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152: to Granada. 2012/9/30

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[Pics = from Toledo to Granada.

This day was scheduled for Jaen.  I didn’t find a couch in Jaen, and although there’s a youth hostel (charging for each dorm bed 20 Euros), I only realized after checking with the hostel receptionists (not the more passionately helpful Natasha anymore) that, in order to go to Jaen, I have to backtrack to Madrid first.  There’re much fewer buses on the weekend, but in any case it’ll be a bus back to Madrid, a metro ride to the train station, and then a five-hour-plus train ride to Jaen.  And in total that’ll cost something like 50 Euros.

On the other hand, there happens to be one single direct bus to Granada, setting off at noon.  That gave me a chance to have another small walk around Toledo before I left.

It was kind of hot when I arrived in Granada.  (Nothing in that song “Granada” hinted that, I suppose.)  The city bus was super crowded, and although my hostel has direction about getting off at a certain bus stop, the names shown on a screen on the bus don’t seem to make much sense to me.  More and more people got on, and since everyone was keen on talking, the bus was immediately turned to a marketplace.

On the bus I saw a Roman-style(?) amphitheater. This was still quite far from city “center,” hence very likely not on any guide book.  I could only be amazed how many historical stuff Granada may have.

After several stops people started to get off, and the bus driver was most unwilling to answer anything.  I saw two very slim young guys, noticed that both of them spoke fluent English, and although I suspected something of one of them, I turned to them to ask for info.  It turned out that they were staying here for a couple of months learning Spanish, and they knew where two of the more famous hostels are.  As for mine, they’d never heard of it, but they decided that it isn’t too far from where they wanted to go to, so we got off the bus at the same time, and they went as far as walking me all the way to the hostel.  How nice!

As for the thing I suspected of: yes, although both of them spoke English fluently, one of them had a southern accent, and the other, even though speaking very good English, I still quickly deduced that HE IS GERMAN.  His accent was actually a very clean one, and at first I didn’t even know how I guessed it.  But later I knew: it was how he leaned (just very marginally) on some of the ending vowels.  It isn’t even a strong ending “L.”

The young pretty lady (with leather pants and dark makeup) at the hostel was pretty welcoming, although soon I started to guess that she’s Italian and not Spanish.   (Bingo again.)  After settling (and checking a couple of things on the internet), I set out for my walk, even though it was probably already around 7pm.

As soon as I reached the first major small road, I noticed that lots of people swarmed from everywhere.  All the shops were already closed, and at first I thought people went on to the street because they needed to have some leisure time after work, but there were simply too many people, and it was quite beyond me.

I soon saw a whole bunch of real crowd on the big road, and even when I tried to dodge the crowd by taking small back alleys, I found that everywhere was flooded with people.  I was suspecting that there’s some sort of protest and raised my alert to another level.  On the way I got an ice cream – it tasted great, even though the waiters and waitresses could barely utter any English.

I found a guy in a souvenir shops who can speak a couple of English words, and from him and a female customer I finally got a vague answer about what today is about: today’s Virgin Marry’s Ascension (or something like that).

As I returned to the big road, I found a procession waiting to set off, and since this part of the street wasn’t too crowded, I stayed to take some photos.  It’s quite interesting to see all the various people in their different uniforms and costumes.

Watching the sunset, I couldn’t help but marvel at the magic of Granada, even though it was not exactly a visual one at this moment.  I even felt that my enthusiasm for traveling has been rejuvenated.  Or, what if this enthusiasm is only about Granada?

Although it’s been late, I proceeded to the “Arabic district.”  The sky was darkening quickly, and as I reached a square, I saw a woman with a winning, beguiling smile performing belly dance to an accompanying hand-drummer.  After that, I went on to one of the three main alleys of Arabic district.  Beautiful, almost magical lamps were lit up, and the atmosphere was quite something.

I didn’t really feel hungry, but on the way out of the district I saw for a second time a same “Kebab King,” and I ordered one kebab.  It was greasy to the right point, and I enjoyed it.  Finally a good kebab.

But it was actually a wrong choice.

I returned to the hostel and found two young Germans in the room.  The slim one studies medicine(?), and the other probably something about architecture.  They seemed nice enough people.

As I could not reserve a ticket for La Alhambra online, I would have to get up early and stand in the queue tomorrow at 7.30 or at least before 8.  Shortly after I went to bed, though, I found it impossible to sleep: it started to be itchy here and there and eventually everywhere on my body.  Being all sleepy I thought it was mosquitoes, and at one point, as I could no longer stood it, I (half) got up and found the mosquito spray.  It was not until it was almost 5am (and after I had woken up 6 or 8 times repeatedly) that I realized that it’s the same thing I got on the second night in Skopje: it was allergy.

It was either the ice cream or the kebab.  I’m leaning towards the kebab.  After all, the monastery ladies I met near Prilep told me that my allergy (in Macedonia) was likely the result of eating shish kebab.

Toledo – Granada:21.5
水:0.3+ 1.5 = 1.8
零食:1.75+ 4.98+ 2.75
總計:60.53 EUR


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