Granada was beautiful! I loved it! It is only a small place but it is just so lovely with nice plazas and tree lined streets and snow capped mountains in the background. The streets are old and cobbled and narrow and have a very Moroccan feel. Plenty off little stores spilling onto the streets and plenty of dog poo everywhere! The dogs just have a free reign and no one has heard of a pooper scooper!
The first night I had a bit of a hiccup with my booking, I was sure I had confirmed the first night and they didn't think I had confirmed the first night so I wasn't in the system and all the beds were full and it was 10.30 at night and I had a little freak out! However with several free drinks as an apology from the staff and some ringing around of other hostels, they found me another bed not too far away. They even sent one of there staff - a lovely young lad- to accompany me to the other hostel. There they had a guy playing flamenco and everyone was seated around a table outside, drinking and listening to the music, it was really nice. So after my brief stay there I then properly checked into the first place and relaxed in the morning before my trip to the Alhambra. It started off a beautiful day and the Alhambra was gorgeous! Totally loved it! The gardens and the architecture are truly stunning. However the weather quickly deteriorated while I was there and I ended up standing on top of the Alcazar by the bell tower in a thunder storm - talk about dramatic! it was pretty neat really. The palace was stunning - the attention to detail with the plaster work was breathtaking, and all the compositions of the buildings, framed views and water troughs that mirror the buildings make for a great photo. Luck was with me as by the time I got to the main gardens the storm had passed and I wandered through ogling at the beautiful landscape architecture. It was really neat to see something I had studied in uni - and to actually be on the other side of the world seeing it for myself was such a treat.
That night I got chatting to some others in the hostel and we all went out for drinks. And another thing that makes Granada amazing is the fact that with every drink you order you receive free tapas! And its not just a small plate of olives - they give you a decent sandwich and chips or pasta or potato cubes or something along those lines. And these feeds are decent! After a couple drinks you are really full and have to start requesting that they don't give you food or it would just go to waste. I also discovered a new favourite drink - tinto de verano - which translates to summer wine and it is just red wine with soda but it is so good!! and goes down way too easily! So we had a great night and I got back some time after one.
The next morning I came back up from breakfast and went to swipe back into my room and my swipe card wasn't in my wallet, and then I noticed my money wasn't either! Around 50 euros! and I thought oh s*** how drunk was I last night that I lost everything??? And then one of my room mates came past and said he has had his money nicked last night, and then I realised that I had been screwed over too, s*** s*** s***. There were four of us in a 12 person room that had stuff taken ....... and then it just dawned on me that I had unlocked my locker before breakfast and I had forgotten to lock it for an hour... and I thought surely not, surely everything would still be there..... but sadly no, sum f··king lowlife had gone through my money pouch and taken all my money out of there too. For f··ks sake!!!!!!! In total over 400 Euro and 200 US was taken! Otherwise known as my next month of spending money! sigh......
So the police were called and they arrived and a lot of Spanish was spoken and I didn't understand any of it (the police don't speak English!) and they said the closest station was closed today but the out of town one was open so we should do it tomorrow... however I was leaving tomorrow so I said I would make the report today, so we hopped into the back of a very uncomfortable police car and went to the police station where we had to wait for ages and then make a statement and I had to do it over the phone to a translator as no one could understand me and then it was emailed to the station. We also had to get some money off the hostel owner as we couldn't get back as we had no money and the police weren't going to drop us back so we had to find a bus stop and then jump on a bus and travel about 20 mins back...... phew. I am going to have to go back to Granada because I spent too much time in a police station and not enough looking around. In the arvo we went on a street art tour and saw some cool spray art and then we went for ice cream and a walk to some neat vantage points where we could see over the Alhambra and the city.
The next day we had a walk around town and up to the hills to see the gypsies who live in the caves. It really looks like a hobbit town up there, well a kind of ghetto hobbit town! But really neat, and some more stunning views. And then it was time to get back to the hostel and jump on a bus to Seville.
Seville was sunny and was buzzing as it was the beginning of the April fair! Once in the hostel I met up with some people and went down to the fair to see the opening at midnight, and I have to say it was the lamest opening ever. They had a huge arch and on the stroke of midnight they turned on the lights, no count down, no fireworks, just a lame ass band playing the same 8 notes over and over. But the locals loved it and cheered and went into the tents and started drinking! There were 100s of tents! There was a whole little suburb dedicated to the fair, just tents and tents and more tents and a heap of drinking and dancing, but it did seem a bit exclusive but it was still a neat spectacle to see.
However the next day I went back and everyone was dressed up. The ladies were incredible in their flamenco dresses, the colours and styles were so cool, and all the guys in their suits and everyone was going around in horse and carriages and on horseback. It was soo cool! All around town the carriages clattered by taking people to the fair - it was about a 40min walk away from the city centre, so many people went in style!
That night I talked to my room mates and they said they met up with some guys that they met in Morocco and it was so nuts cause they were the guys I met in Granada - one of them was the guy who came to the police station with me when he got his stuff nicked too, so we all me up again and hung out for the rest of the week. Small world huh!
We went for walks around the town and went back to the fair and went to the huge theme park at the fair. They also convinced me to go on the most god awful freaky ride that flings you upside down and around and spins 360 degrees in a huge vertical circle about 5 stories high! shudder..... I was freaking out, so not my scene... but you know what, i actually enjoyed it!! well i was too terrified to scream but it was fun!
The rest of the time I just spent hanging out on the roof top terrace and in the pool, as it has got hot now! and I went to the cathedral - third biggest in Europe I think, and in the Alcazar. Which is where the King resides when he comes to Seville, and it has beautiful formal parterre gardens and fountains and courtyards and peacocks. We also went to Plaza Espana, the huge famous semi circle plaza that was truly impressive!
The night before the fair ended partook in drinking a beverage or two or 10 and did a bit of pub crawl down to the fair ground and went into some tents, they seemed to get less and less exclusive as the week went on. And we tried to do a bit of flamenco, and drank some more and there was a great atmosphere, just tones and tones of people, you couldn't see from one tent to the next as people just packed the streets. We also went for churros, as I was hanging out to try them - a fried donut thingy that you dip into hot chocolate - they were good! and then after a few antics and a bit more drinking we eventually stumbled back to the hostel 4.30ish.
I decided to go to the bus station two days early so I could get the ticket sorted to get down to my home stay as I was having no luck online. Along with the police, no one in the bus station spoke english so that made it trickier..... so I got one of the girls to help me. The guy selling the tickets was the most grumpy and unhelpful prat I have encountered for a while. After dragging blood after a very very cold stone I found out that there was a direct service to the small town I needed to get to but it only started in August.... yeah like that helps, I need to get there on MONDAY you daft git. He eventually said I could get a bus to a place near there but I had no idea how near, near was, so I asked for a map. Well it turns out they have no map, fancy that, a transport company has no map?? wtf?? he said ask at a kiosk, nope, so we tried the information counter.... nope!! god!!!!!! sigh.... so I has to come back to the hostel and do a bit of research and the next day I tried again. I went down with another guy that could speak spanish and got the same grumpy ticket man but eventually got a ticked booked, I am hoping it is the right one to the right place... time will tell!
Last night was the final night of the week long party, and we went back to see the fireworks and most of the fair had shut down and there weren't many people around so I didn't have high hopes for the fireworks. But as 12 struck, the fireworks burst into the air, and we went to the bridge for the best vantage point and there were 100s and 100s of people everywhere and all the roads had come to a standstill and everyone was out of there cars watching. They started off fairly modest and I thought it was going to be lame but they become more and more and went on for over 20 minutes and got louder and louder and were the loudest and biggest fireworks I have ever seen! They were beautiful! And there were ones I had never seen, like a huge burst of fireflies in the air that spriled madley through the air, and some of the bursts where about three times the size as i hace ever seen, I was like a kid in a candy shop! So cool - I wonder if someone videoed it on you tube or something cause it is well worth a look, but it just wont have quite the same impact with the sound waves reverbrating through your body.... soo cool!
And with that the end of my Seville adventure. Now I am off south to my first home stay, so fingers crossed they wont work me too hard!