Granada, Spain – December 28, 2011
This morning, Leslie and I had our coffee on the terrace of our hotel room. It was so relaxing sitting there and looking out over the Mediterranean. The constant wave action was soothing. It was soothing last night too. We slept with the sliding door to the terrace open. It was a very relaxing way to fall asleep. It was also refreshing. It was the perfect sleeping temperature.
We checked out of our room at about 09:15. Included in the price of our room was breakfast, so we partook before we left. It was a buffet. It was fairly good. How is that for a ringing endorsement?
As we drove north toward Granada, Spain, I commented Leslie that we would probably not see the Mediterranean again as a family. I will see it once or twice more when I go to Barcelona, Spain for my quarterly visit.
We made it to Granada at about 12:30. Our hotel is near the city center. The streets are narrow and a challenge to navigate with our 4Runner. The hotel is nothing like the one we stayed in yesterday. Regardless, it is very clean and adequate.
After we checked in, we walked south along Gran Via de Colon toward the cathedral. We arrived right at 13:00, only to discover the cathedral closes from 13:00 to 16:00. So, we went shopping instead. We bought all sorts of tourist stuff such as guidebooks, magnets, stickers, knives, inlaid boxes, etc.
As we wound our way through the streets, we stumbled across a small tavern called Masquevinos. The Spanish words, run together, but they mean “More than Wines.” It was a little place at the end of a tiny street. We sat at a table in the very back. For lunch, we just ordered some tapas. We ordered surtido de las croquetas (assortment of croquettes), queso provolone (provolone cheese), and canape solomillo buey (ox sirloin canape). The assorted croquettes were tasty. My family did not think so. In particular, they did not like the one made with blood sausage as one of the ingredients. The provolone was hot, melted over tomato slices, and topped with olive oil. Toasted bread came with the provolone. The canape was a small piece of beef served on a piece of bread. I thought it was all delicious. For a starter, the waiter brought some olives and a tapa. The tapa was a cherry tomato on a toothpick. On the other end was an olive. In between, was a sardine. I was the only one that liked that tapa. In summation, I thought our lunch was delicious; Leslie, Hillary, and Tyler…not so much.
When we left Masquevinos we did some more shopping to kill time. That was when we found the Alcaiceria Market. It is an area of mall “streets,” each no more than two meters (six or seven feet) wide, that are full of shops specializing in North African items. It was like we had stepped into a Medina in Morocco.
We ultimately ended up at the entrance to the cathedral. Construction began in 1523. It took nearly two centuries to complete. By 1704 the cathedral lacked only one tower. King Charles V championed the completion of the cathedral. The stained glass windows over the high chapel are Flemish, dating from 1550.
We waited for about 10-minutes or so for the gate to open. Once inside, I was amazed at the decoration and scale of the cathedral. My two most favorite areas were the high chapel and the Jesus of Nazareth altarpiece. The sanctuary is directly under the central dome of the cathedral. It is about 45 meters (150 feet) tall, nearly the height of a 15-story building — incredible! Another area of the cathedral that was very interesting was the treasury. That is where they store the gold, silver, and other priceless articles. Some of the pieces I saw dated from the early 1600s. One of the more gruesome was a wood replica of the head of John the Baptist. After walking through the cathedral, we went through the gift shop and then walked back to our hotel.
Tomorrow we tour the Alhambra!