Granada (Semana Santa part 2)

Leaving Madrid for Granada at 6:00am, we had one of the nicest long-haul bus rides I’ve ever been on. There was free wifi, individual screens on each seat, and best of all, the most amazing views of the morning fog lifting off the hills. One of my most successful Spanish-speaking moments was also on this bus, as I remembered enough from my IGCSEs to have a small conversation with the woman sitting next to me. Success!

Granada is a beautiful medieval city with a large student population. It was also full of tourists for the holiday. Walking around the center, you can see why it is such an attraction. There is stunning architecture at every turn, and orange trees everywhere. We didn’t take any oranges (is it legal?), but were amazed at the sheer quantity.

After a short lunch and walk we headed off to Güéjar Sierra, a small mountain village about 45 minutes away from the city.

Güéjar Sierra was gorgeous. It’s a ski town, and many of the other visitors were actually skiing on the other side of the mountain. In March! We stayed here in an extremely cute ski house.

On our second day in Granada we decided to take a hike in Monachil, a small village in the Sierra Nevada national park. Even though we couldn’t finish the whole loop (we only had a narrow window here), it was absolutely incredible.

When we got back to Granada from Monachil, we had a couple of hours to spend while waiting for our bus back to the house. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because as we were sitting at the cafe, drinking our chocolate and eating crepes, we got to see a procession go by. The outfits for Semana Santa took a while to get used to. This particular celebration went through Granada, and thousands were out to watch. Don’t worry though, the alter got under the traffic light!

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Upon return to Güéjar Sierra, there was a similar procession going on. It was much smaller, and no Nazarenes. It was a really nice ceremony, and all the kids were heavily involved.

On our final day in Granada we wanted to go to the Alhambra, but unfortunately could not get tickets. That’s ok though, because instead we walked around the grounds, and did the Llano de la Perdiz loop. The views were spectacular. There was a playground on the top, with fun workout materials and soccer fields. Because it was a national holiday, there were also many families having barbecues up there.

After coming down from the mountain, we had a few hours for lunch before heading back to Madrid, so of course we had to try the seafood paella. It was warm enough to eat outside (I still am recovering from that sunburn), and we sat for hours just drinking sangria and trying to finish this enormous dish.

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And that’s it! Big thank you to my friend for hosting us. I had such an amazing time and was so lucky to be able to visit.

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