8th and 9th December 2018 – flying east

As usual I arrived at the airport in more than sufficient time because I wasn’t sure about the taxi situation and the customs process. I should not have worried because the taxi trip was fast and fair from downtown Barcelona, and then I could immediately check in and head straight off for the Lufthansa Lounge – with the customs to happen at Frankfurt in Germany.  I sat sipping tea for a long while looking down onto a concourse.  Fascinated to see the smart move; staff on Segways to get around the cavernous airport.

We flew over the Mediterranean and crossed the French coast between Nice (on my right) and Marseilles to the left of the plane. Then the stunner – snow capped Alps then Jura then Vosges mountains.  Initially the mountains were comparatively low level and covered somewhat like peaked frosted icing on a cake. Then their height increased the further we went.  Startling and spectacular.  I think I spotted Mont-Blanc in the third photo.  IMG_6200.JPG



IMG_6210.JPGFinally, the clouds removed my view. Only as we were coming into Frankfurt could I see the ground occasionally.  That’s when I realised, I had changed over from the flat roofs of Spain to the gabled and red and black roofs of parts of northern Europe. However, many of the houses I had become used to seeing in Spain were white blocks and those I looked down onto in Frankfurt were also white.

Frankfurt airport is large and complex and should be avoided if possible. Even though my connecting flight was in the same terminal it took me a brisk hard walk for a bit over half an hour to get to the new gate. The process was a smidgin less stressful than when I travelled to Barcelona; yesterday for some reason I never had my cabin luggage xrayed and checked.  Simple mercies.

Most travellers were Japanese so there was a wonderful Japanese menu on offer.  I had pre-ordered vegan and that was fine, but somehow the Japanese food looked more interesting.After two movies I decided it was time to sleep. Unfortunately, the bedding was so bad and hard that I simply couldn’t sleep so today I am taking it easy, unable to do much at all – quite bleary eyed.

I looked down and watched some of China whizzing past and then we flew over the bottom of South Korea before heading to Japan.  Once we were flying over some of Japan’s islands I was horrified.  Wherever there was a flat plain, with the exception of one small area that showed paddocks under crops, the land was covered with buildings – houses and industrial.  Everywhere as far as the eye could see.  Thousands on thousands. Built up. Land ‘reclaimed’ from the sea. All I could think was ‘awful’, isn’t this awful.  My dreams of quaint and tiny – well they might have been real in the 1970s if I had travelled here then, but they certainly had no chance of being real now.  I said to myself, a day in the airport will be enough for me!

Ros and Ian – I thought of you, and of Chikage still in Kobe.  The plane flew almost until it was over Kobe then conducted a sharp U-turn and headed for the airport; my arrival at Osaka and Kyoto’s Kensai International Airport (KIX) was predictably streamlined, and helpful people pointed me where I needed to go, and others provided useful information.  So, at this point, I would have to say my time in Japan has been stress free and it is a shame I am barely awake.

7th December 2018 – From Granada to Barcelona 

My phone alarm and then my alarm clock woke me at 5.30am and I was out the door by 6. I walked to the station briskly. Previously I may have made misleading comments – the sky was pitch black and the sun would not rise for another 2 and a half hours, but the streets and laneways were well lit.  This means when I say I walk in the dark, I am referring to the sky.

I walked with great excitement. This train trip would be the start of my journey back home, a notion that filled me with great satisfaction.  And a sense of relief. I have survived and thrived in Argentina, Uruguay, South Georgia Island, Antarctica and now Spain.  And my coughing cold has been a companion now for too many weeks.  I have experienced marvellous events and places and its time to look forward to a rest sooner than later.

At the Granada train station, I learnt that a bus had been substituted to carry us to a connecting station further inland; we departed on time. No opportunity to look at picturesque villages as we whipped through the countryside – it was dark. Except that there is a massive use of energy resources. I remember as I travelled by train southwards a week or so ago, the landscape was persistently marked by massive electricity towers and transmission lines crisscrossing the country. Whenever I glanced from the train window, they were always there close at hand or in the distance. At the time I wondered about the extent of Spain’s electricity use.  While it was still dark this morning crisscrossing the country were numerous well-lit roadways, and towns with very bright lights. I wonder if electricity is cheap for consumers and whether this is a good thing for the planet.  Today I also noticed extensive ‘plantations’ of wind farms.  And one area seemed to be a gas field.

The bus dropped us off at Antequera Santa Ana which has become a hub for travellers from Malaga, Granada, Seville and other smaller towns.  All the north and south bound trains pass through here. The train pulled in and we had a minute to get on.  A minute is a long time, so all was well.

My seat was already comfortably occupied by a middle-aged woman wearing a good quality perfume (not too heavy), with superb hair, impeccably manicured nails, and a bearing that was not pleased to be asked to vacate the seat. I recognised myself in her behaviours.  The process is you stay sitting there a smidgin longer than you should and you hope the other person will say it doesn’t matter and plonk down in the adjacent seat.  Of course, I didn’t back down and she got up slowly and then stood into the aisle in such a manner that it was impossible to get past her without giving her a nudge.  So be it.  And I claimed the window seat ‘as my right’.  When she sat down next to me and crossed her legs with her body angled away from me, she asked the children over the aisle to take a photo of her. For one moment I thought of photo bombing myself into that photo but realised the pettiness of it all and settled in to be fascinated by the changing landscape.

The train stopped at a number of cities; Puente Genil, Cordoba, Ciudad Real, Zaragoza, Llieda Pirineus (where we were back to announcements in three languages – Spanish, Catalan and English).  I made notes (well cultivated paddocks, some sheep, white cattle, fruit orchards, small towns with unsealed roads, lots of off white coloured soil -?limestone, the spreading sea of olive trees resculpting the hills and plains, so little wind that smoke lifted vertically and the rotation of the earth created a flat horizontal shape behind, pair of very large black and white herons nesting on the top of a large pole next to the railway line, soft fogs in the early morning after sun-rise and steam rising from the soil) completed puzzles, and read more of my Salman Rushdie novel ‘The Golden House’ which is a clever and intelligent read. Just before 2.30pm we pulled into Barcelona.

Throughout my time in Spain I have needed to stop and remind myself I am in Spain; I say to myself, ‘don’t forget you are actually travelling in Spain’. With my itinerary points set in place, it has been easy to think only of each as an isolated environment and to forget each place is situated in a bigger situation. In a country. This is a divided country – many Catalan people want to leave Spain and I found in the south that the Andalusians similarly want to control their part of the country.  To some extent I have ‘felt’ Barcelona, Madrid, Cordoba, Seville and Granada but I need to be here longer and browse more broadly to believe I am in Spain.

Here in Barcelona I was delighted that my hotel receptionist was waiting with a smile to tell me she had upgraded my room. This is lovely and spacious, and I am most happy.  Shame I can’t sleep in. Another early start tomorrow – off to Frankfurt on route to Japan.

I need to warn you – I will be flying for interminable hours. Unlikely to be any story in that. Once in Japan I do not have an adapter and without one I won’t be able to recharge my computer – so stories should become thin on the ground until I get back to Hobart. If there are no new blog posts – worry not; simply expect new posts in the future.

Dinner tonight over the road; a tofu salad and potatoes washed down with a northern Spain cava – better than the Granada drop.IMG_6194.JPG

IMG_6196.JPGOh – I found out in Granada why there is a lack of vegetables in restaurants.  Residents eat vegetables at home and when they go out, they want their fried treats and bread based tapas something special.  Hey – but what about the tourists?  40% of the income of the Andalusian cities I visited now comes from tourism – don’t we need our vegetables as well.  Think of those on long holidays please.

By the way, why in Australia do we call salmon samon?  How did we come to drop the ‘l’? In Spain the fish is called salmon with the ‘l’ pronounced as I was reminded everytime I said something about it and spoke of samon.

This ends my stories in Spain.  On with new chapters…

6th December 2018 – last day in Granada

It seemed appropriate to start at a leisurely pace this morning in anticipation of empty streets today, on a Spanish public holiday. In my hotel room, I mapped where to find my Barcelona hotel once the train reaches the station there tomorrow afternoon and determined how I will travel to the airport on Saturday for my early morning flight. Then I forayed out, saw most places were closed but found a small local supermarket open and was able to buy some salad and hummus for tomorrow’s 8-hour train trip back to Barcelona.  Then I set off to find the train station which I will walk to in the morning dark; as usual I didn’t watch the streets and directions well enough and so walked for ¾ an hour rather than the required 13 minutes.  So now I know, and tomorrow I will be able to drag myself and suitcase over the cobbled streets and laneways straight there.  Okay – practical matters out of the way. Onto the discoveries of the day.

I walked into the centre by a route that I had not previously used. Hardly a soul around. Nowhere to eat – cafes still closed, but churches always with their doors open.  Once in the centre I aimed at the Elvira and tea streets area hoping to find open a Syrian or Arabic café restaurant serving vegetables.  At 11 am this was a lost cause. I bought a tiny biscuit with pumpkin seeds and chopped dry fruit pressed on top from a pastry shop. This was my breakfast fortification.

Nothing for it but to wander on eastwards into the Jewish quarter.  What for I wondered.  I guess because it is there.  I certainly didn’t see anything or anyone that indicated the area was in any way Jewish.  Was this a fact of the past and if so, what was I as a tourist meant to see and make of it all.  So, I ambled along sometimes up hills and sometimes down hills along the narrow streets or in the laneways.    IMG_6138.JPG


IMG_6140.JPGI saw some street art rather than graffiti – but rarely.IMG_6142.JPG

IMG_6145.JPGAt one point, half-heartedly, I thought that I would try and walk to the edge of town closest to the Sierra Nevada. I had to have a purpose. A goal. An aim.  Every time a street came to an end with a building blocking the way, that plan was thwarted.  IMG_6137.JPG


IMG_6144.JPGI came down one hill and realised I had reached the river. Beside it, I could see an expansive open-air café with the umbrellas up for shade from the hard autumn sun.  Everyone looked well heeled and the prices reflected that.  My brunch was a mix of a plate of artichokes, red peppers, anchovies and pickled onions, a piccolo of cava (Spanish sparkling wine), a cup of black tea brewed in the mug, and an Italian icecream coffee cake (it was the cava that made me order that). IMG_6147.JPG


IMG_6156.JPG  I meandered along the edge of the constrained river, Rio Genil. IMG_6157.JPG

IMG_6159.JPG I heard music.  In the distance, crowds of people watched busking circus performers.  Nearby were massive constructions on which children could test their skills and limits, or simply have fun.  And then there were those walking their dogs, many of them everywhere.  IMG_6162.JPG



IMG_6163.JPGHundreds of people enjoying the sun, enjoying the holiday. I followed a stream of locals and found an artisan’s market with classy hand-mades.IMG_6168.JPGJune – did you ask me to photograph someone playing the bagpipes or did I dream that?IMG_6170.JPG

IMG_6172.JPGBefore long I stood beside the massive statue at Plaza Isabella Catolica.  I need to do some research because I have more than an inkling that Queen Isabella (around the late 15th century) was not my kind of woman – I think she and her husband were responsible for ordering the conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects.

Time for an afternoon nap, so I returned to my hotel and enjoyed the feeling that I didn’t have to rush or to be anywhere. And slept.

For dinner I returned to the wonderful Palmira and ate well.  Joining a green tea with mint, was a plate of rice, chickpeas and onion, and another dish using eggplant, tomato and onion.  This is a quality restaurant – there is so much more flavour in their simple dishes than in the other Arabic cafes where I have eaten.  Wonderful.

The Makmur and the Arroz with garbanzos:  IMG_6181.JPG

IMG_6183.JPGPleasant walk back. Still thousands casually on the streets with lots of strollers and prams indicating perambulation is a family affair and being outdoors in the evening is natural.

5th December 2018 –the Alhambra part 4 of 4

I left the bus in the centre of town at the Queen Isabella Plaza and went looking for the Arabic market.IMG_6111.JPGWhen I found it, all I could see were lanes and lanes of endless shops offering similar mass-produced material.IMG_6113.JPGNot for me.  Instead I found a café, sat in the plaza near one of the Cathedral doors and sipped a Sangria – watching the world go by.IMG_6116.JPG

IMG_6122.JPGInstead of walking back to the hotel I went to Elvira Street and found another Syrian restaurant.  Enjoyed a lentil soup, and a felafel, hommos and salad plate, with green tea and mint.  All of which more or less came at once.  Totally delicious and incredibly filling.IMG_6133.JPG

IMG_6134.JPGMy brunch had been some fruit purchased locally and left overs from last night’s dinner eaten sitting in the sun in the grounds of the Alhambra. These Syrian dishes were an early dinner; even as I sit and type, I still don’t feel hungry.  And having the luxury of making cups of tea in my room – what more does a traveller need?  So the day ends.

Map of Japan with surrounding countries

While I am flying from Barcelona to Japan, you can orient yourself to a new continent and begin to prepare yourself for the delights of a new culture. In the map below, note the city of Osaka – the Kensai International Airport, where I will arrive, is located slightly north west of this city and then Kyoto is another significant city situated slightly north from that.

Begin to appreciate the proximity of Japan to the neighbouring countries of China, South Korea, North Korea and Russia. I will be travelling in an area approximately 600 kms from South Korea and only about 1000 Kms from North Korea. Travel planning continues to teach me world geography and it certainly broadens my mind.

Map of Japan and other countries-added names.jpg

5th December 2018 –the Alhambra part 3 of 4

It was the Moorish architectural styles and patterns which always attracted my attention and interest in the Alhambra.  Here is a selection of details from the interiors of various palaces.IMG_6041.JPG





IMG_6050.JPGSome of the tiling patterns in the Alhambra complex were new to me.IMG_5976.JPG


IMG_6045.JPGOddments that interested me include the following door detail, floor detail and size of fireplace (in the Emperor’s quarters).  IMG_5974.JPG


IMG_6071.JPGExpansive views from buildings showed aspects of Granada clearly.IMG_5981.JPG


IMG_6068.JPGThe decorative work on the walls enthralled me.  These relief patterns are made in plaster and extend over very high and wide walls.  The designs are based on the shapes of plants.IMG_5983.JPG













5th December 2018 –the Alhambra part 2 of 4

Once in through the entrance, I walked along a pleasant pathway and was first introduced to some aspects of the gardens, albeit with the occasional tower, brick and stone walls, and archaeological remains of earlier dwellings in the vicinity. Garden highlights included the following;   IMG_5957.JPG




IMG_6106.JPGThe variety of architecture reflected the fashions and aspirations of different rules and centuries. Here is a selection of the exteriors of buildings;  IMG_5963.JPG

IMG_5965.JPG  IMG_5966.JPG


IMG_5970.JPG IMG_6090.JPG

IMG_6098.JPG Again, I was fascinated everytime I looked up as I walked through buildings. Here is another selection of ceilings – all different, and all different from those in Seville.       IMG_5975.JPG





IMG_6046.JPG    IMG_6049.JPG






IMG_6077.JPGThere was much more.

5th December 2018 –the Alhambra part 1 of 4

My scheduled visit time to the Nasrid Palaces is midday so I need to be in the Alhambra complex well before then to have had time to walk to these palaces; apparently times are strictly enforced and if I am late, I miss out.  The entrance to the complex, perhaps 4km or more from my hotel, is up a series of wind backs on a steep hill. I have already decided to dispense with walking, to dispense with a combination of walking and a bus, and to take a taxi.  The Alhambra is massive, and I will be walking and walking and walking some more, and in the one day of my visit I won’t have time to see it all – so taking a taxi there and a taxi back to Elvira street at the end of the day for more Arabic food seems like a good option.  Then, maybe I will walk back to my hotel depending on what my feet are telling me.

Now back at the hotel earlier than expected.  I took a taxi to the Alhambra, a local bus back to the city before walking to the hotel a little later.

Cordoba’s Calahorra Tower ‘revelations’ sold me a pup.  Today I found that Granada’s Alhambra didn’t thrill me.  Firstly, in Cordoba I had the story that an Islamic leader and Christian King decided to get on and accept each other’s religion and all live happily ever after. In Granada I learnt that the King duped the Islamic community- all was well for two months and then the King reneged and began the expulsion of Muslims if they didn’t convert to Christianity. Last night I was outside the site of the church which used to be a mosque and then, when the persecution started, those Muslims who converted were still made to walk the ‘street of shame’ and drink wine and eat pork while doing so in public.  Just one example of the awful situation back then – circa 15th century.  Everything centred around the Alhambra including the fact that the Christian King built his palaces within the Islamic buildings at the complex.  It was impossible as an outsider to tell, when I was in a particular space, whether it was used for Christian or Islamic purposes – just by looking. Without the audio guide giving me a few pieces of history, I could not make a determination.

People who have been to Spain strongly recommend visiting Granada for the Alhambra. If a traveller can’t/doesn’t see the Mesquita in Cordoba and the Real Alcazar in Seville, then I feel sure they will swoon over the Alhambra.  But for me it was an anticlimax.  There will be some who will gasp audibly when I say that, in the main, I was bored.  Parts of the buildings were stunning; however, I had seen so much that was similar before – and in my view better.

Today, while I saw and marvelled at new tile patterns, new ceiling structures, and variations on arches and windows, only the decorative wall plaster work seemed more varied and creative than that which I had previously seen. The size of the Alhambra complex is huge and the range of structures and their history diverse.  However, it left me with a dead feeling. Perhaps I have seen too much and need time out to digest all the ideas whirling in my head. Perhaps I need the simplicity of out of city experiences.

When I had a discussion with a tourism officer about what else I could experience in Granada or its surrounds other than churches, she made some suggestions which I will follow tomorrow. I also asked whether there would be any special events for tomorrow’s national holiday; I found nothing was expected except that a lot of shops will be shut.  I imagine the centre of Granada might be empty except for ‘lost’ tourists.  I tried to book myself on a day trip with a small group to explore a bit of the Sierra Nevada but that didn’t work out. Then I tried for another trip to deserts and caves and archaeological sites outside Granada. I actually booked that one, but the operators came back telling me they needed to move that trip to Saturday. By then I will be in Barcelona heading for the airport to fly to Japan. It seems to me as if tomorrow will be a settling down, getting ready to leave sort of day interspersed with some walking into new suburbs such as the Jewish quarter.

Okay – the Alhambra.  What to say and what to show.IMG_5948.JPGThe stunning snow on the Sierra Nevada glowed as a backdrop.IMG_6103.JPG



4th December 2018- to Granada from Seville part 2 of 2

Back at the hotel, I was able to post an earlier piece onto the blog.  It works. It works. It works.

Once that was completed, it was time to walk to the starting point of the tour scheduled for 4.30-7pm.  There was a small group of 7 of us; 2 German women, a family of 3 Colombians and an excellent guide who had an undergraduate degree, a Masters degree and one year completed of a PhD in Islamic Studies.  She walked us up (and I mean up steep uneven stairs) into the old city (known as the Albaicin) and onto Sacromonte (set up by the gypsies in the 16th century just outside the then city wall). Apart from all the interesting facets of these suburbs themselves, we had superb views before and after sun set of the Alhambra where I will spend much of tomorrow (that monumental building on the top of the distant hill).  Look closely at the second, third and fourth photos for the glorious snow on the Sierra Nevada in the distance.  IMG_5868.JPG



IMG_5893.JPGPretty. Hard work living there because of the steepness and the steps (heaven help anyone who wanted a grand piano up there), almost no roads for cars but motor bikes can ‘climb’ or descend some of the stairs.  IMG_5873.JPG


IMG_5878.JPGSo many places using Carmen as the first name of the house.IMG_5876.JPGThe following photo really helps to understand that while some of Granada is in the valley/on the plain, there are lots of hills – and I was on one.IMG_5916.JPGWe stopped at San Nicolas plaza and waited for the sun to set.  Musicians played and sung (and shouldn’t give up their day jobs by my reckoning), others sold trinkets from mats and blankets laid out, and did I smell dope in the air – some locals were having a happy time.  Brilliant view, and incredibly pleasant atmosphere.

We had a look at a contemporary mosque moments before it shut for sunset prayer, and we watched the women go into their own entrance for prayer.   The ceiling in the entrance foyer was intricate, colourful and impressed me – as an extension of my focus yesterday at the Royal Palace in Seville. I have now learnt they are all based on the idea of stalactites coming down.IMG_5912.JPGThe evening sky stunned all who watched it.IMG_5895.JPGAnd then we watched the changes on the Alhambra as it was lit for the evening.IMG_5927.JPG


IMG_5936.JPGYou can’t beat a good view!

Into Sacromento we continued. We looked at some of the entrances to the caves which the original inhabitants had turned into houses. Some had cave like appearances and others presented as houses but inside were rooms carved from caves.  This is a living operational suburb – with great views and close to town – but those steps. I don’t know.

The home of Flamenco dancing and music was explained and one place where it is performed each night in a cave, was pointed out.IMG_5932.JPG

IMG_5934.JPGOriginally Flamenco was a private family practice associated with Muslims trying to side step conversion to Christianity and going into gypsy cave homes and celebrating events such as marriage- trying to avoid prosecution during the inquisition, etc.  In the 19th century Granada’s first ever tour guide persuaded the gypsies to perform for the continental travellers of the time and be paid for it. Since then Flamenco performances have become established tourism fodder.IMG_5937.JPG

IMG_5938.JPGBack at the guide’s office she showed the Germans and I where to get further vegan food – and the place where I had lunch was her favourite place.  I knew I loved it and how fortunate that others have good taste as well!  I headed off to the street known as the ‘Tea Street’ because it is renowned for many cafes serving tea Arabic style. I found a place which served a wonderful meal, starting with a thin layer of fresh Hummus sprinkled with paprika and a thick light bread, followed by a plate of couscous and carrots and zucchini cooked to perfection. In the centre was a tangle of caramelised onions and sultanas. All washed down with a green tea with mint by a different name than the one at lunch – this was Muruno.  IMG_5941.JPG


IMG_5944.JPGAt the end of the meal I was given a sweet Arabic style pastry.  I haven’t eaten it but will take it with me tomorrow on the marathon effort which will be my walk around the Alhambra.IMG_5947.JPGI walked the kilometre or so easily back to my hotel without fear. Let’s say today was a 12 to 15 km day and every step worthwhile. I am loving Granada.  Everyone should put this city on your wish list!

4th December 2018- to Granada from Seville part 1 of 2

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.IMG_5829.JPGI 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.IMG_5835.JPGA 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.IMG_5841.JPG

IMG_5849.JPGI 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.IMG_5850.JPG


IMG_5852.JPGBack to the hotel passing a pomegranate tree, a swag of dried chilli, and fresh picked mandarins – or were they small oranges.IMG_5855.JPG

IMG_5857.JPGSeeing the bland coloured tomatoes, I now understand why tomato sauces look anaemic.IMG_5858.JPGWandered through the San Agustin Mercado and found, quite disturbingly, the goats (or are they lambs/sheep) had their eyes on me.  IMG_5863.JPG


IMG_5865.JPGThere was a great deal of fresh fish and meat.IMG_5866.JPGEverywhere was fresh and clean.  Hello Granada.