When you are in Andalusia, you should definitely visit the Alhambra in Granada. It’s on the World Heritage List and is visited by about 8000 people every single day. We had heard great stories about the old Palace and Alcazaba, so we wanted to see it for ourselves.
Because it was a warm day, we drove to the Alhambra early in the morning. Sparta wasn’t allowed inside, so he had to stay in the van. We walked up to the entrance a little before opening time and it was still very quiet. In fact, except for the staff members, we were the only ones there! It felt pretty amazing to be the first tourists to enter this amazing place. Covid has its benefits after all!
The first hour, we quietly walked around the gardens and the ruins of the Alcazaba. It was only until we got to the entrance of the Nazrin Palace that we saw other visitors. After someone checked our tickets, we were allowed inside the Palace. This building is – without a doubt – the highlight of of the Alhambra. All the details on the walls, the ceilings and the floors are magical; you can look at them for a very long time and never get bored. It’s amazing how much patience the builders/artists must have had!
The next day, after spending the night on a beautiful spot on top of a mountain, we went for a hike. Los Cahorros is the most famous trail in the region and we were definitely up for a day in nature. Sparta loves hiking as much as we do, so he was happy too. The trail led us through a narrow gorge with a clear river, where we had to walk on a small ridge next to the rocks. Although Sparta was a little anxious at some points, we thought it was a great adventure!
On Saturday, Tamara took her bike into the city center of Granada. Sparta and Nienke stayed with Tiny, because it was too hot for Sparta to stay alone in the car. When Tamara got back, we decided to leave this city and continue our way towards the next destination: Cordoba. The clouds were rolling in and the cool air felt as a relief after some long sunny days. And at least we could leave Sparta alone in the car now!
So far, Cordoba is our favourite city in Andalusia. We walked around for some hours, had dinner on the main square and gazed upon the Roman, Jewish and Moorish buildings. The most special building was the Mezquita Cathedral; a huge mosque that has been turned into a cathedral and where both religions are thus mixed together. We loved the numerous pillars in the Moorish part, combined with the cross-shaped church in the center. Very impressive!
After we had left Cordoba, we drove to Antequera, close to Malaga. Like many cities in Andalusia, Antequera also has an Alcazaba; a castle overlooking the city center. It’s always fun to walk around the castle walls and explore the old buildings and churches in and around it. We also visited some old graves (dolmens), dating back to the Bronze Age (approximately 5000 years ago).
Although we felt a lot like real tourists by now, we wanted to see one more thing in this area: El Torcal. The drive up the winding road was already astonishing and we stopped on a beautiful spot at the top. After a few hours we left again, because the enormous amount of flies was driving us crazy. Luckily, another nice spot wasn’t too far away. The next morning, we drove up to the start of the hiking trail through the El Torcal nature reserve. The trail wasn’t very long, but nevertheless beautiful and with amazing views. A very unique place in Europe!
And now, after three weeks, we are back in Malaga. Back to the place where we started, to spend some time with our friends again and to take a rest from three full weeks on the road. We can look back on the first month in Spain, in which we realised that this life fits us perfectly. We are enjoying every minute of it!