This morning we walked across the street and caught a bus into Granada. As always, the first time you step off the bus, train, or metro you stand there for a minute or two just to see if there is anything that might look familiar. Of course it wouldn’t look familiar because we had been there before, it would be because we saw a picture of it in one of our many tour books. Today wasn’t any different, we had no idea of which way to go first, so watching the locals disperse from the bus, we just watched which way most of them were going. It works most of the time, and it worked again today. Within 25 minutes, we were talking to the TI office, have a map in our pocket, and received some of the other important pieces of information….the internet cafes, cathedrals, palaces, etc. The old town and the new town of Granada come together easily. There are good signs to find your way around. The city isn’t too large so you can walk to just about everything that you might want to see in just no time. We did do a lot of hill walking today, but that was interspersed with stops throughout the day. We visited the Cathedral, which is one of two Renaissance churches and the second largest in Spain. They are doing some repairing on the interior, but we still had a good chance to see most of it. The pipe organ is one of the largest we have seen yet. All the trumpets, huge to tiny pipes, and all the gold…wow. The interior columns are gigantic. They look the size of a very old giant red wood tree, and they form their own forest for all there are in the church. Next door is the Royal Chapel. This is the 16th century Gothic chapel with the tombs of Queen Isabel, King Ferdinand, and their heirs to the throne, their daughter Juana “The Mad” and her husband King Philip “The Fair”. Prior to taking this trip, I had a life that I thought had been somewhat trained in the histories of Europe, but now that I’ve been here I can see just how little I did know. Yes, I knew some about King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel, Christopher Columbus and on and on. Now that we have stood at the foot of the tombs of all three of them, and many more Saints, Popes, Kings, Queens, Pharaohs, and others, it has kindled a need to know more. Fortunately, I have a good teacher in my wife.
Lucky for us, we decided to take the umbrella with us, for like last night, it rained off and on most of the day. We weren’t bothered too much by it because of the time we spent visiting all the sites. One of the churches we did get into today wasn’t even mentioned in the tour books, and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. It was un-like any other we have seen. It was called Nuestra Senora de las Angustias. It would do it an injustice to describe what we saw, so if my pictures turn out, you will have a chance to see what I’m talking about. Now a little about some special people that live here in Granada…the Gypsies or “Gitano”. They have found a special home here in Granada. The people of Granada not only tolerate them, they have made them feel welcome (as long as they stay in the Sacromonte. There are about 50,000 Gitano’s living here and we have come across them with just about every corner we have come to. Some of the ladies are selling sprigs of rosemary and the men are trying to shine your shoes. The downfall from their sales techniques is that while they are doing that, they are also trying to get into your pocket…really, “their” hands into your pockets… We were approached many times, but when I waved the umbrella at them, they got the heck out of the way. On the other hand, it was fun to watch them work on the unaware. We didn’t see them get into any ones pocket or purse, but it wasn’t for not trying. Ok, that’s it for the day, but tomorrow we will be back. We are going to have to finish our site-seeing in Granada soon, as this morning we had some pretty heavy snow fall all around us and the forecast is for a lot more to come this week.