Flamenco in Spain
9.10 Day 0 CCU to Del
10.10 Day 1 Del-Barcelona (BCN) 1145 Hrs + BCN ½ day exploration
11.10 Day 2: Full day city highlights of BCN
12.10 Day 3: Costa Brava Tour : BCN- Blanes-LLoret Del Mar- Tossa Del Mar-BCN
13.10 Day 4: BCN -Monteserrat- BCN
13.10 Day 4: BCN to Granada (by Train+Bus)
14.10 Day 5 : Granada city tour
15.10 Day 6: Granada
16.10 Day 7: Granada–Ronda -3 hrs by Trainat (Sleep at Ronda )
17.10 Day 8: Ronda – Seville - city tour- 4 hrs Train (Sleep at Seville)
18.10 Day 9: Seville city tour (Sleep at Seville)
19.10 Day 10: Seville–Cadiz –1.45 hrs Train at 6.40 am(city tour) (Sleep at Cadiz )
20.10 Day 11: Cadiz -Jerez de la Frontera (Sleep at Cadiz )
21.10 Day 12: Cadiz - Cordoba - 2.15 hrs Train at 7.55 am (Luggage at left luggage at Cordoba )
22.10 Day 13: Cordoba to Madrid by at 1.00 am (Sleep at Madrid)
23.10 Day 14: Madrid-Toledo (city of El Greco)-(Sleep at Madrid)
24.10 Day 15: Madrid-Cuena Tour (Sleep at Madrid ) -(Sleep at Madrid)
25.10 Day 16: Madrid
26.10.Day 17: Madrid to Delhi 8.30 am
27.10 Day 18: Delhi to CCU
(To be continued)
My flight is at 1346 hours by Go First airlines from CCU and reached Delhi at 1600 hours. I left home at 1040 hours from home. It did not take too much time, since the road was empty. Since I had web check in, it was simple. After reaching Delhi (T-1) I left for my uncle's house at Vasant Kunj by bus/auto. I chatted with them and had dinner with them and finally dropped me at the airport - T3. I can carry maximum 8 Kg as hand luggage. But as per rule, you are allowed upto 8.9 Kg. Plus a laptop bag is allowed. My flight is at 2.50 hrs. We 6 are supposed to travel to Spain. But none of them could go. One lost his passport. A family of 3 could not go, since their mother is sick. Another person did not get visa. It was rejected on 8.10.22. By mistake he showed Current Account of Bank, though he is on a tourist visa. However I got to know from my Bengali Spanish teacher that Spain ' s visa is commonly rejected.
The plane left at least 30 minutes late from Delhi. I got down at Frankfurt airport at 820 hours (instead of scheduled 7.50 hours) . I am supposed to leave Frankfurt at 0945 hours and reach Barcelona at 1115 hours. Spain is 3.30 hours behind India The gap between two flights is only 1.45 hours. But there was a huge line for baggage checking and immigration control. I thought I will change the clock after reaching Barcelona - which is a mistake. I should have changed it at Frankfurt and then again at Barcelona. As a result I missed the connecting flight at 9.45 hours, though I tried to go faster, skipping part of the queue. I am not the only one who missed the flight. There is another flight at 1105 hours. They (Lufthansa) re-booked a ticket without any charge. You have tell at the counter please re-book it. Then they will not charge anything. Later I learnt it is very common for people to miss fight at Frankfurt. There are not many staffs at the airport to guide us, unlike India, presumably because labour is very expensive.
Finally reached Barcelona at 1250 hours. It takes 1.30 minutes to reach Barcelona from Frankfurt. I took an airport express Bus for standard 5.9 Euro and finally got down at the heart of Barcelona at Placa de Catalunya in 30-35 minutes. It is like Esplanade of Barcelona. But by mistake I got down at Espanya due to communication gap - which is 1 stop before Placa de Catalunya. They told me to take a bus initially. But later they told me to take an airport express bus, since I came by that bus. The ticket is still valid apparently. I took the airport express bus at a nearby Red ligt stop at Espanya. Though the first bus did not take me, the second bus allowed me since I told them by mistake, I got down here. You cannot use airport express bus twice. Anyways I walked for 10 minutes from Placa de Catalunya to reach my hotel at La Rambala. I am staying at La Rambala. Somewhat like old Boulevard of Gariahat. The car plies in two sides of La Rambala. The people used to buy at the boulevard. This is a very important location. All the important places of interest are nearby. Almost walking distance.
The manager of the hotel is a Pakistani from Punjab. So he talks just like a Pakistani. He told me I am giving you a better room since you are from India. It is small, but cute too.
I planned to go to Cathedral first. I asked the Pakistani how to reach the Cathedral. Surprisingly he does not know this, though he is staying for quite some time here. Bangladeshi are much smarter. Cathedral is not very far from here. Basically he has no interest in these things. After I got down I saw a restaurant "Raja" owned by a Pakistani just beside our hostel. Apart from Indian food, you also get Falafel, Durum. I was quite hungry. I had both of them. By that time it is almost 2 pm. Most of the super markets are manned by Pakistani. I saw few Bangladeshis too. They are from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Just like Italy, I saw many people from Indian sub continent. But the only difference is they not Bangladeshi, but Pakistani from Punjab (Pakistani part) - they look like Indians. I was told there are some Indians too - though I could not find them.
Today I mostly walked nearby areas - part of old Barcelona. I started with Cathedral.- Cathedral de Barcelona. But it is closed. I saw it from outside. But I have seen many cathedrals like this in Vienna, Austria. So it is nothing new to me. But it nice for a first time tourists. Nearby is museo de historia. That is also closed. Is it because of corona ? nearby is Plaza del rei. Nothing very special. Then I went to Picasso Museum or mesuo de Picasso. It is allowing people by batches due to Covid, I guess. Today it has its share of guest. No further tourists are allowed for the day. There is a Basilica de Santa Maria Del Maar - which is probably better than the Cathedral. When I reached it is already dark. There is a nice park called Parc de la citodela, where there is a lake, duck and people are boating inside the lake. There is a parliament at the park. Then I saw Marketa de la Bocaria, while walking. I did not go inside. It is very near my hotel. Tomorrow I plan to go to Costa Brava, which is French Riviera.
Today I had Paella de Valencia from a Indian restaurant. Paella is from Valencia region. Typically it cost 16 Euro. There is an offer in the restaurant for 9.90 Euro and I had one espresso coffee for 1.5 Euro. ie. 11.45 in total. I had sea food Paella., but they did not have Calamari.The typical Indian attitude of not informing the clients that do not have Calamari - though I asked about the ingredients. Not many people are wearing mask. They are wearing once they are inside a Museum.
The history of Spain is oldest in Europe - it has the oldest resettlement. We know the story of Altamira. The people who drew the pic of Altamira , went there from Africa through the straight of Gibraltar in 3000-8000 BC. Gibraltar is under British. Even in Egypt the maximum ancient period is 5000 BC. Morocco is very near Gibraltar. They were called Iberians or North Africans. Iberia Peninsula means Spain and Portugal. Iberian food means food from Spain and Portugal. Then it was followed by Celtics, Phoenicians (Jordan), Greek, Carthage and finally Romans came and passed this route. In those days just like Middle East of today, Spain is the place where you get oil. Even today 50% olive oil is from Spain. A road went straight from Spain to Rome. Germanic tribe who conquered Western Roman Empire conquered Spain after another 40 years ie 400 AD. Germanic tribe does not mean German people exactly. Muslim Berbers and Arabic people collectively called Moor, conquered Spain after another 300 years i.e. 700 AD. This period is dark age of Europe , but that is the golden age of Spain when Moors controlled South Spain or Al Andalus. They ie Moors controlled Spain for 700 years. They made a huge library. People all over the Europe came to Spain in those days to study. Nalanda of those days was in Muslim Spain. Al Jabr, Al Barouni were all most learned people of that era. Unani was evolved during this period. That is why Southern Spain has a distinct culture. Another 700 years from 1469 it was under the Catholic King. In 1469 between the Castile region and Aragon marriage took place between Isabella, Queen of Castile and of Fernando King of Aragon. And they got united by marriage. by 1492 the whole region was under Christian king. in 1492 the last Muslim king of Granada surrendered to the Christian king. In 1492 Columbus reached Bahamas and thought this is America. They bought hold from Peru, Guatemala, Mexico. Many Arabic term was incorporated in spanish ie Kamiza, Pijama , Pagar. Anyways reconquista was completed in 1492 (started from 800 AD). In 1898 there was a disastrous battle between America and Spain. That was the beginning of the end of Spanish empire. In 1936, before that they were republic. till 1939 Spanish civil war started under Francesco or Franco. After civil war it came under Franco and was supported by Fascists and Nazi and those who were defeated were supported by Russians and Communists. Around 3.5 Lakh Spanish was killed by Franco. He died in 1975. in 1977 Juan Carlos was given succession by Franco. Carlos was able to recover Spain and in 1977 after election Spain became republic. Carlos was present during 1982 world cup. in 1977 Spain became part of NATO. Though during Iraq war they refused to join NATO. The area of Spain is 3.5 Lakh sq km is 5.5 times WB and 1/7th of India and population is 4.7 Cr , same as Italy compared to 7 crore of France. there was 21% unemployment rate in Spain. per capita income is much lower. at 36,000 USD approx. Franco bombed the north Spain ie Basque country ie Kashmir of Spain. They do not think them as Spanish. North West of Spain is Galicia region. They too have a distinct language. Atletico Bilbao is part of this region. They too have own language. Catalonia language is similar to Spanish and French, somewhat. Rest of Spain speaks Castilian. i.e. what is know as Spanish language. There is nothing called Spanish language.. Bilbao was conquered by Franco after bombing and killing lot of people in Guernica. Then Picasso drew Guernica after that. I saw it during Durga Puja inside a Pandal , opposite to Behala Nutan Dal, Behala Nutan Sangha. it is one of most famous pictures. Famous painters like El Greco (Toledo), Goya are all from Spain. Apart from that there is Picasso, Salvador Dali (at Figurers) - all part of Catalunya. Then there is Miro. He drew the logo of world cup. Then there is famous architect Gaudi - Modernista style of Barcelona. Madrid is Art Nuevo. Spain made lot of money during the time of Gaudi because of looting. With that money the rich asked Gaudi to make their building.
I must also tell you that Italy is realtively cheaper than Barcelona. But coffee is relatively cheap for 1.5 Euro. Paella is typically 10- 16 Euro. But for budget traveller one can have Salami. I had one for 1 Euro (60 gms) - very good taste. I also bought white chocolate from another super market. Today I plan to see Gaudis creations. The fact that Barcelona is unique is because of Gaudis architecture. There is a place called La Example – it is famous for Modernista architecture. Gaudi had done his work from 1852-1926. He died in 1936. He was a devout Catholic. His work has has influences/ reference of Christaista. The most famous one la sagrada familia. It is still work in progress. There will be 18 towers – height according to importance. Jesus christs tower is tallest, followed by Mary. My initial plan was to go to Costa Brava. But all the shops were closed or no did not see any shop even. Only Govt tourism office runs tours. They have their office at Placa de Catalunya at basement. I went to their office running- to start the train tour at 8.00 am. Even the information counter is closed. Then I planned to use other private tour companies. But could not find any. Is it possible that they do the tour through the govt run company only ? I wandered at placa de catalunya twice Finally they opened at 8.30 am. Later I was told that due to covid there is no costa brava tour. I bought one tour of Monteserat tour for 50 Euro. I bought one ticket of La Sargada familia for 28 Euro. I learnt at info counter that one train leaves from Placa de Cataluniya itself and stops at Blanes – which is a place in Costa Brava. This tour will be taken by local train, not part of any tour. From there one can go to Tosa De Mar by bus. But no ticket is required to bought.
After this information I left for Casa Batillo. This is an unique house – made by Gaudi. The owner of this did not like the existing style. Gaudi transformed it.Gaudi transformed this house from initial plan and this signature style is copied everywhere in Barcelona. Just beside this house is Casa Amatiall made by Joseph Cadafalch. Beside it is museuo de perfume and there is another house called casa yo morera by another architect . These 3 houses are joined together like Delhi and is called block of discord , since they have no common pattern.
Casa Batillo is 39 Euro. The most expensive entry ticket ever. But the house is unique. There is no option to go inside casa amaiteller or casa de morera . Then I followed the walking tour given by another travel book. The audio guide is so wonderfully made, you will think it is done seamlessly. The moment you reach a certain spot, audit will start talking !
There are many interesting houses on the way. Then fell on the way La Pedrera of Gaudi. Due to Covid they are not allowing any person at that point of time. But I was told to come at 1 pm, which is not possible .
So I proceeded towards La Sagrada Familia. There is a time of entry at 1.30 pm. On the way falls Hosptial. I reached there at 1.10 pm. But I had no time to go inside Hospital. I heard if I am late by 10 minutes then the ticket will be cancelled. So I had to skip. So left for La Sagrada Familia. it is an unique church. There are 18 spires. Very unique architecture. I have not seen anything like this. I had seen similarly interesting and differentiated church in Brasila by Oscar Niyemar. But it is more of a geometrical pattern. What Niyemar has done for Brasila , Gaudi has done it for barcelona. niyemayar said who said a church should look like a church. The "belgium glass" inside the church is very different and play of light on this glass is very unique. Then i went running to the hospital. but it was already closed . On mon - Fri the hospital it is closed at 2.30 pm. i saw it from outside , but it is very interesting and took pics from outside. so i planned to to go to camp nou, since I saved some time here. It is the famous stadium of Barcelona. I am told it is the most visited place in Barcelona. Yellow line of metro - L3 line takes you to last station. Palau Real (or Camp Nuo) is the metro station from where you walk for 7-8 minutes to reach Camp Nuo. In the metro I met a Bangladeshi who is going to Placa de Cataluyniya or Esplanade of Spain. He told me, if you stay here for 3 yrs, then they give you residential card. He told me that Spanish people are very good. He has opened a restaurant nearby and gave his email id and phone no. He told me near La Ramblas there is a Bengli neighbourhood. They are either from Dhaka or Syhet. There are 3 mosques. Even there is one at La Rambablas. But there are many Punjabis from Pakistan in La Rambalas. Anyways, the museum is very nice , needless to say. It made me sad that why could not make anything like this. Barcelona was started probably by a Swiss in 1899, along with 5-6 Catalans and rest from some other countries. So Mohun Bagan is even older ! Evertyhing was displayed very nicely. I saw the pictures of La Massia Academy. La Massia Academy is near Camp Nou. Previously the stadium was in La Corres . Later it was shifted to Camp Nou, when there was a need for a bigger stadium. But they do not practice in Nou Camp. Only the matches are played here. We went inside the ground. Since they do not practice here , it helps to protect the pitch. They were selling grass of the pitch inside the Nou Camp ground, apart from some other memorabilia. Barcelona museum is also very nice. They sell lot of souvenirs -which is very expensive. The entry fee is very high - 29 Eruo. A cap costs 25 Euro. Basically they are utilizing the sentiments of fans. The souvenir shop is huge, in two tiers - jersey, T shirt, key ring, mug, pencil, pen - you name it, it is there. They have fan clubs in 80 countries - Cuba, Cosovo, New Calendola etc. After that I took the metro and got down at Liceu Metro. Actually La Rambala boulevard connects Placa De Catalunya (where there is Placa de Catalunya [like our Esplanade] Metro and train station called Estacion de Nord [like our Sealdah, for local trains], nearby) with the Port. I think the boulevard is around 800 metres. There is a metro train in between. It is called Liceu.
Now there is a major train station called Sans Estacion - which is like Howrah station of Kolkata. At the boulevard I met a Bengali from Kalyani. He is here for a 10 years and stays with 4 people in a flat. He also told me after 3 yrs they get a temporary document. They pay a |Rent of 200 Euro per head ie 800 Euro for people ie Rs 64,000/- + Electricity bill of Rs 10,000. He has his wife and son in Kalyani. He used to work in Restaurant in the boulevard of La Rambalas. Now he got a better job in Super market. Since one of his friends has taken a leave, that is why he is substituting him today. I also learnt that car here is not very expensive. You can get a car for around 4000 Euro or Rs 350,000. A bike will cost 1500 Euro. Plus cost of petrol is around 1 Eruo. There are three varieties of Petrol :
(-) 1 Euro, 1 Euro and (+) 1 Euro. So it is quite cheap compared to average earning. Bike is around 1500 Euro. That is why hiring a car in Spain is not expensive. But since I am only left with 1 member of this 6 person group, I did not think of hiring a car.
Today I had Paella and 3 types of Tapas in a offer for 12 Euro - Patata Brava (Alu tikki), Pimenta (Chilly), a kind of bread with Tomato (which they changed on my request to Olive). I had sea food Paella. Bangladeshis are working as chef. He told me the Spaniards own 4-5 shops, but it is manned by Bangladeshis like Italy !
Today I left for Costa Brava , which is French Riveria or Cot de Azur of France. In the tourism Deptt at Placa De Maar, they told me to buy ticket upto Tosa De Mar, instead of buying the ticket upto Blanes. There is a metro station as well as train station at Placa De Cataluniya. The train stopped at least 20 stations - it is like a local train station. The distance is only 70 Km. On the right hand side of the train is Mediterranean. But unlike French Riviera there is no marriage of sea and mountain.The mountain is somewhat far away. We saw mostly the beach. So it is not as stunning as French Riveria. I reached Blanes by train . Then I got a bus from the station, which took me to Lloret de Mar at 11.10 hrs in the morning. On the way to Lloret de Mar I saw marriage of mountain and sea. So the veiw here is much better. From Lloret De Mar , the bus will leave for Tosa de Maar at 1150 hours. At the Lloret de Mar , I saw a shop called Ganapati - it is run by a person from Jaipur. He told me there are many Indians here, especially from Agra. They are speaking in Hindi. But they all know Spanish. Maar probably means Sea side. Eg Playa means beach in Portuguese. Lloret de Maar has a nude beach - which I did not know. I saw a lady sunbathing. Since it was time for the bus to Tosa De Maar at 1150 am, I could not explore the city much. At the bus stop they gave me a map of the city. There are many shops like Sorrento of Italy. The history of Tosa is around 500 years old. There is a nice light house. While going to the old part of the city, I found it similar to Positano. So this part is much better than train journey to Blanes. There is a nice view point at Tosa de Maar at the old part of the city. From there the sea looks like Azure. I had a wonderful Mixed fruit juice for 3.5 Euro (mind it the Euro cost 86 Euro now !). The bigger one costs 4.5 Euro. I had a gelato also for 2 Euro. Normally it is 2.5 Euro elsewhere. I also had a cup of coffee for 1 Euro, which is cheaper than other places. Then I also had a big sausage. I had to skip lunch. I spent around 3.5 hours here. On the way a lady asked if I want to have massage and spend some time with her. I said no. On the way back I went to Lloret de Mar and from their I took train to reach Barcelona. Since I could not find the train ticket. I had to buy the ticket again for 7 Euro. Later I found the ticket in my bag ! Tomorrow I had a Monteserrat tour. I went to the Information centre to get the information once again, since I have some time in my hand. I was told near Arc de Triomp there is a train station called Estacio Nord. From there the bus to Monteserrat will leave.
Today also I had sea food Paella. I also had the famous cocktail - Sangria for 5.5 Euro. I had some Pasta and Patat Brava. They give Mayonnaise and tomato sauce in Patata Brava.
My bus to Montserrat will leave at 10 am. So I had some time. First I went to see the Port Vell, which is towards right from our hotel, at around 8 am to see the very big statue of Christobal Colon or Christopher Columbus. The height is around 5 storied building. Just after that is Port. I saw in the map it is possible to go to Arc de Triompe from this side too, instead of going back to Placa de Catalunya. On the way I saw Santa Maria De Mar. Finally I reached Arc de Triomp little late. Somehow I had to rush to reach the Esaticon de Nord at the nick of time. It is around 150 metres from Arc De Tromp. I reached exactly at 10 am. The bus left just after that. The bus is not full, probably because of covid effect. There are people from Bolivia, Nicaragua, Argentina. The guide spoke in Spanish and English simulatenly. Normally I have seen the guide talk in Englsih. But since spain in national language of 21 countries - so it is different. So invariably there are some Spanish speaking tourist. Normally any sign board is written in 3 languages - Spanish, Catalan and English. It did not occur to me that there is a big difference between spanish and catalan. Monteserrat is around 50 km from Barcelona. Within 1 hour we reached Monteserat. Here the patron saint of the Basilica is Sant Jordi or St George (e.g. Jordi Alba of Spanish Football team). The guide said Napoleon came here and stolen everything from the Basilica. So everything was destroyed. It was constructed in 1592, 100 yrs after columbus reached bahama in 1492. When we went to Basiclica , a program was going on , so we could not enter there. Guide said you can go to Museum or ... . We reached here (Basilica) by funicular train - which is free. It is used only for short distance. Then there is another steep funicular , by which you can go to the further top by paying 12.5 Euro. The guide said the museum is nice. It is a small musuem. - entry fee is 6.5 Euro. In the musuem cum art gallery I saw pictures of some very famous artists like Monet, Mane, El Greco, Pissaro, Degas - but only 1 or 2. After seeing the museum it was already 1 pm. The basilica has opened. The frontal part of the Baslica is not very interesting. But inside the basilica is interesting. Hee the virgin Mary is unique black here - which is a speciality. it is called Black Merry. It is very important for Cataluniyans. The front part is made of sedimentary rock, somewhat like Morocco.in Dades Valley. The setting of the church is very nice. Then I took the funicular to go to the top. This funicular is called Funicular de St Joan. I think it is St John. It is very steep - around 80 storied building - 250 metres. There is a great view from the top.You walk for 15 minutes then you can go to a church of st joan and there is another church st georoni for another 15 min walk..- I did not go there till the end for want of time, Since the next funicular will come after 30 minutes. we left for Barcelona at 3 pm. After reaching Barcelona I left for Museo de Picasso running. since I have to take the train at 9.30 pm. Yesterday i could not enter the museum yesterday due to some restrictions as a result of Covid.
There are 15000 pics of Picasso, I am told in this museum. There are pictures during various period starting from young age to old age : cubism, blue period, rose period, dove series in Cannes , Cubism. He spent some time in Barcelona also. The picasso here is very different from what we know. It starts from the period of 15 years of his age. He was born in the year 1882 ? in Malaga and died in 1975. His paintings when he was very young, starting from 15 is very different. In fact there is one impressionist art also, if not told, you will think it is drawn by Van Gogh. Before he adopted his style, he was like any other good painter and one of his paintings at the age of 15 (1897) is astonishing - like Raja Ravi Varma ! He also made some jewellery when he was young.The entry fee is only 12.5 Euro, which is much less than other museums. The reason is the most famous ones are not here. This is more about how he evolved. That why it is called Histaro...
My bags were packed (and checked out in the morning) and went to the guest house to collect my luggage. I told the Pakistani manager, that I want to go to Estacion de San . But he misuguided me to go to a wrong place (Dara Sen...). It was very surprising that while Bangladeshis are very smart and give right direct, Pakistanis generally give wrong information ! I told him, probably it is better to take the metro from Liceu. I took same L3, from Liceu - which I took to go to Camp Neu last time, to go towards Taragona (but I have to get down at Sant Estacion train station, after Taragona) - Sant Estacion is just like airport. Anyways I Took the train at 910 pm got down at Madrid Atocha Station at 1200 pm, late at night. The bus station towards Granada is around 1.9 Km. There are not too many trains which goes to Granada. In fact I bought a ticket from Barcelona to Granada - but the ticket I got is a combo of Train and Bus.So I took the metro, also at Madrid Atocha, to go to the bus station and for that I took blue line to get down at Pacifico station after 1 stop and then took a circular line (ash line) of metro to go to Estacion de Sur (South)...unlike Sud in Belgium. The card at metro costs 1.5 Euro and ticket costs 2.5 Euro.This card will be useful, when I got to Madrid. I got down at Pacifico to take ash line and finally got down at Estacion de Sur. The bus station is nearby. Here I met a couple. They went to Palermo (Sicily) and are coming back from a conference. They took me to La Para de Autobus or bus stop.
I reached Granda at 6.30 am. They guided me to take 33 no. bus . The fare is 1.4 Euro. It was more or less dark, when I got down at Constitution Centre - 7. I met a person from Kerala, who helped me to find my hotel. I did not have much time to chat with him. But the hotel was closed. Thankfully an Argentinian girl came out of the hotel. I got to know from her (she understands little Englsih) the wifi password and entered the hotel. Then using google translate I chatted with her and asked her to contact the receptionist of the hotel - who told me you can keep the luggage , but you can check in only at 3 pm. I told her, I will come at 10 am. But she insisted that I cannot check in at 10 am. Inside the hotel I met a Moroccan. He does not know English. I used google transalate to talk to him in Arabic. I showed my blog to him and told him how much I liked Morocco. I told him about Said Ouita - famous athlete and Bouderbala - famous footballer. I was able to touch his heart. He offered me tea and banana ! He stays in Belgium. He has come here to travel. I went to the toilet at the bus stop. It was very clean. Then I bought some snacks. I had it in the hotel and in the meantime, got I my mobile/ Camera charged at the airport. I left for the city at around 9.30 am.
There is a wonderful kitchen in this hostel.
Granada is city where the Moors (Arabic and Barbers came to Spain via Rock of Gibraltar) resided last before finally leaving Spain. The Christian Kings recaptured , as a result of Reconquista, Granada last of all. As a result this bears the Moorish culture and architecture best of all the places in Spain. This region is called Al Andalus or Andalusia. Granada is probably the most interesting region in all of Andalusian region. This place is very different from anything I have ever seen in rest of Europe.
First Iberians came to Spain in around 5000-8000 BC through Rock of Gibraltar (very near Morocco) . It is under British and British Pound is used in Rock of Gibraltar. Similarly in Morocco in the Ceuta region is under Spanish. From Cadiz you can hear the Azan from Morocco, I read !
After Iberians, came Romans whose stayed till the 4th Century AD approx. After that Germanic tribe occupied Western part of Roman empire (except Constantinople).
After another 300 years , around 700 AD almost whole of Spain came under the Moors. Apart from this Tunisians/ Carthage, Celtics, Phoenicians, , Greeks also went to this region. During Roman empire all the oils used to go from Spain. During that time Spain was like today's Middle East. But after 100 years from 700 AD the Christians started attacking Moors called Reconquista. Finally in 1236 Cordoba came under Catholics or Castilian king. After another 12 years Seville came under Castillian King. It took another 250 years before Granada fell under Castilians. Roughly between 1250 to another 250 years ie till approx 1500 was the golden period of Moors in Granada under Md Ibn Yousuf Naser or Nasirid empire- became an independent emirate - resulting into construction of Alhambara, Al Cabza. A civil war took place in 1482 - who will sit in the throne for Nasisrids. Then soon after wards Christians took over Moors. Castilinas thrown Jews, Moors and Moriscos (Muslim converted into Christians) by 1492/1509 ??. There fore this 700 yrs of dark age of Europe is Golden age of Spain. Specifically last 250 years was golden age, when People used to come to Spain from all over the world - for Education from Europe.
Granada is the country of Garcia Lorca. Probably he was murdered during the time of Franco by his men for his anti government propaganda.
Today there was some confusion regarding which bus to take to go to Alhambara. Nobody was able to guide me initially. I took bus C32 to go to Alhambra.It is possible to walk also - that will take long time. It is situated on a hill. C32 is bigger that Tempo Traveller, but smaller than a mini bus.The roads to go to Alhambra was very narrow. So a normal bus cannot go.After this bus, there is not enough space even for a bike in the road. That is why this special bus. It is somewhat similar to Lapa region of Rio or Sirinc of Izimir. People stay along the hills, like our hilly states.
Just like Rio's favela's location in the mountain/hill ,here also the Moorish white (white is considered good/ pobitro ) houses are in Albasin region in and around the mountain. You will Albasin along the road.
The entry fee is 16 Euro. I under estimated Granada since I have been to Morocco. But here it is really grander than Morocco. Al Hambra is a big area divided into 3 parts - Al Cabza, Generalife (Jinan Al Arif - garden of God , like Mughal Garden of Kashmir) and Al Hambra. The Reconquista's made a flat hoist at Al Cabza.
First I went to Generalife, then I went to Alcabza and finally Al Hamra. Generalife and Alcabza is not exceptional. There is a specific time to reach Al Hamra at 1630 hours.Since I had some time, I went to see the statute of Carlos and the Palace. It was made in 1527. It is beside Al Hambra. There is a wonderful reflection of the Palace on the water. But one thing is very annoying here - they were asking for Passport and Ticket (I bought tickets for all zones), every now and then. Here the audio guide is not that good like Casa Batillo in Barcelona. Here you will not be allowed to enter before 1630 hours by the system. There is full of Zali work. There are numerous houses. The workmanship is amazing. The basic style is same. There is Portico and Thakur Dalan. The mosaic work is amazing.
The mosaic work found here is reflected in every restaurant and hotel in Granada.
Then I had to rush to the hotel before 8 pm, otherwise the receptionists will leave and I wont be able to keep my luggage in the room. Then I went to see the nearby places, after keeping my luggage. Here check in time is either at 2 pm or 3 pm generally. I went to see very nice Cathedral de Granada nearby. There is a madrasa nearby. But the madrasa here has not been converted into a Church/Cathedral, unlike other places. But the madrasa has become an office. I saw the madrasa/ office also. There is Real Catalicos (or Royal Chapel ) nearby . Real Madrid means Royal Madrid. (O Rei means King Pele in Portuguese) Reis Catalicos or Catholic Monarch is the resting place of Fernando and Isabel.
There is a market nearby - St Augustine - mini version of Grand Bazar of Istanbul or Souk of Morocco/ Egypt. There is a Plaza De Rambla also where you get very nice Chorizo at the famous Cafeteria Al Hambara. Then I went to see Flamenco Dance. Though the most famous one is in Jerez de Fronterra But it has already started. So I could not see it. So I went to have the famous Tapas as Calle El Vira. There are numerous Tapas Shops. With 1 Beer they give 1 Tapas. There are various types - Grande - Large, Media - Medium and Picolo ? Small . I had small one for 9 Euro. There are assortment of 6 items in it - Iberian Ham, Salmon, Tuna, Sausage etc . They also give a Garlic bread (kind of thing). Then I had Sangria at another place " much cheaper for 2.4 Euro , unlike 6.5 Euro in Barcelona. Intially they did not give any Tapas . When I pointed out, they also gave a Tapas (with Potato, Boiled egg and chicken) free. Here bus fare is cheaper than Barcelona (2.4 Euro : for 10 rides together it is 11.5 Euro) - it is 1.4 Euro here. Another thing like Barcelona water is good here. So there is no need to buy water here. It is safe to have tap water.
It is very important to learn the numbers from 1-12, if you are travelling a foreign country since time of the watch is till 12. If you know upto 10, then it is very good. But upto 12 is even more useful. (uno, do, tres, quatro, sinco, sies, siete, ocho, nueve, dieze, once, dos. Fifty is also very imp : sinquenta ie tres sincquenta. Also it is important to know the place you want to visit : Quero ir Al Hambra - I want to go to Al Hambra. Similarly it is important to know : Where is the bus stop : Donde esta La Parada Autobus. When will the shop open / close : Open is Abierta, close is ..... . Many a time when we reach we find something is closed. So it is important to know when it is open. Name of the week is very imporant - Domingo - Sunday, Lunes - Monday, Saturday - Sabado : especially these 3 days are very important. Train Station - Quero ir Train estacion. Not expensive - No Caro. Big - Grande, Very big - Mas Grande, Small - Picolo or No Mas Grande, Set meal all inclusive - Todos/All , Ticket - Billet (In Portuguese it is probably Billeta. Probably same in Italian or French). Super Market is also very important , because food and water is very cheap there - Super Marcato (Donde esta Marcato - where is market ?) yes - Si, No - No. Thanks - Gracias, Por favour - excuse me, before asking somebody, Sorry/ - Perdon, Derecha - Right, Left is Iquerda, straight - Todo Recto, Time table - Horario (Donde Esta Horario - where is time table) . Water is Agua. Good Morning - Buenos Dias, Good evening - Buenos Tardes - evening and good Night - Buenos Noche (Notte in Italian). Mr is Senor (Monseur in French), Mrs is Senora. Very good is Muy Bien. Bien is good. While eating - Bebita - Drinks, Comer - Food. No Bebita is no drinks. Ham, Salami is same . Chicken is Pollo (spelling Poyo), Mutton is Carne de vaca, Fish is Pescada, Potato is Pata, Patata Brava is French Fries, ATM is Cajero. But everybody understands ATM. Quenta Custo - what is the price, similar to Portuguese. If it is closed today, people will say Manyana ie come Tomorrow. Another very important thing is Habla Ingles - do you know English ? I do not know spanish - (Yo) No hablo Espanyol. Do you (Tu) know Spanish - Tu hablo Espanyol. I normally say Hablo poco Espanyol (I know little Espanyol). (Many people know Amor is love, Friend is Amigo - but these are not of much use !) . Usted is formal of "You". Como Esta Usted - How are you ? This is very common.
Hola - Hello is very very common. Beer is Cerveza and Wine is Vino. Toilet is Los Servicios or Asios. Normally it is Los Servicios , but in my hostel is written Asios. . Normally in Europe you have to pay for toilet - typically 50 Cents or even 1 Euro. Here in Spain it is normally free. I have not paid till date. Age is also very important. In Monteserrat they were asking a French person - Anos ? ie. age ? But could not understand. Since if you are above 65 in Monteserrat it is concessional. In Brazil for example , there is no ticket required in metro if you are above 60. Small road is called Calle. Important or long road is Carretara.
Here they are following masks strictly in enclosed area. They are showing in sign lanaguages whenever mask falls below the mouth. Here sanitizer quality is good. But smell is like Spirit before they apply injection. But in public places nobody is using Mask.
Yesterday I have seen the most important things of Granada. But due to Covid, many tours were cancelled - Olive oil tours , Al Puzaara : This is near Sierra Nevada mountain range. So I decided the see the town even more closely. I went to the place , which is famous for Bull fight. It was also closed. I saw some Churches, Monastery. In the meantime , the memory card of my phone was exhausted, so I came back to my hotel to replace it and then I left for Albacin. This is an old Moorish quarter. Before it was recaptured by the Reconquistas, the ordinary Ordinary Moorish people used to stay here. They are all white washed. The location of the houses make it even more interesting - it is on the mountain, some are of them stay in a cave. (somewhat like Cappadocia). I went to a place called, Sacramento - where are many cave houses , where Flamenco Dance takes place. you have to walk some time to reach here. Most of them will start at 9.30 pm. Probably it will end at 1130 pm. It is not safe as per LP to be so late. Mugging take place. It is completely deserted place at night. It is somewhat deserted even in the day time. There are many Arabic people here. So I dropped the idea. While going to Albacin, I saw a place at the base of Alacin, where Flamenco dance will take place. I saw Flamenco later there @ 17 Euro. While coming back I read in my guide book that there is a place called Mirador San Nicolas, where there is a church and there is a wonderful view of Al Hambra. Alhambra is on the other side of the mountain. After reaching I saw many people waiting here for the sunset and the wonderful view. I would have missed unless I read it LP at the last moment. Some Arabic people were singing a song - Habibi , from this Moorish quarter. There is a cafe also.
Before the Flamenco dance starts,I had to buy some Boomerang at the nearby market. So I went there running. While I was going to the market, I saw a plaza nearby, where 3 young guy (one is singing, another one is playing guitar and the other one is dancing) and 2 girl are doing Flamenco Dance. Lot of people gathered to see it. When I came back from the market, I saw another group singing and doing Flamenco dance. So even if you do not want to pay, if you sit here , you will be able to Flamenco Dance. The place where I saw Flamenco dance has been recommended by Tripadivsor. I have to go little early so that I sit in the front sit. The dance takes place on a wooden Floor. It is meant for Flamenco dance only. When somebody is dancing on the street , they carry a wooden plank for the dance. The Reconquista (Isabel and Ferdinand) was shown through Flamenco. The music is similar to Arabic. The dance took place for 1 hour. I found it quite interesting.
Today I went to another Tapas bar and paid 8 Euros - combinado or combination of any 6 Tapas items you can choose. They also served sweet red wine. I enjoyed red wine. When I came back to hotel, I saw the Moroccan guy. I chatted for some time with him. Tomorrow I will take train in the morning.
Today I reached Ronda at 11 am. I had to change the train at Antequera Santa Maria. Since the check in is at 2 pm, so I kept the luggage at the hotel and left to the city. First I went to Plaza de Toro. Toro means bull. Ronda is the birthplace of modern Bull Fight or spiritual capital of bull fight. The Bull ring is from 1785. Bull fight no longer takes place here. It is important for documentation purpose. It is used for an important public function. What I learnt is bull fight did not start in a day. It started initially as a game. The Moors were attacked , the King said people must have horse. In the bull ring Horse has a place in history. The Spanish horse is world famous for its good breed. The King Philip in the 16th Century told everybody, if you have power maintain the horse and he stressed on proper horse maintenance. He also ensured proper breeding. That is why the best horse today comes from Spain. The Second oldest horse school for equestrian is in Ronda. He introduced horse training and breeding. One or two years before it started in Austria. Previously a person was in horse and fought with bull. The fact that the matador is on the ground is a relatively new thing.
Even Assyrians also had bull fight. The previous bull fight used to between a person riding a horse and a bull. The king of Hafsburg dynasty, Austria was a great fan of bull fight. Apart from him, Ernest Hemingway, Orson Wells used to like bull fight a lot. Their statute is there in Ronda. The main theme or logo of Ronda is bull fight. It is projected as a bull fighting city. I saw the Plaza de Toro and there is a museum where everything is displayed very nicely. As per the museum, this bull fight existed for time immemorial. There is a video of horse training, bull rearing up, history of bull fighting etc. There is "still picture" exhibition also. The bull fighting does not take place in Barcelona any more due to public protest. The last bull fight takes place on 12th October every year. This bull fight is basically culture of Southern Spain/ Andalucia. There is bull fight in Madrid also. The bull meant for bull fight, is given complete freedom and allowed to roam for 3 years . Whereas the beef is kept in captivity before they are killed. The person who is pro bull fight says that till the bull is ready for fight , the bull is given freedom, unlike beef which kept in captivity before killing. If matador dies from the bull fight then the bull is freed. und openly. The pictures of bull fight is everywhere. The picture/ advertisement of first bull fight is also displayed.
Ronda is also very famous for a bridge. Many people come to just to see the bridge. It is Bridge over El Tajo gorge - 120 Metres/360 ft tall. It is very unique. The gorge divides the city into 2 parts - old city and old city. My hotel is in new city. ( But in reality everything is old city.) The bridge is called Punte Nuevo or New Bridge. In Italian also bridge is called Ponte. It took 40 years to construct the bridge. The water flows below 120 metres. It is quite interesting. There is a church called Santa Maria da Mayor. previously it was a mosque. Then Christians ( or called Catholic Kings) started reconquesta. First they captured North. The Moors were then in South. Slowly the South also got recaptured : Ronda, Seville and finally Granada, In Indian context only Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala (not even AP) was left to be recaptured. In 1492 when Granada came under Catholic Church, few years before that Ronda was captured. After Ronda only Granada was left to be recaptured. There was a water source. The Moors deployed Christian slaves to get water from water mine. To get the water from below. they made a tunnel. The water is of very great importance. Similarly in Fatehpur Sikri Akbar abandoned the place for want of adequate water. Similarly here also the Cathcolic monarchs captured the water source form the Moors during the reconquista. Then I went to Banos Arabes. It is nothing but Hamam. The Arabs learnt about Hamam from the Romans. There were 3 chambers - hot water, cold water and steam bath. The Arabs constructed in 13-14th Century. There is a video on that Hamam. After Banos Arabes, I went to see Santa Maria de Mayor Church which was converted from Mosque. Then I went to see the Old city or La Ciudad. It is also an area of white washed house. Then I went down to till the bottom of the bridge. The view is very nice. Ronda is an important historic city and is located on a strategic location.
The tail of bull killed after bull fight is a delicacy. It is called Robo de Toro. I had it today. The mutton is quite soft. it tasted quite nice.
Post a Comment