This holiday in Spain began with spending 6 nights with my lovely friends Linda & George in Benissa, north of Alicante. They kindly got up before sunrise this morning to drive me to Alicante for my bus to Granada where I’ll spend the next 5 nights. We watched the sky lighten from their house as we ate breakfast – a pink tinge glowing across the mountain range before us.
A bit more than an hour later we were pulling up by the new bus station in Alicante. I’d been uncertain about the prospect of a 5½ hour journey by bus, but after lots of research I realised it was the easiest and quickest option. Luckily I’d booked ahead (€42) as there aren’t many buses each day doing the trip and it was practically full. As the ALSA bus pulled into the terminal the driver jumped down and opened different hatches below the bus – rather sensibly you had to put your bag in an area allotted to your destination, which meant with different stops, one hatch only had to be opened each time. The bus would stop at Murcia first, then Granada and go on to Malaga. Once on board I was immediately impressed by how luxurious it was: amazingly comfortable seats and all mods cons, like a point to recharge a phone and ‘entertainment’ centre. The onboard toilet was much like the kind on planes.
Any doubts I had about sitting on a bus for so long were soon dispelled, not just by the comfort, but because within a short time we were heading into the most glorious country with stunning scenery as we made our way through mountain ranges populated by olive and almond trees, reaching out far into the distance, the ground burned brown by the summer sun and lack of rain. It was hard to take good photos from the bus – but I tried!
A bit over halfway, we stopped at a roadside cafe/bar for 40 minutes for people to get lunch.
Even from here the views were magnificent.
Inside, the bar stocked whole hams, cheeses, and lovely fresh cakes. I had one with a coffee as Linda had kindly made me sandwiches for lunch but if you didn’t have food with you, you could eat very well here.
It was such a civilised way to travel! A smooth and comfortable ride but also a decent stop for a reasonable lunch. We arrived in Granada a few minutes early. I got my bag and went to the front of the station to find a taxi to take me to my hotel (€9). I’d booked Hotel Carmen through British Airways, choosing it for its central location. It’s quite smart, 4*, but I always find it’s a good deal booking a whole trip with BA.
The reception staff gave me such a friendly welcome and I immediately felt relaxed and settled. On the roof there’s a wonderful terrace with bar, a small pool and fabulous views, including of the Alhambra.
I didn’t stay in long as I wanted to go out and explore a bit before supper. I asked for a map and was shown how to get up into the old town – the Albaicin area – towards the Alhambra. It wasn’t far, only a few minutes walk. I was immediately delighted by it. I’ve been wanting to come here for ages and felt so excited to be here at last.
The streets are cobbled and fortunately I’d be warned to take sturdy shoes!
Once at the top, I turned round and headed down again, going back to the hotel to freshen up before going out in search of supper. I’m looking forward to the next 4 days!
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