Monday, 13 April 2009

Day 11 and 12 On the Road to Granada

I left Tarifa yesterday morning which was sad. I could have spent another week there, weather permitting. Actually, I could have spent another week everywhere in terms of how much each place has had to offer. But in terms of stamina, I don´t think I could do it. Today I have felt exhausted after a day travelling by bus, train and on foot to get to the Hostel in Granada.

In the morning I met a guy called Chris and his wife from LA. Now Chris both physically and gesturally resembled my friend Chris who lives in the UK but is from LA and whom I had spoken to only the previous night on the electric telephone. Strange world.

The first leg of the journey took us all to Algercias by bus where we got tickets for the later train. There was time to look around so I stowed my luggage and walked around Algercias. Not a lot to report I am afraid. I may have missed the interesting bits due to the lack of time and maps etc. You can see Gibraltar clearly from the port, though, which is nice, and over the sea to the north coast of Africa. You can see why the Brits wanted to hang onto that rock that forms part of the entrance to the Med with a strategic significance second to none. Well, except the Suez canal maybe.

The train journey started with a few modest hills but gradually built into a bit of an epic with deep gorges and fast streams and included powerful views visible in strips, like a slow cinema reel, through the open slats of a long bridge. This scenery manifest naturally in Ronda where my Americans friends got off.

Later on, the land planes out a bit into a kind of valley dotted with thousands of citrus bushes. It was not like a sunny version of Rannoch Moor, with alternative vegetation. At the end of this long stretch, instead of Glencoe, you have Granada just ramped up against the side of the Seirra Nevada. White peaks crowning the ancient seat of Moorish power still telling its story through architecture.

I had a bit of a scare when I realised I´d been given two addresses for the hostel but my useful contact in the UK sorted that one out for me, texting me the directions. But not before I´d been through about five stages of panic. I was running out of time to get to the meeting so I took a taxi to the hostel. I might have been overcharged by the cab driver getting to the hostel but only by about a Euro if anything.

I took a half hour walk to the meeting where met a couple of guys who were pretty settled in the area and both spoke excellent Spanish. We went out for Tapas afterwards which is, apparently, free in Granada. They brought up a place of three burger type things with chips and all for the price of the drinks. On the way back I cleverly got a bus going the right way but which, uncleverly, was on a detour due to the Semana Santa processions and which ended up taking me I don´t know where. That was another 40 minutes walk and I was wrecked when I got back.

Today, I have been pretty tired but have managed to get to the Cathedral and had a look around the Albacin, which is the old Moorish quarter with narrow streets. There are some nice view points at the top of the hill from which to look down on the Al Alambra and the mountains beyond, crowned white with a layer of April snow, and down onto the large plain in which the city is built.

I have the feeling that I am not quite doing this town justice due to fatigue but I have seen some quite unique sights. Tomorow the challenge is to get up early enough for tickets to the Al Alambra which are all sold out on the internet.

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