The Alhambra. I cannot...
The Alhambra. I cannot emphasize enough the grandeur of these palaces. The Nasarid dynasty built lavish palaces within the confines of the castle walls, so they didn't need to spend a lot of effort on defensibility, particularly since Granada is mountainous and the cliffside is extremely steep, making a frontal assault by the Christians pretty unlikely. The palaces are built for pleasure. Their use of water is particularly impressive, as can be seen in the Court of the Lions. Look at all these columns and the impressive twelve-lion fountain in the middle of the courtyard. As in Sevilla, the fountain feeds channels which irrigate the courtyard. Brilliant.
Around Xmas there are a lot of markets and stands, specially in the Bib-Rambla and Pescaderia squares, near the Cathedral. There you will have the chance to meet locals which, even not talking much english, will surely find a way to be understood.
Monasterio de la Cartuja
The Monasterio de la Cartuja is a beautiful Carthusian monastery located in the Cartuja area of town. It's a baroque monastery of the 16th century and it no longer functions as a monastery, it was confiscated and many of the buildings within its precint destroyed. If you visit, you should look out for the Doric arches and intricate decorations, sculptures and carvings of the Sacristy.
When it functioned as a monastery, however, it was inhabited by a group of very austere monks who lived under a vow of silence, who would spend their days praying and meditating, and who left the convent only 3 or 4 times a year. Those monks would also not take their meals as a community, but in their cells, except on Sundays and Holy days - they also did not eat meat and on Fridays their diet would consist of bread and water, only.
The monastery is located on Paseo de la Cartuja. Take bus number 8 and C from the Gran Via to get there. You can visit the monastery Monday-Saturday, 10am-1pm and 4-8pm, and Sunday 10am-12pm. Please keep in mind that in winter the closing time is at 6pm.
Often when I've visited foreign countries, I've come back with souvenirs- ornaments,etc, which are gathering dust on my shelves!
I've recently decided to go for more practical reminders of my holiday- so usually food items or music on CD etc. which I can use, and are reminders of my trip
I love cooking, so - I'm usually on the lookout for authentic pots n pans, gadgets etc, So this shop was a great find.
Crammed full of various kitchen ware- all practical stuff, such as paella dishes, oil cans, casserole dishes, even a contraption to hold a full ham for carving!
I'm not sure if I'm right, but I guess Ferreteria means ironmongers! There was a selection of tools, screws, nails, paint etc for sale too. Oil cans start at about 3 euros!
Enamelled Casserole dishes/ Paella dishes.
kitchen gadgets and tools From 1 euro upwards!
Bus from Marbella
We had originally planned to drive from Marbella to Granada but I was reluctant because I hadn't driven a manual car in quite a few years and Kat wasn't comfortable after seeing the traffic on the highway so we ditched the car idea and took the bus instead.
It was 2 3/4 hours to get from Marbella to Granada, 45 minutes longer if you got a non direct bus. Even though our bus was direct, it did stop in Malaga. Once on the road, I was glad we decided to take the bus, we could enjoy a chat and the scenery and avoided the crazy roads in Granada, it would have taken ages to find our hotel!
The cost was 13.27E one way, slightly more for the non direct bus.
We did not have advance reservations, if you need to be on a specific bus, you might ask if that is a possibility as our bus was pretty full. I think some other VTers had purchased in advance.