On the train ride to Granada the surrounding landscape became particularly dry and red, olive trees covering many areas.
Highly recommended by Michael 'Mystery' Taylor, Granada turned out to be another of the great stops on the trip. This was because a lot of the variables with backpacking fell in our favour in Granada, those being we had great weather, a nice hostel with friendly staff, and even better roommates and fellow guests.
Our new friends included students Dom and Sarah (British girls who were setting up an apartment to study in Granada), fellow backpacker Josh from Perth (and importantly an Eagles fan), and Yosef the hip-hop magazine owner and promoter from Denver, USA. Most of us met over a beer and BBQ deal put on by the hostel on night one of our stay, and we proceeded to drink and be merry and see a Flamenco show on the following two nights.
Granada itself seems kind of like an oasis in the dry mountainous surrounds which include the nearby Sierra Nevada, Spains only (might be wrong here) ski resort in winter. We hit the big red bus again to get a look at the various parts of town before exploring the hillside Albaycin area. It was particularly extraordinary as it had a lot of nice, well-to-do housing, while slightly further up was cave housing in the side of the hill, as lived in by the local gypsies. Oh, and there was LOTS of stray cats!
Day three saw us head up to Granada's most well-known tourist attraction, the Alhambra, still feeling the effects of Josh's sangria from the night before. The Alhambra sits on a nearby hill overlooking Granada and was a 'palace and fortress complex constructed by Moorish rulers in the mid 14th century' (thanks Wikipedia). Being so well preserved, with perfect gardens and being absolutely huge, some people spend a whole day up there, but after a few hours we'd had plenty enough.
With a day to kill before our night train to Valencia, we also went on a guided hike toward Sierra Nevada where some freezing rivers, waterfalls and swinging bridges were highlights that many ventured up for.
We said our goodbyes to the cool Hostel One crew and guests and made for the awkwardly timed (10pm-5am) night train to Valencia.