After a WAY too early train ride this morning (read up at 5 to be at the train station at 6...what happened to my vacation?!) to catch an early ride to Granada, and I got here not a moment too soon. So far, 6-1/2 hours in, and I am LOVING this place. Of course it could be the four beers I had about 30 minutes ago at my new favorite bar in Europe. And by the way, about that whole "new favorite restaurant" thing in Paris, let's make it the same thing...my new favorite Euro restaurant, because in hindsight, and with many meals here under and overflowing my belt, Castagna & 3 Doors Down still rock. It was the moment, you know? Anyway, Grenada is totally cool, much smaller feeling than Seville, with at least all the charm, and I haven't made it to the Alhambra yet. Tomorrow morning I'm in. What I've found in much strolling so far is it seems every corner I turn, there's a new small tree shaded square with a charming, beautiful fountain in the middle, something Sevilla sorely lacks. Not too say that Sevilla needs any help!
Here's a couple of said fountains.....
Oh, before I forget, I did go back to Bar Europa in Sevilla last night for another awesome tapas experience. Trust me on this...if you're here...or there at this point, it's the best!
But yeah, Granada seems a little more low key, more relaxed in spite of the tourist crush. Word is the Alhambra is the most visited monument in all of Europe. Assuming you can avoid the sheep in their pastel and/or plaid vacation clothes, following behind some bored/annoyed looking tour guide...and how horrific would that job be. Leading a bunch of lemmings, 45% of whom are complaining, 45% are asking annoying questions, while the 10% who are reasonable know not to say anything. Anyway, they aren't at all hard to ignore, and get off the main streets and you are right where you want to be. Which leads me to Bar Los Diamontes. Another TimeOut recommendation, and just four blocks from my very nicely located hotel (Hotel Juan Miguel...http://www.hoteljuanmiguel.com/). This place opens at 2:30 and closes at 4:00. It's also open later in the evening. So I'm wandering around, get there about 2:45 and this joint is packed! And this is a really small, really tight space. Somehow find a tiny corner of bar space, order a beer, and the next thing you now a small plate of tapas is set before you. Another awesome Granada custom: apparently it's one of the last places in Spain where it is the norm to give a free plate of tapas with every drink. How cool is that?! So this place is rocking, the barman Pepe and his cohort dishing it, and Pepe has this place nailed. Mostly locals, a few tourists who get it. Pepe gives a gesture here, a booming shout out to the kitchen, a wink and nod to let you now he's got you covered. And he's only like 5'8", maybe 30-35.This is SO my kind of place. Full plates flying across the bar to the few tables, piles of empties coming back. Incredible energy and a killer vibe...wow!! I'll be back for tomorrow afternoon's show, even if it means cutting my Alhambra time short!
That's Pepe in the foreground. People are packed in to the right and behind me!
So far Granada has me going...and the evening hasn't even started!
Oh my god, there's no escaping the scourge of annoying wine geeks. I was just in this really cool local wine shop that was filled with great Spanish wine on the way to an internet café here, and overheard this conversation....
Woman (in a nasally, east coast voice): "Have any of these wines been rated by Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate?"
Husband of annoying woman (dressed in always chic Tommy Bahama, just so he doesn't stand out): "So do you read Parker here? We really like him."
Wine shop guy (probably while wondering why he ever got into this business): "No, we don't really pay attention to that."
Wife: "Well, he really seems to know Spanish wine."
And with that I had to leave. Oh, the horror!!