First Foray into Granada
Once again, we go looking for some mechanical parts for Emma (our mobile home). This time, it’s not an emergency but something we have to have done before the next MOT. On our way into Granada, we see the blue Mercedes sign shining at us in the dark, so we turn off and spend the night just outside the industrial estate so as to be there early the next morning. The Mercedes place refers us to a specialist workshop for making metal tubes, who point us to another garage for removing the item to be replaced. In the end, they don’t have time for us in their schedule, so nothing gets done, but we know where to return to in a few days.
Then we make our way into Granada. There is no obvious place to park for motorhomes, without having to pay through the nose, so we end up driving round and round for about an hour before finding a disused lot in Zaidìn where we can park up.
It’s a good place; it’s got a Sauna nearby, as well as a library and a local market with good veg and meat, and it’s flat to cycle into town.
In the market hall, Frank walks past the first three meat counters saying that the meat doesn’t speak to him, until he comes to Luis Xavier’s. I happily trundle along – I’m not so hot on meat, so I don’t mind. I like Luis Xavier, he has a big, friendly smile and chats away with us in English, telling us how he would love to travel in the way we do, but his wife would prefer hotels. He has a busy market stall and twins of 9 months, so travelling will have to wait a while in any case. His meat is of superb quality, so in the following days, we slowly eat our way around the meat counter, trying his lamb, his free-range chicken, his beef-burgers and a rabbit!
The library is only open to the public in the afternoon. Mornings and weekends are reserved for school children and students. Even when it is open to the public, it is a very busy and studious place with lots of young people studying or doing their homework. Our guess is that many of these young people come here because there might not be a quiet space for them at home – Zaidìn is not the richest of areas in Granada.
In the tourist office, we meet a very helpful young woman who, apart from her face, is the absolute twin of my daughter Yolanda! Everything is similar, from the way she dresses to the way she moves. There are no other tourists around, so we hang around a bit longer, getting info on this and that while being amazed at the uncanny similarity.
Our first foray into the centre of town brings us to the Corral de Carbon, which in the times of the Alhambra used to be a trading place for silk, perfumes, spices and coal. The intricate stucco designs give us a first taste of Moorish craftsmanship.
A very friendly woman from one of the offices inside the building tells us that during the summer there are concerts and theatre performances here. This must be an amazing place to be for a concert – the square courtyard with its two stories of balconies has incredible acoustics! There are a couple more photos of this beautiful building on flikr.
We stroll on into the old merchant quarter, dropping in and out of shops. We strike up a conversation about Kombucha with the woman who runs a tea house, and on the corner of a little alleyway, we bump into Washintgon Irving on a book stall, so for 9 Euros, we take him home to tell us a few of his tales in preparation for our visit to the Alhambra.
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