Well, I finally finished up with all my back posts of our trip! The photo above shows a few pieces of the loot haul, and in the dish is a small stone that I picked up from the water at Barceloneta beach. I don’t even know if it is imported or not, but the authenticity isn’t important. It’s the memory that it represents that gives it value. One of my favorite movie scenes explains what I mean.
Anyways, here are a couple lists I made about the trip.
Total miles traveled: 12,905
First trip to Africa – That makes it four continents for me!
Crossing from Africa to Europe by ferry – The so-called Strait of Gibraltar have been one of those mythical things since I was a little kid
Touching the Mediterranean – Again, like something out of a dream. Isn’t this where the Greek gods/heroes used to play?
Boquerones tapas (fried sardines)
Almejas tapas (clams)
Since I posted my trip entries after-the-fact, here’s a list you can use to easily access each one:
We spent the entire day in the city of Granada, starting with a leisurely 5-minute walk to the Catedral de Granada. It was pretty spectacular inside, and there’s even a free audio tour to enjoy. I’m not really much for churches or cathedrals, but you have to be impressed by how much effort and devotion goes into these monuments. It’s amazing.
Next up was lunch, since we didn’t have anything to eat yet. Near the cathedral, we found El Pescaito de Carmela and enjoyed some coffee, seafood, and paella. Delicious!
After lunch we headed back to our hotel to meet our tour company which picked us up around 13:30 and took us up to the tour office that is next to The Alhambra. I had procrastinated on this part of planning, so failed to buy tickets online beforehand for the “must-see” attraction in Granada, but luckily back in Morocco I sent an email to our hotel to see if they could find any tickets for us. They came through and booked us for the English tour! It cost about €52 per ticket, and included hotel pickup/dropoff, entry tickets to The Alhambra, and an English tour guide. A stand-alone ticket would cost €18.70, so for our visit to one of the top attractions in Europe, it was a no-brainer to go for the tour.
Our guide spoke good English, was funny, and had a ton of interesting information. For instance, we found out about the origin of the dollar symbol. The grounds were spectacular, and very well-maintained. I’d totally recommend the tour to anyone.
After the tour, we returned to the hotel and Mariko had a pedicure/massage, then it was time for an evening stroll and dinner. We ended up exploring the area near the cathedral again, and visited two tapas bars, the first Los Giardinos where we enjoyed pizza, pasta, and potatoes while sitting outdoors and people-watching. The cold beer was just what the doctor ordered!
Next we wandered to Plaza de bib Rambla for some shopping and more tapas! This time we stopped and ate outside at Gran Cafe Bib Rambla. We ordered a nice pitcher of sangria, and I also enjoyed my first gazpacho. Mariko and the kids think it’s gross, but I thought it was good! But, not something I’d order again. I’d much rather have some savory tapas than the veggie smoothie. We also got jamon and queso, and some other yummies that I cannot remember. We enjoyed the pleasant evening weather while sipping on cold drinks… it was heaven!
After that, we decided to go back to the hotel, but not before a dessert of helado (ice cream) at Golosita Italiana. What a great day in Granada!
We departed the ferry and took our first steps in Spain! 🇪🇸 It was the first trip to Europe for Mariko and the kids, so it was pretty special. And getting our passports stamped was cool! 😄
It was a short walk to the train station, where we bought tickets to Granada. How fun and novel to be able to communicate well with the person behind the ticket counter! Anyways, the train wound its way through some stunning Spanish countryside and mountains, stopping in some truly picturesque towns. It would have been nice to stay for a night! Honestly, that part of Spain reminded me a lot of California.
The train station in Granada is currently under renovation, so no trains can leave/arrive there at this time. Everyone who had a ticket to Granada had to exit the train at Antequera and transfer to buses that drove us to the station. It was all seamless and there were train staff and signs directing everyone to the buses.
After an hour or two on the road, we arrived in Granada and walked to our hotel, the Five Senses Hotel and Spa. I can’t say enough about how helpful the hotel staff was at the Five Senses. They secured tickets and tour of The Alhambra for us on short notice (totally my fault), were able to recommend some great tapas restaurants, helped arrange our bus transportation to Barcelona, and printed out our tickets for our upcoming museum tours. So helpful and friendly!
So, now that we were settled in Granada, it was time for tapas! Our first stop was Los Diamantes, which is known for their seafood. Along with beer and sangria, we enjoyed almejas (clams), pulpo (octopus), and boquerones (fried anchovies). It was all delicious!
After that, we went next door to La Gran Taberna for some jamon tapas and beer. The food here seemed to be old-school authentic and I was completely satisfied.
The streets in Granada are so fun. There’s a ton to see, and just people-watching is interesting. I really loved it.
After some gelato, it was back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest. What a long day! Waking up in Morocco, traveling by car, ferry, train, and bus, then finishing the day at tapas bars in Granada. Certainly one of the most memorable of my life. 😀 🇲🇦 🚖 🚆 🚌 🇪🇸