December 24-28, 2020
December 26th was our third day in Granada. We had planned on going to Alhambra, but neither of us slept very well. Our alarms went off at 7 AM, and neither of us wanted to get up. We would end up getting separate rooms going forward to help us both sleep better, but for now, we were both pretty tired.
I agreed to get up and go to Alhambra to get our tickets. Usually, tickets here are sold out for weeks. But, we were able to get tickets for the next day. The Alhambra is an all-day visit, so going on our final day wasn’t an option, and our first full day was Christmas, so our only options were the 26th and 27th. We wanted to make sure they didn’t sell out for the 27th so I was at the gate when they opened and got our tickets secured.
It was quite cold, and after a few hours walking there, taking a few buses, and getting back into town, I hung out in a Starbucks for a couple hours to warm up.
After warming up for a bit, I headed out to walk around and visit the Alcaicería of Granada again. We had stopped by here the day before, but many of the shops were closed for the holiday. The Alcaicería is an Arabic-style bazaar in a typical Muslim neighborhood with narrow streets with dozens of shops. It’s also been referred to as the Grand Bazaar of Granada. It didn’t have its typical vibe seeing as many of the shops were still closed and the streets weren’t filled with countless visitors, but nonetheless, it was a great experience. The set-up reminds me of storage units – they go in rows and columns which makes it like a bunch of blocks to walk around. Each individual shop is also in a space quite akin to a storage unit.
I had gotten a few items the day before, but one thing was still speaking to me: a large mandala tapestry. I went back and got it and then proceeded to have to carry it around all day and would for the rest of the trip.
I walked around a little bit more after that, and then connected with Gabrielle around noon to make plans for the rest of the day.
El Bañuelo of Granada
We had a hard time finding it originally, it’s tucked behind a house (part of why it was preserved so well). We walked up a street called Bañuelo and weren’t able to find it. So, we headed back to the street and saw a small plaque that had the logo other sites in the area have. We bought a ticket, which was only 5€ and also provided same-day entrance to the Dar al-Horra Palace, the Horno de Oro House, and the Corral del Carbón. We decided we’d do what we could for the day (seeing as it was around 3:30 PM and things closed at 5 PM). Entrance to those sites is free on Sundays, so we would return the next day if there were any of those sites we hadn’t seen yet that we wanted to.
El Bañuelo, one of the few buildings saved from destruction under the Catholic Monarchs, is home of the oldest and most well-persevered Arab royal baths in Spain and oldest piece of Muslim architecture in the city. It served as a place for physical and spiritual cleansing and was built in the 11th century sometime between the years 1038-1090.
This was a small site, but one of the most awe-inspiring. Seeing things built around a thousand years ago is quite surreal.
Horno de Oro House
Our next stop was the Horno de Oro House, which was included in our entrance fee to El Bañuelo. This is a remaining house from the 15th century in typical Moorish architecture and design. This is found at the beginning of the Albaicín district, and while there are a few other Moorish houses, this is perhaps the most well-preserved. We arrived about 20 minutes before closing time, so we just had a quick walk-through before heading out.
Next, we had dinner in the area, and we had the beautiful views of Alhambra to look up at. We had the menú del día, which is a set menu with a couple options that’s usually low-cost. After, we walked home and had some nice views along the way.