If you can’t trust the weather forecast, what can you trust?
Sunday and Monday, March 10 & 11, in Granada
On Saturday evening in Granada the weather forecast for Sunday was cold and thunderstorms. That seemed pretty reasonable given the weather on Saturday, which had lots of rain.
The weather forecast was wrong!
But don’t get excited. The wrong part was that there weren’t thunderstorms. There was plenty of rain and cold, though. In the morning the sky was nearly clear but it was cold—in the low 40s. But we got out and about fairly early. We returned to Al Sur de Granada, where we had breakfast on Saturday, for another good meal. On Sunday, it was almost all local people in the restaurant so we heard lots of Spanish. I had fig marmalade on a small loaf of toasted bread covered with liquid chocolate.
While we were there, I looked up the name of the street we were on—Calle Elvira—to see who “Elvira” was, thinking it was the name of a person. I was wrong; It is/was the name of another city and we were next to Puerta Elvira, which was one of the gates into old Granada. At one time Calle Elvira was the longest street in Granada and the main route for goods into the city. Since the development of the Gran Via de Colón, which is a couple of blocks south, in the 1880s, Calle Elvira has lost much of its importance, much as Route 66 through the Southwest in the U.S. lost importance with the coming of the interstate system. Now, Calle Elvira is a narrow, twisty road with tired buildings and small shops on either side.
The old gate is so large (though without doors) that we had walked through it several times without even realizing it was there.
After breakfast, which would have been more like brunch if they had such a thing in Granada, we headed for the Granada Cathedral down the Gran Via de Colón (Columbus Avenue, I suppose). There were a few sprinkles on the way.
Instead of the Cathedral, we stopped at the Royal Chapel, which is attached to the Cathedral. Inside, this “chapel” is larger than most churches. I am sorry that no photos were allowed because it was an impressive place with large open spaces and large columns. Some of the side rooms (which were the sacristy at one time) have been converted into a museum with a good collection of artifacts and paintings from the 1500s and 1600s. The tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella (of reconquest and Columbus fame; los Reyes Católicos) are in the chapel along with the tombs of Philip the Handsome and Joanna I.
We then walked back through the Albaicín district towards our apartment. When we walked down the street that parallels the Darro river at the foot of the hills of the Alhambra in the morning there was a race of some sort going on. Runners, most of whom were amateurs, had started up in the Alhambra and ran downhill before turning onto Carerra del Darro at Plaza Nueva, and heading back up the hill. I don’t know how long the race was or where it ended, but there were lots of runners, with lots of cheering people and even a “band” to make noise. I mention this only because on the way back, several hours later, up near our apartment there was still a crowd of people. As we came closer we saw that there was a new start line and behind it, lots and lots of little kids. They were all 6 or less, I would guess. Many of them were accompanied by a parent because they could hardly stand, much less run. Many were so excited they could not stand still. We waited for the start and took pictures. I think the “course” was only a couple of hundred meters long, but they tried hard. Several fell, but no one was trampled. Lots of people took pictures. I took a video but I have to figure out how to capture a still from it.
As we got, literally, to our door the rain began in earnest. And, for the rest of the day and night, the wind blew and the rain came down in buckets. But no thunderstorms, so the forecast was wrong. WE spent a pleasant evening inside, comfortable and warm. The rain faked me out at one point and I walked up to the cave where we will see flamenco tonight to be sure that I knew the way. It was less than a half-mile each way, but I got rained on several times before I returned.
On Monday, the day dawned nearly clear, but cold. So far there has been no rain and it is almost 7:oo pm. We have had alternating clouds and sun, but low winds. We think the is the first day of the last 14 that we haven’t had enough rain to make us use an umbrella. In fact, we think it is only the 3rd day of our trip without rain.
We decided to go to the Cathedral today, so we walked down Calle San Juan de los Reyes. The church of San Gregorio Bético is on the way and, for once, it was open. The church is built on the site of a Moorish prison used to hold Christians until the reconquest in 1492. It could not be a greater contrast to the Royal Chapel and the Cathedral. It is simple in design inside and out and offers a few stained glass windows and a very nice altarpiece.
We spent a good bit of time in the Cathedral. The spaces in it are large, and parts of it are filled with light from the high windows. There are two massive organs from the 1740s, but Patricia tells me they still work. There are many side chapels and the sacristy has been converted into a small museum. The Cathedral construction began in the early 1500s but as with all projects this size, it took a long time to finish so there is a mixture of styles. In fact, I would say that some of the side chapels are more ornate than the main space and major altar.
The dome over the main altar is very high. I was surprised (though I don’t know why) to learn that the Royal Chapel began construction before the Cathedral.
We had lunch at a nearby restaurant we liked on our last visit. It is called “Siloé.” I looked up the name and found that it is the name of one of the architects of the Cathedral (although there seems to be some doubt that). Thinking the “starters” would be tapas (small plates) we each ordered one plus an entrée. The starters were quite large—and quite good. We began to doubt that we would be able to make a dent in our entrees, but we did fine. Patricia’s salad and my tosta were good and we did them justice.
Tonight we have a flamenco performance scheduled at 10:00 but it seems pretty cold out right now, so perhaps we won’t go.
Tomorrow we will pack and take a bus/train combination to Córdoba. There is supposed to be rain, so we will see how that works out.
Here is a map of our peregrinations around Granada on Sunday.