Stranded In The Southland

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


We decided that the seven-hour bus trip from Granada to Valencia seemed a little tiring, so we stopped off in Murcia, a small university town about mid-way between the two larger cities. It was small and quiet and mostly devoid of other tourists.

In fact, we scored one of the cheapest rooms yet, and we still got WiFi with it! Yow, I managed to upload my pictures and we both just enjoyed being online. Ummm, maybe that´s kinda sad, but that´s the way it is.

In the morning, we wandered through a museum of an old mill, which had a bunch of cool exhibits on the side-shot waterwheels installed there in the 18th century. Yow, that´s pretty advanced! All of the commentary was in Spanish, so I was at a bit off a loss, but it was still fun to see it at least. Plus, M. translated the really good parts for me.

We also wandered around the fairly cool old cathedral there, but the tower was closed, so I didn´t get to do any more climbing. It is just as well, as my feet are killing me!

K.´s Handy Tips For Enjoying the Alhambra

We spent our final night in Granada on the grounds of the Alhambra (no, not squatting!). There are two hotels up there, actually -- the Parador and the Hotel America. The Parador is the official government hotel (there are Paradors all over Spain, mostly in cool old castles and other historic buildings) and it is insanely expensive. Hotel America was only about twice what we´ve spent on other places here, and M.´s cousin (who is from Granada) stays there when he´s in town.

The Hotel America is definitely the way to go. It was easily twice as comfortable as any place we´ve stayed in so far (more a reflection of our cheapness than particular splendor on the part of the HA, alas), so it wasn´t such a bad deal. Once the tourists have gone home, you have the run of the Alhambra to yourself!

Well, actually, it isn´t quite that wonderful, as all of the buildings are closed off, and the gardens gates are closed, but it still cool to be up there in the peace and quiet. There are three or four restaurants open for dinner up on the hill, so it´s not too hard to get along.

Clearly, the way to visit the Alhambra is to get a room at Hotel America, go up there and wander around in the evening, and then get a ticket in the morning to get into the buildings and gardens. When everybody else is racing up the hill to try to get those tickets when the office opens at 8AM, you can stroll down from your hotel and score 'em.

The nighttime tickets, which M. and I got, are fairly useless -- anybody at all can stroll around most of the Alhambra at night, and seeing the palace at night was cool, but probably not 10 Euros cool. Staying at the hotel, you can probably appreciate 90% of what´s out there without the ticket, which only gets you into the palace.

The daytime ticket gets you into the palace, the Alcazar (fortress), and the Generife (the very cool gardens). The gardens are amazing. The Moors directed all sorts of streams down through the Alhambra, with all sorts of formal pools and fountains and even some stairs with streams running down the bannisters. Yow, wonderful.

Okay, that was useless for anybody who isn´t going to visit the Alhambra, but perhaps Google will make somebody´s day.