Experiencing Granada Vicariously Through the Eyes of Friends

Day 95, Grand World Voyage

Saturday, April 8, 2023; Málaga, Spain.

Jo: My pre-knee-injury plan for today in Málaga, Spain, was an all-day trip to Grenada – not to the Alhambra, which I visited in 2011, but to the Albaycin Quarter opposite the Alhambra. According to the tour description, it is “a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a huge labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets, mall houses and noble mansions with amazing gardens.”

Well, now that doesn’t sound like a good option for someone confined to a wheelchair, so I canceled it and stayed on the ship. But my friends Meg and Ian took the tour, and Megan graciously agreed to let me post her account and their photos on the blog.

By Megan Pearson

After losing 2 hours of sleep last night due to the change in time zone from Tangier to Málaga, we were up when it was still pitch dark for a quick breakfast and then off on today’s excursion.

We traveled through Málaga, which is a pretty town, and saw all the bleachers and stacks of chairs that are out for the Easter Sunday parade. The town was just waking up so there were few people about. The architecture was a real mix of old Spanish and ultra-modern. I got the impression our guide was not happy with the skyscraper resident tower and hotel that were being built — as she put it — “to attract the jet set,” i.e., big money.

We quickly left Malaga behind on a two-hour drive heading to Granada through dramatic stony hills and mountains with a rich agricultural industry evident with the many different types of crops being grown, plus an abundance of factories. The scenery was beautiful, and we slowly climbed higher into the mountains before reaching our first destination.

Granada’s Carthusian Monastery is an incredible baroque church with the cloisters surrounding a very peaceful courtyard. The workmanship was exquisite, and apparently young people are being trained in the old arts so that restoration work can always be done. Our guide was keen to give us all the information about the monastery and church, but being with a big tour group I just had to sneak away and get my photos before everyone poured into the church and there was zero chance of getting a clear shot.

From the monastery we drove to the old Albaycin Quarter and slowly wended our way through many narrow lanes and across small squares. The whole area was paved in cobblestones and there were many flights of stairs to negotiate. There have been so many thousands of people walking these streets over the centuries that the pavements squeak quite loudly as you go. I have never experienced this before. We arrived at San Nicolas Square, which overlooks the Alhambra.

The weather was perfect and the mountain tops in the distance were covered with snow so it was a spectacular sight. We had visited the Alhambra in 2016, spending a full day wandering its beautiful buildings and gardens. It is truly a magical place.

Leaving San Nicolas Square and the crowds that were gathering, we headed to the Mirador de Morayma Restaurant, which overlooks the Alhambra.

There followed nearly three hours of course after course of delicious food, accompanied by what seemed an unending supply of wine. Sitting there looking at the Alhambra was just so special.

After lunch we transited directly back to the ship, a two-and-a-half-hour drive. A beautiful day!

Jo: Just to close, I should note that Málaga is the antipode of an earlier port, Auckland, NZ. Antipodes in geography are two points exactly opposite each other on earth. A straight line connecting these two cities would pass through the center of the earth. Just think, antipodes and Null Island both on one cruise!