Days in Madrid – The Palacio Real de Madrid, Plaza Mayor & San Miguel Market

Madrid was the final destination city in my trip to Spain, and although it didn’t compare to Seville, Granada, Valencia, or Barcelona that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of a visit.  It does have fantastic day trips like Toledo & Segovia but if you have a sunny day or two, I definitely recommend walking around the capital city of Spain.

If it’s a beautiful day take a walk or a jog in Retiro Park, a beautiful large city park that has a little peace and quiet for everyone.  There’s also plenty of museums to visit but I warn you that the lines will be long.  We skipped most museums due to long waits, the cost, and the fact that I was sick.

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Madrid, unlike Barcelona and any of the other large Spanish cities I visited is a concrete jungle.  The roads are boulevards and are easy to walk around and navigate.  Pick any main street off the park and I’m sure you’ll find something picture worthy.  After all, Madrid was built at a time when the Spanish Empire was at its glory.

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Another unique thing that I noticed in Madrid were these vertical gardens.  Pretty neat way to find some gardening space.

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One of the biggest tourist stops in Madrid is Plaza Mayor.  The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events: markets, bullfights, soccer games, public executions, and, during the Spanish Inquisition, “autos de fe” against supposed heretics and the executions of those condemned to death.

Madrid 105Now it’s just mostly municipal buildings with heavily armed security guards and overpriced cafes similar to NYC.  However, since coffee is only a few Euros, I recommend sitting with a cup and people watching.  You’ll see pretty much anything walk by in just half an hour.
Madrid 108 Right next to Plaza Mayor is the famous  Mercado de San Miguel, an indoor market of many eateries.  To hold me over for dinner I had a few bites with different seasoned fishes.  They were good but didn’t compare to the freshness and flavor of Barcelona’s Mercat de Mercats.  Plus on a late Saturday afternoon the market was so packed that trying to see your options or placing an order was a struggle.

Madrid 107On our last full day in Madrid, which also happened to be my sickest and rainest day, we went to check out the Palacio Real de Madrid, Madrid Royal Palace.  It was only about a 30 minute walk but with the rain we decided to take a ride on the metro instead.  As you can see, not even my own mother wanted to sit next to me.

We had this idea that because it’s rainy, no one else would wait in a line to go to the palace in the rain.  We were wrong.  We waited two hours in the rain to get inside because I was I was under the mentality of how much longer could the wait be.  Luckily Tony brought me coffee while I stood under my umbrella sneezing everywhere.  I was damn sexy.

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Due to the “delicate nature” of the royal estate apartments, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside.  I think it’s mostly due to a conspiracy to make you buy their books.  Just picture lots of old tapestry and gold, lots and lots of gold in giant ornate ceilings.

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Instead we had to take our photo shoot outside.  This is in front of the royal Cathedral.

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Yup by the end of the trip my mom and Tony have been best buds.

If I had to pick my favorite park of Madrid, it would be a bakery, a crazy busy bakery.

Madrid 111 La Mallorquina, in the Sol area of Madrid was my mecca!  This pastelería has been a local and tourist favorite since 1894. Its name derives from the original Mallorcan owner.
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I can vouch from the 5, 10, 20 things I may have tasted that everything was delicious

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Segovia – Sleeping Beauty and the Roman Aqueduct

Segovia is awesome and I’m not the only one that thinks so.  Segovia is one of the Spanish cities competing to be chosen as European capital of culture in 2016!

When you’re traveling in a new city with a different language you’re bound to have some trouble.  Now for a two-week trip everything went perfectly to plan until we tried to get to Segovia.  Unlike Toledo, the AVE train to Segovia is north of Madrid, Chamartin train station.  To get to Chamartin we had to take a combination of subway and metro to cut time.  There might have been some confusion and we had a little less time then we would have liked to find our AVE train at Chamartin.  We might have jumped on one train that sad Segovia that quickly closed it’s doors and we were stuck! Were we going to Segovia? A street named Segovia?  Or who knows what else?
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Two hours later in anger and in silence with some beautiful mountain views we did end up in Segovia, only over an hour longer than we planned.  Turns out you can take a high speed rail, or a local commuter rail, only difference is the view, one goes over mountains, one goes through, and the time.  The difference in cost was a few Euros as well but not that bad. The train also arrives at the old station vs. the new station and that my friends is a whole story for the end.

In About 8 minutes you are greeted with one of the most fairy-tale skyline I have ever seen.  The star of it all is the Segovia Alcazar.

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It is said that the Segovia Alcazar is the inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty (below).

One of the coolest parts about the castle, was how you go about to get up the hill.  It’s surrounded by a moat and a wilderness area that has an awesome trail around it.  I even saw a runner or two there as we walked.  You then cross a bridge and go up a long staircase to keep in theme with the fairy-tale image.

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You can also go through the town to get to the castle, but where’s the fun in that.

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I’d probably say the best thing about this Alcazar is everything on the outside.  I mean Disney is cool and all but it don’t compare to the real thing.  Plus there was a lot less screaming kids around.

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We did pay to go inside.  There was a small room with armory to look at but nothing major compared to the collection in Madrid.  The castle is currently a museum and home of the Spanish General Military Archives.  Entrance was around 6 or 8 euros.

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The rooms of the castle were bare and empty so we were allowed to take some photographs.  The ceilings were probably the best part covered in typical Spanish Empire ornate gold.

Segovia 7 This was the royal meeting hall
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You also got to take a peak into the cellar of the castle but it was all just bare and clean.  Personally I think it would have been cooler if the armory display was downstairs.

To get a view from the tower you had to buy a separate ticket.  Something the ticket-booth person never told us.  We decided it wasn’t worth paying after the disappointment that was the castle.  Plus the tower really didn’t go that much higher
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After the castle we sat around in the cold to take in more of the magnificent view.

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We walked around the Segovia Cathedral

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And the old Jewish sector

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Past many trinket shops and tourist cafes until we reached the other main attraction.  The Roman Aqueducts.  These were built by the Romans around the late 1st Century AD to supply water to the roman military fort on the hill. The Aqueduct’s highest point is 28 meters in Azoguejo Square.

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The water was transported using the inverted siphon method which forces water from higher ground to lower terrain back up to higher terrain using the pressure of the water. To me that just means magic.

The Segovia aqueduct transports waters from Fuente Fría river, 11 mi from the city in a region known as La Acebeda. It runs another 9.3 mi before arriving in the city.  The water is first gathered in a tank known as El Caserón (or Big House), and is then led through a channel to a second tower known as the Casa de Aguas (or Waterhouse). There it is naturally decanted and sand settles out before the water continues its route. Next the water travels 796 yd on a one-percent grade until it is high upon the Postigo, a rocky outcropping on which the old city center, the Segovia Alcázar, was built. Then, at Plaza de Díaz Sanz the structure makes an abrupt turn and heads toward Plaza Azoguejo..

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From the top of the aqueduct you get a splendid view of the square both past and present

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Now the story of how to get back to Madrid.. as mentioned before we still had our AVE tickets where the train departed from the new station.  While we knew the station was about 5K away, we didn’t know that it was 5K away from the outskirts of Segovia on a highway!

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Luckily for us there were very few cars as it was a holiday.  The few cars that drove past us looked like we were crazy!  Who wouldn’t, as two lost Americans walk with nothing but a cow in sight in search of a train station.  We did pass a gas station who asked us if we had bikes at least and looked in disbelieve when we told her we were walking to the train.  In total I think the 5K was more of a 5 mile walk.  If an empty cab would have passed us we would have grabbed in, however, our only option was to just keep walking at that point.  In retrospect two hours on a train doesn’t seem so bad with our two-hour walk on a highway with tumbleweeds and cows!

Tips for visiting Segovia

  • Pick your bus or train carefully – My first tip is to figure out how you’re getting there and back.  The bus is probably the best bet as it drops you off right at the town center and leaves once or twice an hour from Madrid.  If you take AVE, there is a bus that goes from the highway to town center so look that up, walking is definitely uncomfortable.  You will be on a highway with several rotaries.  You do not want to be walking rotaries.  You can also take the commuter rail which drops you off at the old station in Segovia, but it’s about a 2 hour commute.  The trains also unlike the bus arrive and leave less frequently.
  • The best sites are outside – The Alcazar is more enjoyable from the outside than the outside.  Walking around was splendid and probably the best thing to do in Segovia.
  • Don’t miss out on the Roman aqueducts!  There’s also metal posts on the ground of the aqueducts that are underground.  Look out for those!
  • Buy the two part ticket for the Alcazar – Admission to the Alcazar doesn’t buy admission to the tower, so be careful which ticket you buy.

Madrid – Adventures in Pubs and Bites

Within a few hours of the rail, we went from Granada to Madrid.  Compared to southern Spain, honestly it felt like misery.  It was cold 40s-50s with pouring rain.  In fact it literally rained all day the first day we were there.  Luckily we found a small burger joint called Neilla’s near us.  It was crowded, but it was cheap and it wasn’t McDonald’s.

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Tony was so hungry he got himself a deluxe burger and a chicken sandwich.

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I got a smoked salmon salad but I haven’t figured out how to say dressing on the side in Spanish yet =(


The apartment we were renting was near Retiro Park. I had dreams of running before it decided to infinitely rain and I got sick.  Anyways one of the perks of renting an apartment is that we got to save some $$$ by making our own meals.  Sadly the clementines didn’t compare to the freshness of Barcelona and Valencia, however, the freshly baked bread was delicious. It’s a shame there’s no good baguette places in Boston!

Madrid at night

Anyways, around rush hour, Madrid Puerta Del Sol area gets packed with commuters, tourists, and performers.

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One evening in search of some fried bites we checked out Malaspina, sorta steam punk looking bar with a touch of modern Spain.

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Upon ordering we were greeted with this cheesy ham bites.  This sampler wasn’t enough so we ordered a few more.

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We also got these tomato toasts that were kinda nasty IMO, but this potato tart that came with it was tasty.

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The final disappointment of the night was calamari.  It was fresh but the batter could have used some more flavor.  Our stomachs felt very disappointed by the bites, which was a shame since the place had 4 stars on TripAdvisor.

Luckily, you can’t disappoint with wine.  The wine is always good!

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On another night we checked out Fatigas del Querer, another pub in the Sol area of Madrid.  I normally despise staying in city centers but my mom didn’t want to travel out into a more neighborhood hang out, so there we were.  Around 10pm there was about a 45 minute wait.  We hung out by the bar, drank some yummy sangria.  The food here was slightly better.  Tony ordered a fake paella,  and I got a hefty piece of steak.

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As for my mother?  She stayed on the liquid diet 😉

Visiting Toledo, Spain – Lost in a Medieval Capital

Toledo, Spain

With an easy 30 minute AVE train ride from Atocha REF station in Madrid, Tony and I found ourselves in Toledo, a former capital of Spain and UNESCO World Heritage site. Many other travelers got off ready for their day trip around Toledo.  At the station a long of tour buses try to sell their tour.  Most get on one of those hop on and off tour buses or took a taxi.  When the hustle and bustle of the tourist business slowed down, Tony and I were left all alone.

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Alone we decided to just walk over from the station to the downtown area in what turned out to be a pretty easy walking/bike path

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A city built upon and around a hill was met within 5 minutes. We laughed at the fools who took a cab to the city center. Sitting at the top of the hill is the Toledo Alcazar that was built by Romans and a stone wall that might be one of the oldest in Spain. The Alcazar houses mostly government offices, a library and a museum that we decided to skip out on.

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We ran up the steps of the city Rocky style only to realize at the top of the crazy hill is an escalator   AN ESCALATOR  That ran from the garage under the city.  I don’t know why but I felt crushed and disappointed by this modern addition to such a beautiful medieval city.

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Toledo has some of the oldest and most beautiful city walls I have ever seen.

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It was cold compared to Southern Spain (54 degrees) and besides opening up to some beautiful stone structures, walking around was also another way to try to stay warm.

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The streets similar to the older quarters in Seville, were super narrow and curvy.  I always made sure to lean a little closer to the wall because you never knew when a high-speed taxi or rental car would come charging down a hill.

Toledo Spain 7The only problem there is about wandering around and getting lost is that i have no idea what I’m looking at or maybe i don’t remember. One of the many decorated buildings in Toledo.  I think it was a small church or a government building.

Toledo Spain 2One of my favorite sites that you just can’t miss is the Toledo Santa Maria Cathedral.
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As cold as it was, I took a few minutes to sit down and take in the details that make this so much different then the Seville or Barcelona Gothic Cathedrals.

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I skipped going inside as at $8 per person I don’t think I would have seen anything more exciting inside that I haven’t seen in other Cathedrals throughout this trip.  However, there was more than enough to admire from the outside.  These statues reminded me of soldiers!

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Although my favorite part of it all were the lions and gargoyle statues.

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I have no sense of direction so I can’t tell you for sure but I think if you walk North or whichever way is in the direction of the bull ring you come out of a beautiful stone entry way to a main road that has one of the best views of the city!

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Although Toledo is a city that was made up of multiple cultures (Roman, Visigoth, Emirates of Cordoba, and of course the Spanish) and religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and time periods, the majority that thrives the most would be the churches and catholic influenced structures and symbolism.  However, take the time to walk around the Jewish and Muslim parts.

The synagogue and mosque may not have the same grandeur as the cathedral, but are worth a walk around at least on the outside.  Just like the cathedral, both the mosque and synagogue charge admission and towards the end of the trip I was a little more clingy to my remaining Euros.  In retrospect the one thing I wish I did was pay to visit the synagogue as I now know it’s one of the oldest still standing synagogue buildings in Europe.  What I’m seeing online are some beautiful Judaic stucco decor and it would have been great to see.

Final Tips on Visiting Toledo, Spain

  • Take the AVE high-speed direct train – It’s about $9 each way and only 30 minutes.  I also recommend buying the tickets a day or two before.  The ticket line can be a little long at times and on nicer weekends the popular morning and evening train times sells out.  After getting off the AVE, i recommend walking there instead of taking a cab.  There’s also a public bus that runs there but I think it goes in a roundabout way so walking would be faster.
  • Wear comfortable shoes – It’s hilly and cobble stoned so unless you’re doing a bus tour, I think you want your feet to be comfortable.  I wore Toms and those were fine, I would just skip heels and possibly even wedges.
  • Get Lost – From what I saw, the best thing to do in Toledo is to get lost in this beautiful medieval city.  Sure there are museums and trinket shops with beautiful swords but that’s if you have and want to spend money.  Walk around as with each turn you’ll walk into another beautiful sight.  Cozy up with a cafe con leche at a random hole in the wall.
  • Free WiFi – There’s a McDonald’s in the town plaza that has free WiFi   Could be useful if you’re looking for a specific place to eat or trying to check the train schedule for an earlier train back to Madrid.  Or just want to catch up on emails.  There’s local cafes all around but I didn’t see any with WiFi.

Free Tapas in Granada

Free Food!  Free Food! Well almost… the price?  A cheap glass of wine or beer!  And some of it is even good food!  Wine + Greasy Food = Happy Liana.  And that my friends is my summary of Granada dining.

Tapas, a food that was designed to go with drink, is sadly no longer free in most places even in Spain.  One exception is Granada and they vary in range and quality.

Our Airbnb host mentioned a street we should walk down for the best tapas but sadly that went in one ear and out other another in our traveling daze.  Instead we just wandered around.

The first place we hit was a snazzy little small bar with lamps and curtains creating a small Moorish haven.

With a small beer that I think was a euro each Tony walked away with a fajita while I munched on a hummus, olive and ham platter.  Although not the highest quality of grub, it motivated us to continue on our tapas bar crawl.

On our next stop we hit Bodega la Antigualla, a tiny Medieval style bar along a street in El Albayzín.  Aside from a ton of armor decorating the walls the place was cozy and warm on a cold even that was all we could ask for.  Tony and I decided to get a mojito with our tapas.

Yes that my friends is not a tapa, that is a meal!

A toasted ham, cheese and tomato sauce sandwich sprinkled with oregano and some yummy fries with not one but two sides of sauce.  I wasn’t into the creamy tartar like one but I appreciated that tomato one.

If you want a more proper meal, I recommend checking out one of the many Middle Eastern restaurants in the area.  We went to Teteria y Restaurante Marrakech (I think) with my mom.  A hookah tea cafe with yum yums.  After a week of living off tapas it was nice to get a hearty warm meal.

I forgot the official names of everything we ate so you’ll get my own names for stuff.  Lentil soup!

A soupy vegetable dish with mild flavor.  I kinda wanted to bask it in Tabasco sauce but then again I think everything tastes better in Tabasco

A delicious chicken dish!

And Moroccan meatballs that I thought would be awful but were delicious.    It was Tony’s selection but it was a good one.

For the most part between food, Alhambra, and living in a cave, I feel like I experience most of what I wanted in Granada.  The only sad part was that all the bath houses were closed on Monday.  I guess it’s good to leave something in each city to come back to.  And I hear there’s a ton of other pubs with free tapas to test out!

A Visit to Alhambra – Granada, Spain

Exploring the grounds of Alhambra

Alhambra is a palace and a fortress built during the mid-14th century for the last Muslim Emirs in Spain and its court, of the Nasrid dynasty..  After the Moors were driven out of Spain in 1492 (Same time as Columbus sailed the ocean blue), the Christians continued to use it as a palace.

Palaces back in the day were built as whole cities that house markets, shops, and homes.  However, currently, outside of where royalty lived, the rest are just ruins.

Surrounded in luscious greens with breathtaking views.


Unlike others, we started at the end with the Generalife, summer palace and country estate of Granada’s royalty.

I didn’t think I could be nearly this impressed with a garden but with each step, the next part was more glamorous than the last.

We continued to just wander around the grounds, getting lost until it was our allotted time slot for the Nasrid Palaces.

We had 4 hours to enjoy ourselves during the visit and sometimes taking a nap on top of the world is what is needed.

And yes I rock Mizunos wherever I go, because I never know when I’ll feel like running 😉

My mom hasn’t perfected her photo taking skills, so all my shots with Tony might be a little (okay a lot) crooked.  I guess we can’t all be as talented as me 😉

Now it took me a while to remember what the circular structure below is.  It is not another Plaza de Torros (bullring), but instead is the Palace of Charles V. He wished to establish his residence close to the Alhambra palaces. Although the Catholic Monarchs had already altered some rooms of the Alhambra after the conquest of the city in 1492, Charles V intended to construct a permanent residence befitting an emperor.

As we walked around the structures of what remains I was amazed by the beautifully carved ceilings.

The Alcazaba, a fortress, is the oldest part of the Alhambra.  It is thought that before it was built and before the Muslims arrived to Granada, there were already several constructions in the same area dating back to the 9th century. It is believed that it was then built by Sawwar ben Hamdun during the fights between Muslims and muwalladins [Christians who converted to the Islam and lived among the Muslims].

One of the towers, Torre De La Vela, gave some of the most amazing views of Granada if you get past the stair hike to the top.

Palacios Nazaries

Alhambra wasn’t built in one time, nor planned so trying to organize yourself on a point to point tour isn’t really worth it unless you’re following a tour group; however, your visit to the Nazaries Palaces is schedule at a specific 30 minute interval.  Don’t miss it, because you will lose out on the jewel of Alhambra.

The royal palace consists of three sections: royal offices, ceremonial rooms, and private quarters.

The walls are jaw-dropping with carved wood ceilings, stucco “stalactites,” ceramic tiles, molded-plaster walls, and filigree windows from top to bottom. The colors red (blood), blue (heaven), green (oasis), and gold (wealth) as suggested by the Qur’an.

To be honest? As I walked around I pictured myself on a rich rug smoking a hookah as the walls are covered in rich fabrics from around the world.  None of the rooms are furnished but you can let your imagination run wild.

The first building you enter is Court of Myrtles (Patio de los Arrayanes). Moors loved their patios as open-air courtyards in the palace feature fountains with bubbling water like a desert oasis, the Quran’s symbol of heaven. Women, who rarely went out, stayed in touch with nature here.  One theory is that the jealous men even with all the women they can maintain (as Quran suggests) kept wooden screens that allowed the cloistered women to look out without being clearly seen. The other theory is that the upstairs was for winter use, and the cooler ground level was for the hotter summer.  My personal bet? Jealous men.

The next grand building is The Hall of the Ambassadors (Gran Salón de Embajadores) where you would meet the sultan.

What I heard from a nearby tour, the writing are scripts from the Quran repeated over and over again. Muslims avoided making images of living creatures — that was God’s work. But they could carve decorative religious messages. One phrase — “only Allah is victorious” — is repeated 9,000 times throughout the palace.

It was also here that Columbus made his pitch to Isabel and Ferdinand to finance a sea voyage to Asia.

The final building is the Court of the Lions (Patio de los Leones) where 600 years ago, only the royal family and their servants could enter.

The fountain, a gift from a Jewish leader celebrating good relations with the sultan, has 12 lions that represent the 12 tribes of Israel. During Moorish times, the fountain functioned as a clock, with a different lion spouting water each hour. Conquering Christians disassembled the fountain to see how it worked, and it’s never worked since.

The Hall of the Kings (Sala de los Reyes) is probably my favorite part of the whole palace.  I love staring up into the enchanting ceilings.

Although our ticket to enter was at a specific time we were free to take our time in the palaces and then wander a little more around the grounds and get a photo of all three of us taken!


  • Book your ticket in advance.  Tickets sell out and are limited!  If you want to avoid paying a hefty fee for going through a guide, buy your ticket in advance.  I brought mine a month in advance and already the time slots of the Palaces were limited. I wanted to start with the palaces but only time available for a party of 3 was 1:30. If you know which days you’re going to be in Granada, get your tickets and bring the credit card you ordered with you if you used Ticketmaster   There are machines to the side that are easy to use and avoids a long wait time.
  • You can walk or take a bus from the city center.  The walk is a long, uphill walk in potentially hot sun.  Once you get to Alhambra, there will be lots of walking in side the grounds.  The bus ride is 1.20 Euro.  You can decide what you prefer.  I personally am more into downhill walks and uphill buses.
  • Examine your ticket for your allotted time.  Your Alhambra ticket is good for 4 hours and 30 minutes of that at a very specific time is allotted to the Palaces.  Don’t miss it.  As we sat there and waited for our shift, we watched many disappointed faces who were not allowed in because they missed their scheduled time. Being old, being young, being confused, or any other excuse in the world, won’t let you inside.
  • Take your time – Certain parts of the Generalife, and the towers, you can only enter once so make sure you take in everything with whoever you’re traveling with because there is no reentry.  Tony and I ran into the tower without my mother and we couldn’t go with her when she was ready.
  • Get a written guide – You can share it, and sometimes I really wish I knew what I was looking at without having to eavesdrop on tours or goggling my photos after the fact.  It costs extra but I think knowing more things about this enchanting palace is worth it.

That One Time I Lived in a Cave

Adventures in Spain – 2 Days in Granada

When I told my mom that I was renting apartments through AirBnB on our visit in Spain I don’t think she knew what she was getting into.  The last thing she expected was two nights in a cave in Granada.  Yup a cave, furnished but still a cave.

The photo makes it look cozy but it lies because sleeping in a cave, although warm and toasty, is still a cave.

Our cave like all the others was in Sacromonte  a neighborhood in Granada that was about 15 minutes away from city plaza. What it lacked in modern conveniences and other nuisance such as barking dogs, it made up with a view.

The towers of the Alhambra at night.  I’ll have a whole post devoted to our visit eventually =).

Our train ride to Granada was probably one of my favorite during the trip.  We passed mountains and valleys and as sleep deprived as I was I kept staring out my window wide awake.

I could tell that my mom and Tony felt the same way as each of us took up our aisle so we could get the window view.

After a short introduction to our cave, we decided to venture out for food and a little exploring

Immediately we passed by this garden and amazing fruit trees

I believe those were Loquats.

With a long list of things to do, we kept on walking down the steep hills as I begged my feet to not trip me.  I have a long history of being clumsy.

We walked through El Albayzín, a neighborhood that retains the narrow winding streets of its Medieval Moorish past. It is filled with shops of trinkets and scarves and full of delicious North Africa eateries.  There were also Arab bath houses but I think the few we passed were closed on Mondays so we missed out on that part.

By the time we got to finding a place for lunch it was around 4 PM and like the rest of Spain, our options became limited with many restaurants closing down for the break before dinner.  We settled on a tourist friendly place of being large, moderately overpriced for the quality of food but still open past 4PM.

Tony got himself a meat platter with ribs.  I guess he wanted something a little more American?

I got a paella like rice dish that was delicious.  It would have been better if snails were not included and I didn’t have to pull them out as I crunched on one or two.  Oops guess I missed that part of the description.

And a potato quiche to keep things boring.

Granada has been settled by Arabs, Jews, Christians  Gypsies and anyone else so the architecture and beauty of the streets are unlike any other city in Spain.

Granada Cathedral

Plaza de Isabella Católica

The front of Granada Cathedral

The mountains surrounding Granada create a much colder climate at night then we were used to while in Seville.  Solution?  Warm up with some hot chocolate and churros (a Spanish donut).