I walked out of my Seville hotel into the lamp lit plaza a little before 7am (Later I saw the sun rise at 8.30am directly into the bus driver’s eyes – these long dark mornings continue to surprise me) and walked the narrow almost empty lanes to the Plaza Santa Cruz. I waited in the dark and, on time, my taxi appeared. We arrived at the bus terminal easily and when I entered, I was reminded of so many down-at-heel bus stations I have passed through in my life – not the least of which is Redline’s bus depot in Hobart. They have a completely different look and feel to train stations and airports. It is almost as if they are the transport hub for those who simply don’t want or can’t walk to their destination, and they have no other means. I could have flown between the two cities, but I wanted the experience of seeing the countryside and I fantasised about cute little pueblas. Silly me. We were on main highways and whizzing along with large transports and, as would be expected in Australia, these roads bypass small towns. The towns that were visible and reasonably close to the road had the same range of light and heavy industrial buildings that I would expect to see anywhere in this century. In other words, the pueblas I knew in Mexico in the mid-1970s don’t exist any longer. All manner of facets of contemporary life have been added onto the past or have modified the look and feel of towns in the past. Of course!
The reward for taking the morning bus came near the end of the 3-hour journey; the snow-covered Sierra Nevada shone in the morning sun.I realised that Granada is somewhat at the base and I felt it had a connection with Hobart. Completely different but somehow familiar. Later I learnt the population of Granada is around 240,000 so it is larger than Hobart by perhaps 100,000. On the ground, despite all the Arabic influences, there is an easy feeling which some of the small cities of Australia offer.
A tourism stand was close to the bus station exit and a smiling helpful officer gave me a map, explained what and where, and sold me on a paid walking tour this evening. Later I realised that I am so overwhelmed, not well, and perpetually tired that my decision making is faulty. Walking tour – yes. Paid walking tour – no. How did I get the difference mixed up? Anyway, I am glad that I did buy into it. Had a brilliant tour – described later in today’s posts.
Was too lazy/overwhelmed to navigate the local buses and caught a taxi to my hotel. Straight to my room – and surprise surprise. It was so unexpected that I had to take a photograph.A jug and mugs were set up on a table – no tea or coffee (but later I realised this is a part Arabic town where tea is as common as coffee, and maybe some people travel with their own tea). During my travels, I had collected a few tea bags as memory bags – out of my suitcase they came, and I boiled the jug. How wonderful to be able to have a cup of tea in my room. (Today I bought a packet of tea bags; now I can continue drinking in my room each day whenever I am here. I now see it as a luxury only offered normally in Australia.) Next, I tried the WiFi. To my surprise I could get WordPress on my phone again. That was a good sign, but I didn’t push it. I didn’t set up my computer and try then. It was after midday and I had not eaten anything yet for the day; I was starving – time to find real food. And off I went partly guided by the bus station help and the hotel receptionist advice.
When I left the main streets and started walking in a few lanes and alleys, I struck gold and had the best meal; authentic, tasty and wonderful. Nothing fried in sight. No chicken, beef, lamb, cheese or eggs in my meal. Made by a Syrian daughter and father duo.
I ordered a lentil soup then the Plato de Habas which was a hot dish of beans, lemon and sesame sauce. Washed down with a Marroqui – green tea with mint; poured from a chased silver teapot into a narrow glass.
Back to the hotel passing a pomegranate tree, a swag of dried chilli, and fresh picked mandarins – or were they small oranges.
Seeing the bland coloured tomatoes, I now understand why tomato sauces look anaemic.Wandered through the San Agustin Mercado and found, quite disturbingly, the goats (or are they lambs/sheep) had their eyes on me.
There was a great deal of fresh fish and meat.Everywhere was fresh and clean. Hello Granada.