Andalucia 2012 – Granada’s Albayzin District

My first breakfast in Granada was in the modern district, at a cafe that seems to attract every cop in the city for their morning coffee. My last breakfast will be in the historic district of Albayzin, followed by a day of leisurely walk-abouts as I savor my final day in Spain.

I hop the #31 Red Tour Bus to the old Moorish quarter of Albayzin, where I have breakfast of cafe de leche with no sugar, and ‘1/2 racion de churros’ – a sort of donut but very airy and not as sweet.  I watched the cook as she swirled the vat of oil before extruding a length of batter into it, using long chopsticks to catch the batter and guide it into a spiral, flipping it once in the oil before flipping it out onto a plate. The entire process took about 45 seconds. 

The Albayzin District is whitewashed like Cordoba was, a restful change from the sites of the past couple of days.  I enter at San Nicholas Square and start wandering down streets and selected alleyways.  I find  the Great Mosque but cannot enter.  Built in 2003, it’s a modern, compact building with a tiled three-station ablution area. There’s a fountain in the courtyard and a great view of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. The view must be spectacular at night.

A farmers’ market is in full swing today. I find a shop window full of small doll-like religious figures. The white hooded figures at center look like KKK but are actually inquisitors, among other church themed figurines. It struck me as really odd, given how gruesome the Inquisition was in Granada …

There’s a blue path laid out on the cobblestones that seems to be an art installation, running from San Nicolas Square to some unknown stopping point. I follow it and discover a chapel built into a wall is all that remains of the Fortress of Granada, that pre-dates the Alhambra. Here’s a synagogue which is also closed, which has curious brass horseshoe-donkey motifs on the planters on each side of the door. I stop to photograph an iron grillwork that is nearly identical to the one on my front door at home.  It would inspire me to do a minor make-over of my front porch, to play up the Spanish influence. 

I cannot find any books, but buy some tiles as a souvenir before catching a bus to the Sacromente, which I miss and end up back downtown. By the time I arrive, it’s siesta, so the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel are closed.  I check out of my hotel and board a bus to Malaga, where I have booked a hotel close to the airport for my flight home in the morning.

I check into the Hotel Solymar, a non-descript but adequate hotel two blocks from the beach.  I walk by a granite marker inscribed with ‘Birthplace of Antonio Banderas” which cracks me up, especially when i start seeing other references in shop windows.  I do not see any such monuments dedicated to Pablo Picasso, who was also born here.  

I choose a fish restaurant on the beach and have the full attention of the staff since I’m the only one there. I look out the window towards an industrial area to the north, and an absence of sea birds over the waves.  

The tide is coming in. The beach is dirty but I take my shoes off anyway, and venture out into the surf for a stroll as the sun sets on my last day in lovely Spain. You will find photos of my final day in Spain on my photo-blog at Daveno Travels.

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