Thursday, July 03, 2014

Tales from Spain, part 3

Our brief stay in Seville was good. The restaurants still mostly offered poor service and overpriced food and we walked away from quite a few...but we eventually found a gem just around the corner from our hotel. Seriously the best food we had in Spain. Dinner was so good that we returned for breakfast the next day.

The other highlight of Seville was the Real Alcazar (royal palace). It's the oldest palace in Spain still in use by the royal family. The courtyards and gardens were spectacular.

Real Alcazar: The courtyard of the maidens. This beautiful space featured in Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven". The pool was removed and the whole thing paved in marble for the movie, then returned to its former state afterwards.

The tiling was beautiful and the colours were mainly teal, blue, ochre, white and black. Just my thing. :)

Acres of gardens, fountains, and more. So much to see!

From Seville, we took the train to Granada. After a very short time wandering around the town, we decided that Spain was pretty much forgiven - that town rocks! It had a whole different vibe to the other places we'd been. Restaurant and bar staff treated us like they actually wanted our business. Plus, there were heaps of locals out shopping, eating and just doing their thing. It felt safe and relaxed and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

The whole reason for our visit though, was to see the Alhambra. It lived up to all our expectations. From the Alcazaba to the Nasríd Palaces to the beautiful gardens, it was just amazing. Well worth the detour south. I fact, if this had been the only thing we'd seen in Spain, I think we'd both have been satisfied.

Just a small part of one of the three Nasríd Palaces. Breathtaking.

The Alcazaba. Fascinating old fort, well preserved - and great views from the walls.

More of the Nasríd Palaces. Sorry, formatting is tricky on the iPad. Makes it difficult to keep photos in order....

After Granada, we flew back to Barcelona, as it was the only place we could fly on to Scotland without it being an epic adventure. We made the most of our short time back there, visiting the one Gaudi building we'd missed the first time around, Casa Batlío. Although the entrance price was an outrage (€21.50 each - that's a total of more than $60), it was really something. We both agreed that we were glad we went, but spent quite some time bitching about the price.... As you do.

We also scored a hotel room on the 20th floor, giving us a top view of Joan Míro's "Woman with Bird" sculpture at a nearby park. Who needs art galleries? ;)

And I added a Sagrada Familia charm to my Pandora bracelet. So all up, a satisfactory return visit to Barcelona. 

Spain highlights: 
Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia & Casa Batlío 
Logroño: Food & storks
Madrid: Museo del Prado
Segovia: Roman aqueduct & alcazar
Seville: Real alcazar
Granada: the Alhambra

We're glad we went, but neither of us is very interested in returning.

That's Spain all caught up. Next instalment: Scotland.

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