31st January 2018 – 03rd January 2018
As we left the concrete coastline of Marbella and Puerto Banus and headed for the hills, both David and I both said it was like a breath of fresh air to be heading inland. Now obviously this is just our opinion and we would have left earlier if it hadn’t been for hiring our little Fiat 500. The Fiat 500 was the best thing about our week around Marbella, followed by our first English Roast in four months (except for the ones I have cooked) and a traditional English Fry up ! We felt our wings spread open again as we travelled to the mountains and glimpsed the snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada. The trees are blossoming and there are some beautiful purple flowers scattering the countryside. Olive trees are in abundance with Spain being the country with the highest number of olive trees (more than 300 million) and is now the world’s leading olive and olive oil producer, with Andalusia accounting for 80% of production and the largest olive growing area on the planet. Orders being taken on a first come fist served basis for delivery in early March.
We settled into our little stopover a traditional Spanish site, small and personable and we could see the sky, no trees above us, hurrah. (Oh the little things !). We decided to stay for 4 nights which would give us plenty of time to explore the city of Granada and the Charles V palace in Alhambra (The Red One). The ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid 13th Century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wow, our list of visits to these sites is growing!
Our first day we set off on our bikes, again only because no dogs on buses, in taxis etc. David attached Chloe’s mode of transport to the back of his bike and with me behind we set off for the 30 minute ride into the city centre. I wish I had a Go Pro on my head, because the look on people’s faces as we passed would make a great YouTube video. Chloe’s buggy is obviously very unique in Granada. The other thing with Granada is that they have no places to leave your bikes, mopeds yes, but not bicycles. Obviously, with our only mode of transport being our bikes and Chloe’s buggy to get around, they are precious and so we always worry if they will be there when we get back. In the end and to stop David getting even more stressed we attached them to a lamppost outside the cathedral. David took photos and we hoped they would be there when we returned. First stop was the nearest cafe and two caffe con leche to calm the nerves, before we set off to explore the city with it’s cobbled winding streets. Due to time of year a lot of the restaurants, cafes etc were closed and it must be amazing during the warmer months. It is a great place to wander and loose yourselves. As we climbed the cobbles and heard the soothing sound of the traditional Spanish guitarist, we forgot about the bikes.
The next day with tickets booked we headed off to Alhambra. Now we had been advised on various forums to purchase your tickets in advance and so the site we are staying at booked them the day before with entrance to The Palace at our allotted time. If you ever visit, book in advance ! It was the coldest day of our ‘Once in a Lifetime’ adventure so far. With 4 layers on, minus my hat as I couldn’t find it. We set off in the taxi leaving Chloe on guard in the van. David even had trousers and his thick coat on ! It is beautiful and we think even more beautiful on a warmer day when it is not so windy. The Palace is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting Islamic architecture. The gardens are planted with oranges, roses and myrtles and there is a dense wood of elms said to have been brought by the Duke of Wellington in 1812. There are fountains and cascades all over the gardens. The detail in the wood carvings and the inlaid work is stunning and it is a place to visit, just on a warmer day in Spring or early Summer !
Our 4 nights are up and with the snow covered mountains in the distance we need to head South again to the warmer weather. We are turning into geckos.