This was the first time in a long while that I'd visited a place abroad and seen that dogs appeared to have outnumbered cats!
The dogs in Granada were quite cute- However! - You have to be careful where you're walking - A lot of the pavements and squares were 'decorated' with canine excretia!
Apparently this is quite a problem in Granada.
I was very impressed with this airport on arrival, it seemed to be pretty well organised, although as I was carrying hand luggage only, I was quickly through- and soon was on the bus into Granada (about 15 /20 minutes away- 3 euros)
- in the arrivals/ departures area there is No Smoking at all- you have to nip outside.
The duty free is quite small, quite a good selection of souvenirs, with a fresh food stall to buy your chorizo, olives etc. Perfume / alcohol choice etc though is quite limited.
My main warning is that once you've passed through passport control, there are no facillities - no shops, no food outlets etc- just lounges with chairs.
I mistakenly thought I'd be able to spend my last few euros after I'd passed through passport control.
So, purchase your presents in Granada, or in the duty free before you pass through passport control.
There can be a lot of traffic in the centre of Granada, but there are lots of pedestrian crossings also.
This crossing on Gran Via Colon, near the Cathedral (which is one of the busiest areas) intrigued me!
When the green man light comes on, signalling that it is ok for you to cross, there is a beeping noise, and you have about 20 seconds to cross, as the sign counts down the number of seconds in green lights under the 'walking' man symbol
I am sure everyone should visit the Albayzing when visiting Granada, but if you are walking up and down there I would say that it´s better not to do it alone as there are some robbers who might hit you (or just take it and run) to take your camera or bag, so if you go there walking try to go in a group of people...either that or you take a bus or walk through the "Cuesta del Chapiz" that ussualy is bussier. Same can happen in the area of the Sacromonte.
Our hotel advertised "parking facilities are in hotel's vicinity". Stupid me I assumed the hotel actually has reserved parking for its guests. Once we got there, and after talking to hotel's owner - it turned out that hotel does not have a parking (stupid me for asking...) and that in Granada (center at least) public parking that works overnight does not exist. Furthermore, "parking facilities" is considered streets close to the hotel. Good news was that parking on the street is free - but how do you find one?
We were optimistic at first, but 2 hours and 30-40 laps around the narrow one way streets stuffed with traffic later - I was almost ready to explode. Well I didn't as this story luckily has a happy ending... With the help of the local woman we were able to finally get a parking spot. I was so tired, stressed, and happy at the same time that I almost was unable to park the car. Wouldn't that be something? Well I managed somehow and then we tipped the woman - sent by God. Later we figured that she does that on a regular basis - helps confused tourists find parking spots .... isn't she smart?.
One thing is for sure - I am not doing this ever again in Granada.....
A friend of mine who claims to have a "decent sense of direction" (I'm withholding judgment on this matter until further evidence is gathered) had a hard time finding the entrance to the Nasrid Palace at the Alhambra and missed his 1/2 hour time slot. I could give him a hard time about being a man and not asking for directions. Or not bringing one of his color coded cross referenced set of directions and map. But I'm biting my tongue.... (ow! ow! ow!)
In the days of the Moors, they probably would have taken my friend with the dubious claims of a decent sense of direction and had them snuffed out in one of the courtyards while the harem ladies danced away but today you're merely denied admittance and out 5E. If you don't want to suffer the same fate, arrive at the Alhambra well in advance of the time of your entrance to the Nasrid Palace, you may encounter a line to pick up your tickets, you could get lost or encounter surly Spaniards unwilling to give you directions. I thought the Palace was well marked if you headed there from the ticket office but if you are wandering around the gardens of Generalife it does take a bit of time to get over to where the Palace is.
And if you find yourself lost in a shrubbery maze, you've gone the wrong direction! But I'm wondering, just how does someone 6'5" get lost in a shrubbery maze? ;-)
Tough I didnt experience any problem, all the people we've met in Granada told us to be very careful in this area and not to be in small streets in the night.
I think it's a normal advice in all cities, but when you experience the Albaizin you really understand it's worth mentionning.
Yes that's right; this is where the alien from Alien takes his holiday! Don't worry he doesn't attack people when he is on holiday, but if you would like to avoid him don't go down Escuelas just off of Plaza Universidad because that's where he spends most of his time (shopping in the second hand clothes shops that you can find down that way)!
Graffiti is a big problem in Granada; it is everywhere. Some of it is really terrible like peoples names scrawled on walls; other examples are true works of art or at least they are interesting to look at. The Graffiti on the house in the photo at least brightens a derelict building up a bit!
The people who just write their names or a stupid comment on historic or beautiful buildings really annoy me. If you are one of these people can I ask you a question: WHY?
Always be careful when looking into the local tourist shops. A lot of the streets are real narrow so keep an eye on your valuables. It is the perfect opportunity for unsavory characters to take advantage of tourists. I personally have nothing bad to speak of but that is because I am always careful and aware of what is happening arond me.
If you take the open top tour bur watch out for the trees , in some places the branches are very low and you could easily be whacked in the head by twigs and leaves, you do hear a warning in the commentary, but for your own safety do not stand up or lean over the side of the bus while its moving
The last few months I have heard more and more stories about "tourist getting attacted or stolen purses/bags etc" while walking about el Albaizcin.
The problem is often early at night, when the city starts to get darker... and the Albaizcin has a lot of "dark corners" for an attacker/theif to hide.
Be careful when walking around there at all times, dont be to obious about being a tourist, do wear your camera around the neck. Hide it in a bag.
Dont walk around with your map. Hide it as well. If you get lost, take it out, and always remember: when you want to go back to the city: JUST GO DOWN HILL!
Be carefull - and have a great trip!
I read a lot of warnings on VT about the Gypsies who offer you sprigs of rosemary near the Cathedral. The warnings were such that we were pretty paranoid about it. But when we got to the Cathedral we found them to be fairly passive. Yes, they would approach you and ask if you wanted the rosemary, but a polite “No, gracias” or a negative shake of the head and that was it. No badgering, no trying to force rosemary into your palm, nothing. I’m not saying this hasn’t happened to folks previously but it wasn’t the case during my visit. I would still recommend being aware of your surroundings as always but there is no need to stress out or be paranoid about the Gypsies.
If you fancy living abroad and you need to earn money to do it then teaching English is your best bet.
First you need a TEFL/TESOL qualification which you will have to pay for. You can do the course in your country or in Spain. I did mine in Barcelona with Next Training who are affiliated with Trinity. Accommodation was provided by them: you can live with a Spanish family or with an existing English teacher. You can also do a CELTA course here in Granada.
Once you have your qualification you can expect to work 25-27 hours on a full time contract. A good wage would be 1000euros a month in Granada. Beware of Schools such as Inlingua who pay really BAD wages. Other schools may offer you paid by the hour work for around 9 euros an hour. Although this is a good amount be careful because if the classes are small or individual, when they don't come YOU won't get paid! Even if they still have to pay!
Don't accept contract work for any less than 8 euros an hour!
Wages can be low in Granada due to the ridiculously low prices private English school teachers charge. You don't even need a qualification to do this. you can put up posters all over Granada for students, but because completion is so high you may only make 5-6 euros an hour. Then may find it difficult to live on this if you don't have LARGE savings! Especially as you don't get paid during the holidays (and there are MANY holidays in Spain!).
NORTH AMERICANS AND AUSTRALIANS BEWARE: it is impossible to find LEGAL work in Spain because it is too difficult to get a work visa (due to Spain's ridiculous red tape!).
If you would like more info about teaching in Spain please contact me! I would like to help you!
Thieves in old Granada's Albayzin quarter
Granada is beautiful but when walking the charming hilly streets in old Moorish quarter Albayzin, do watch for young thieves.
They are NOT violent but like to run by and steal bags. Solution is pay attention to your surroundings and just don't carry valuables around anyway. You'll enjoy your vaction more.Let me know if you have questions:)
happy travels / buen viaje,
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