Well, I went to an internet shop yesterday that had these funky proprietary browsers that were pretty much without options, and it did not work well with Blogger. I typed for 45 minutes about how out guided tour has gone thus far, and then lost it when the browser screwed up. So here’s the brief recap, as I have no intention of retyping all of it, and I left my paper journal back at the hotel:
We got to the bus station about 7:15 am, which gave us plenty of time before the bus departed at 8am. Another tour group left on time, and we found out that our tour guide was running late. Later got shuffled off to another hotel to wait with some other tourists until they could find a vehicle large enough to carry 8 people plus driver to catch us up with the main tour group. To make a long story short, we missed the Roman Theater in Merida, spent pretty much all of Monday in a bus or waiting for one, and by the end of the day we were pretty annoyed and ready to ditch the whole guided tour thing.
Tuesday went much better; we visited Plaza D’Espagne and the Alcazar. It was an interesting experience being herded from one attraction to another. The tour guide hired to lead us around Sevilla spoke very good English and was overall a super guy. Tuesday night we went on a boat cruise up and down the river in Sevilla. There was a live band downstairs (We are so tired of hearing Macarena…) and there was an open air deck upstairs. We spent most of the time upstairs, drinking sangria and smoking Cuban cigars. Cohiba cigars are very nice! We also bought the picture they took of us when we first got on the boat… it turned out really well, and was only 1.000 ptas.
Today we rode in the bus to Granada. It is so beautiful here! I like this city a bit better than Sevilla, which was pretty dirty and very very touristy, at least the parts that we saw. Our hotel there (we were upgraded to 4 stars because of the mixup getting to Merida) was pretty nice, but the food was terrible. It seemed like they were trying to make American food and failed miserably. Our hotel here in Granada is 3 stars, but much nicer. We are literally a stone’s throw from the Alhambra, the food is excellent, and the room is also very nice.
We toured the Alhambra (Muslim palaces: Muslim word for Red City) and the Generalife (Muslim word for architect´s garden) today. So beautiful; I really loved all of the detail in the buildings. I can only imagine what it looked like when everything was in full color: very little of the original gold and paint survives today. Same with the windows. Apparently, there were ornate stained glass windows that continued the patterns of the tile, and between earthquakes and the storing of weapons in the Alhambra (and having some of them go off in said vicinity), only small pieces of the windows remain, and they are in the muesum on the grounds.
After we toured the Alhambra, we started walking towards town (down the hill) and wound up here in this very spiffy neighborhood internet cafe. We sampled the local beer (named after the Alhambra) and found it to be very good. After this we will search out dinner and take a taxi back to the hotel. (There’s no way I´m walking back up that hill!)
Being with the tour group has definitely been interesting. The majority of the group we are travelling with are rowdy Puerto Ricans who are given to start singing and dancing, or at least yelling, at the drop of a hat. (Or the start of the Macarena song!) There is also a several nice couples from Florida, and two women from Manhattan that we have been socializing with. We are making the best of this tour group thing, but it is not something that we would recommend or do again without a lot more investigation beforehand. We are headed to Toledo tomorrow, and to Madrid in the evening to be reunited with Gerwald, Julia, Mila, Alfonso and all. It will be good to get back to Madrid and Hotel Europa. I have a serious day of shopping planned for Friday, as I have not purchased many souvenirs for myself or friends and family yet.