Few years ago Gavin and I stayed at a rural farmhouse few miles outside the historic medieval town of Granada at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Granada is located in Anadlucia, Spain, and is probably one of the most popular tourist attractions of the entire country due to its rich heritage, stunning location and the world famous, Alhambra Castle.
Due to the Moorish conquest of present day Andalucia over two thousand years ago, the city retains its Islamic influences in architecture, music and food. The “El Albayzin” or the old Arab quarter of Granada is a maze of narrow cobbled streets dotted with whitewashed houses and quaint cafes perfect for seesha smoking and sunset watching from one of its numerous terraces.
The other area of note in Granada is the gypsy quarter of Sacromonte, which before the Spanish civil war, was home to thousands of gypsies and bohemians. When walking through it these days you can still come across an impromptu performance of flamenco at one of the many tapas bar that have sprung up in this area.
Of course, the reason that tourists flock to Granada is to see the magnificent red stone fortress, alcazab, and palace, alcazar, of Alhambra which was constructed in the 13th century by the Moorish kings as the primary residence and defence fortress of the Kingdom of Alhambra. The beauty and symmetry of its architecture, intricate stone work, slender columns, fresh water pools and fountains scattered around well tended gardens can evoke emotions in the most cynic of us. It really is quite a sight and I would highly recommend making an advance reservation for a visit using the ticketmaster website as the number of visitors each day are strictly controlled.
All of this brings me to the reason I started typing this post: our unforgettable stay at an authentic Andalucian working equestrian centre and farmhouse. We rented out part of the living quarter of rural casa “Cortijo de Camara” and had a splendid experience. Our living room in the cottage overlooked the stable with at least half a dozen horses and an open barn with turkeys and roosters. This traditional Andalucian house with white washed walls is superbly decorated with local pottery and crafts. Because we went there soon after Christmas (on new year’s eve, to be precise) the Christmas decorations were still up and that gave the whole place a lovely warm feel. On the first night, Gavin made a roaring fire but during our stay it progressively got warmer (this is Spain, remember!) and we got to throw open the windows for some much needed sunshine.
Many interesting day trips are also within reach of Granada as it is in close proximity to the mountains and the rugged coastline. One day I will write a post about the palaeolithic caves of Nerja and the hobbit houses of Gaudix that you can easily visit from Granada but for now here are some photos.