Solo travel has always been something that both excites and terrifies me. The idea of exploring by yourself with a giant backpack was the quintessential image of a traveller that I had always thought up. But it’s daunting to trek through unknown continents far away by yourself for months on end so I decided to train myself up with a long weekend in Granada.
Again, near Sevilla so very convenient and it had the Alhambra which was no doubt the highlight of the weekend. Book early to get tickets or otherwise climb up the steep hill and be queuing there at 4 am. It’s best to get a slot for the Nasrid Palace nice and early to avoids crowds in your pictures.
It is definitely the most beautiful part of the palace and I will let the pictures do the talking.
Meanwhile, Generalife offers something for the garden lovers and water feature enthusiasts.
Being perched on a hill, gives you a great view of the city from almost anywhere meaning you end up taking too many pictures and struggle to find one to post.
Another cool thing about Granada is that it is one of the few remaining cities which still offers you a free tapas with a drink. They’re a bit more pricey than Sevilla but it works out cheaper when you get salmorejo, patatas bravas and two drinks for €5.
The iconic view of the Alhambra which you see in postcards and art can be viewed at the Mirador de San Nicholas. After dinner I weaved through the steep, cobblestoned steps of the Albayzin an old Jewish quarter and finally reached. Even so late at night, there were many of us pushing through to try and get the best photograph of the lit up palace. Here was my attempt.
The next day a walking tour left me in the Albayzin so I got to see it during the day time where it shows a different type of beauty.
When tired, I stopped for tapas at a bar called Reina Monica. It was a buffet style tapas but sadly someone else serves you…
I had realised how much I had taken Sevilla’s flat streets for granted when constantly going up and down the hills in Granada. To see the Art Gallery, I had to head to the Alhambra Hill. Personally, it wasn’t the best but it was free with my EU Passport and it killed some time. I had realised that perhaps I may have booked a bit too much time in Granada.
Solo travel makes things go so much quicker because you’re not waiting around for other people which is both good and bad. Mealtimes are thirty minutes at most because tapas isn’t a social occasion when alone. I’m glad I got to explore at my own pace but I’ve learnt now that I can see things fairly quickly. Another hard thing about solo travelling is that you can’t share your churros. I realise for some, this is an advantage but three deep fried donuts later my belly hurt.
I waited around to see the sunset at the Mirador de San Nicholas but when I finally got there I realised that everyone in the city had the same idea as me. It was the most crowded I had seen it but I managed to get a seat on the ledge and capture some sweet shots. Sunset Alhambra is in my opinion the most stunning Alhambra. It glowed this glorious pink shade and I remained there until it lit up golden again in the moonlight.
Dinnertime beckoned and I headed to Taberna del 22 which I managed to miraculously find after spotting earlier. The interior was very warm and old-fashioned with some Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences. I sat there for a couple of hours over two glasses of Rueda wine, pasta and tortilla which only set me back €5.20. I knew I was going to miss Granada’s free tapas when I got back…
Another late night stroll reminded me of the Arab influences on the city. There are gorgeous streets offering Morroccon tea, shisha and a late night baklava sugar fix. The street was busy and smelled of incense as everyone tried to entice you into their shops. Most were souvenir shops which sold knick knacks that you don’t really need but it’s still fun to peruse.
On the last day I got my fridge magnet. My family has a tradition where we always buy a magnet from wherever we venture. Our collection is building up nicely. Then I headed up yet another hill to explore Sacromonte which is mainly populated by gypsies. It was a long, long walk and I was hungry five minutes after breakfast so I needed tapas badly. One tortilla and Tinto de Verano later, I had the energy to carry on.
It was a fairly isolated area- a less touristy version of the Albacyin which initially made me feel a bit strange. I was told that people live in the caves which made me think it was like the Flinstones. Suffice to say, I was very wrong with my assumptions. For a euro a man let me step into the coolest home ever. Yes, it was a cave but there was electricity, furniture and decoration. The idea was zany like something from Grand Designs.
Using my broken Spanish I chatted with the man using lots of hand gestures. He talked to me about his carpentry, decorative woodwork and his ex wife. He had a wooden floor installed for her as she danced but sadly it didn’t work out between them. He even had a litter of kittens that were breastfeeding so I had to take a pic. I thanked him and said goodbye because it was tapas time yet again.
Finally after a rest I prepared for a very exhausting journey back to Sevilla feeling good about going it alone in Granada.