loo break but Kim and I didn’t need to go. Saw the Palace of Charles V and immediately the design reminded me of chocolate bars so both of us took photos. When the rest of the group was ready, we proceeded to start the tour. Big haversacks had to be carried in front because they were afraid that the big bags might knock on to the intricate columns and stuff. As we walked, the local guide gave brief explanations of each room and their designs. Most of the time I couldn't catch anything partly because the local guide was mumbling and also partly because I was busy taking photos to pay any attention. There were many rooms and now I couldn't remember which was which, just that they were all very beautiful. We were at the Patio of the Lions trying to take photos with The Fountain of the Lions, Kim took a photo for me but because I was carrying my haversack in front and it was an eyesore, she suggested holding it for me while I went to pose.

Took more photos along the way as we made our way back to the place where we came from and along the way saw some people doing photo-shoots in the Palace. We were brought to a souvenir shop to browse. I was a little disappointed because I think that was not the official souvenir shop of the Alhambra Palace. In any case, I didn't get anything there because the main things were boxes of difference sizes featuring the Moorish designs. Then our coach came to fetch us back to the hotel where we had dinner in the hotel restaurant at 7pm. It was buffet style and the food was not bad. However, as usual, I skipped most of the main course and just went for starters and desserts. As Kim and I finished up fast, we left the table, leaving Mr and Mrs Chia, Madeline and Alan to continue with the dinner after paying for the bottle of water for the table, to go to the nearby Hipercor supermarket.

There was also a El Corte Ingles and we remembered Nancee telling us that El Corte Ingles is like a departmental store selling clothes and consumer goods while the Hipercor is something like our Giant. Walked the El Corte Ingles and bumped into Alan and Madeline. Headed to the bag section and I saw a bag similar to the one mum bought for me when I just started working. I held it for a long time, trying to decide if I should buy. Asked the salesperson if there was a new one but we had problem communicating. After a while, I managed to get it that the one I was holding was actually the last piece. Flipped and turned the bag in all directions and finally put it back on the rack. The condition of the bag wasn't tip-top and also the material was quite stiff compared to the one I owned previously. Went to the supermarket and I bought a 2.5 liter of water and a box of five sachets of seafood paella seasoning.

Thoughts: It was a pity that we didn't get to see much of Granada other than the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife Gardens so my impression of Granada is only on the Moorish designs of the buildings. Hopefully I will get to visit the place again.

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