Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday 7 February – Archidona (via the Alhambra, Granada)

Where’s Colin? He’s in a municipal Aire in Archidona at N37º5.447’, W4º23.336’. It’s not going to go down as one of our best night stops of the trip (in fact, at the moment, I think it may well lie in last place), but it was a pick of a non-spectacular bunch hereabouts, and this one was the nearest.

We were woken just after 4 this morning by the sound of water plinking on Colin’s roof. We were parked under two trees and they were dripping on us. In the absence of the sound of rain, we guessed that we were in the cloud. By the time the alarm went off a definite sound of rain had joined the dripping. On any other day we would happily have stayed in bed until it had passed, but this morning we had an especially early start for an appointment with the Alhambra. It was that appointment which also caused us to drive off in fog thick enough for us to repeatedly wipe the windscreen, thinking it was misted up – we wouldn’t ordinarily choose to drive in conditions like that either.

Arriving at the Alhambra parking area (happily just below the cloud base) just after 9am, we made the split-second decision not to go into the coach and caravan area (with all the other motorhomes) but instead to go into the car park, in the hope that would result in a €2/hour charge, rather than €3/hour. It wasn’t really a naughty thing to do, as Colin is small enough to fit into a standard car space – as long as we can put him somewhere with a foot of overhang room at the back of the space. At that early hour, we had our pick of the place and he was soon sitting comfortably in a suitable spot.

So, did we dash out ready to get on with our sight-seeing? Nope. Our arrival coincided with the weather absolutely lashing it down and there was no way we were going out in *that*! Coffee and toast filled the waiting period and as the rain stopped, out we stepped.

A couple of minutes later I was trotting back to Colin so that we could do our good deed for the day. A chap on the other side of the car park had mistaken the location of a parking space and had driven his car off a kerb so high that he couldn’t get back up it. We happen to have a pair of ramps that we thought would be just the ticket to help him out of his predicament, and so they did (with a bit of assistance from me and his missus, pushing from behind, whilst Mick lined him up from in front).

With the ramps back in their proper place (and only a bit of an alarming moment when the ticket collection machine said we had no tickets to collect - silly us, we were at the wrong colour of ticket machine; it was the red one we needed…) we were soon inside this huge, and quite incredible, Moorish fortress. Just over four hours were spent there (and we could have spent much more, but with the danger of becoming cultured out), taking more photos than I can recall ever taking in a day before (but I’d guess probably only a fraction of the number taken by many other visitors). Here’s a small selection:

A cup of tea and a bite of late-lunch was had in Colin before we took a stroll down to the old town for a look around before we declared our visit to Granada complete. Our parting visit to the car park pay machine established that we had been charged the car rate, thus our 6-and-a-bit hours came in at €12.40 – a bargain when our original plan of two nights on the nearest campsite, plus a bus, would have come in a nearly €44.

With only a stop for LPG (57.3c/litre) another ‘big’ journey west was made. Another whole 50 miles in fact, the location chosen purely because it was an easy option (i.e. there’s an official motorhome Aire here, so we didn’t have to drive around trying to locate some suitable parking) which lay close to the route of our onward journey. There are three other vans here: two Brits (one parked right across the service point, even though there’s plenty of other spaces), and a German (who I very nearly visited when I mistook their van for ours!). 

As for the verdict on Granada, and more specifically the Alhambra, it was a grand and worthwhile day out. In fact, I’d be quite happy to visit again, as I think there’s really too much there to take in on one visit.

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