Did I mention it is raining in Spain?
Thursday (March 8) in Seville, Friday and Saturday (March 9, 10) in Granada
The rain in Spain is NOT staying mainly on the plains right now. There is unusual rain all over Andalucía and it is causing real problems for both the people who live here and visitors.
On Thursday, which was our last full day in Seville, we were in and out of rain showers all day. We did some errands such as shopping for yarn and getting some small souvenirs. We were (well, Patricia was) in and out of many stores and it seemed that the rain would start as soon as we started walking down the street.
We kept our eyes open for that “perfect” restaurant for lunch. You know: the one with the menu of just the right things, located on just the right street, and with just the right number of people inside. We spotted what we thought would a good place and at first it seemed we were right. But several small things happened to change our opinion. We ordered some tapas (small servings of local food) and a couple of entrees. But they brought everything at once! And, I had ordered hueveos revueltos con jamón (which the menu said in the English translation were scrambled eggs with ham). When the dish was served it had ham, and potatoes, and the ugliest fried egg I had ever seen. When I pointed out that the egg was not “revueltos” I was informed that indeed it was. Big consultation between the wait staff and the cook. The cook came to the table and said that the menu translation was wrong and that the fried egg was the way the dish was served. She offered, however, to scramble the eggs for me. Great! When the dish came back, everything on the original plate had been cut up into small pieces and all stirred together. Not so great! So that restaurant goes on the list as “the disappointing” restaurant.
We dashed through the rain to our favorite gelato place, one we go back to on each visit, only to find it closed. Umbrellas open, umbrellas closed, several times as we made our way to another gelato place where something unusual happened: I had too much gelato to finish. Patricia did not have that problem.
Later on in the evening we went to a restaurant that did not disappoint. It is called “la Cantina Mexicana” and we have been there several time most recently almost exactly a year ago. After we were seated, the waiter came over, looked at Patricia, and said “I know you!” He remembered us, and we, him, from our previous visits. We had a connection because he had visited Albuquerque. We had a really good meal of several tapas there.
Friday morning was taken up with getting ready to check out of our apartment and for our trip to Granada. The train from Seville to Granada is a commuter train, which means that there are lots of stops. It’s not a particularly fast train, either. We had plenty of opportunity to see flooded fields, swollen streams, and storm damage. We like to travel by train. There is usually leg room and the windows afford great views. But the route from Seville to Granada has a “feature.” Although one buys a train ticket, about 2/3rds of the way, at the Santa Ana Antequera stop, everyone gets off the train car for Granada and races for a bus, which takes the passengers to the Granada train station. The ride takes a little more than an hour and it is cramped and visibility is low. At least (al menos) it was not raining for this part of the trip.
The old part of Granada that we visit is full of hills, old, narrow, curved streets which arbitrarily change names, and lots of one ways. That can make giving a taxi driver directions a challenge, as in our case, because we wanted the intersection of two streets. But we were able to get it to work and were soon at our Airbnb apartment high up in the Albaicín (or Albayzin) district. It is a very nice apartment with an outstanding view of the Alhambra and many tiled rooftops. The décor has a Moorish flavor with a nice tile floor. It is in a building that is at least 600 years old but it has many modern touches. AND, the wifi works, which is a plus. The owner, Leo, greeted us and gave us lots of local information. He left us with wine, beer, bread, fruit, and coffee so we are set for supplies. We walked down to Plaza Nueva, in and out of rain showers, and found a pretty good place to eat although it was early for kitchens to be open: it was just after 7:00pm. Leo was one of several people who have pointed out how unusual this rain is. He said that usually rains only a few times a year in Granada, but that this month it has rained frequently.
Shortly after we returned to the apartment, the rain resumed.
Saturday, it rained most of the day. We headed out to breakfast when there was a break. We found a place that had been mentioned in a New York Times travel article called Al Sur de Granada. There are only 5 tables and the rest of the space is given over to wine, olive oil, honey, jamón, jams, and other delicacies. We had a good meal and coffee. Then we thought, since it was only lightly raining at the moment, that we would find the location of our evening flamenco performance. You perhaps noticed the “at the moment” in the previous sentence. You guessed it: it began to pour down. We walked in the right direction and began to think we might skip our afternoon visit to the Alhambra if the rain continued. We stopped at a branch of the Alhambra’s tienda (store) near Plaza Nueva because we thought it was raining to hard to spend the afternoon outside. By the time we got out of the store it had stopped raining. Slow learner that I am, I thought we might as well walk up the mountain (not a hill, that’s for sure) rather than take a taxi. You can guess what happened. That’s right. The rain came down in buckets as we climbed the steep hill (OK, it wasn’t a mountain, but it looks like one when you are climbing it) and after asking for directions just once, we made it onto the grounds of the Alhambra. The rain started and stopped as we walked around—mostly started.
To get into the Nasrid (Moorish) Palaces, you must have a ticket with a specific time on it. We had one, but we were early and we wanted to stay out of the rain while we waited so we went into the Alhambra museum. We are glad we did. It is a place we will have to visit again because it has 8 or 9 rooms full of historical artifacts and information.
We were still early for our entrance time, but the gatekeeper let us stand under a large umbrella with her while we waited. She didn’t have much English, but we had a pretty good conversation about the weather and other things. We always enjoy visiting the works of architectural art that are the Nasrid Palaces. They were built over several hundred years, but in the early 1800s were essentially abandoned. They are now well restored. Today’s visit was different because we had to race between buildings because it rained nearly the whole time we were there. There was a short break in the rain when we were able to get some pictures of Granada from the Alhambra.
We ended up taking a bus back down the hill because a) we were tired and b) because it was raining again.
Saturday evening we went to the Casa del Arte Flamenco which is down the hill from us, near the Plaza Nueva. It has a good reputation for the quality of its performances and we saw a great show. All of the performers were skilled, and they put lots of energy into their performances. This time, the rain happened while we were inside and we were able to walk back up the hill without using our umbrellas.
But don’t think the weather is changing for the better. Tomorrow’s forecast is for colder with thunderstorms. But even if we can’t get out—and we are hoping to be able to get back to Al Sur de Granada—we will be comfortable in the apartment.
The wifi is taking about 5 minutes to upload each picture, so I will work on more pictures for the pictures page tomorrow.
Here is a map of our busy day in Granada.